GSA will whack at least six GWACs
- By Jason Miller, Gail Repsher Emery
- Oct 10, 2003
After setting up more than 25 governmentwide acquisition contracts over the last decade, the General Services Administration plans to let at least six of the contracts fade away.
Sandra Bates, commissioner of the Federal Technology Service, said none of the six GWACs failed, but they are no longer useful. The contracts are the Disaster Recovery, Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Reverse Auctions, Safeguard, Seat Management and Virtual Data Centers GWACs. They are set to expire between now and June 2008.
'They put certain subjects in the spotlight, like data center consolidation and seat management, that we needed to discuss as a government,' she said. 'They served their purpose, and maybe it's time for them to go away.'
The agency also is reviewing whether to discontinue two other GWACs: Access Certificates for Electronic Services and Smart Card.
The Smart Card and ACES contracts duplicate offerings available through other GWACs and schedule contracts, but 'their elimination could affect efforts to implement governmentwide standards,' GSA administrator Stephen Perry said this month at a House Government Reform Committee hearing. GSA will conduct another review before making a final decision, he said.
The changes in the GWAC lineup resulted from an internal GSA review. The IT Contract Vehicle Review Board recommended in a recent report that GSA let the contracts expire.
In addition, the board recommended that GSA merge two of its largest GWACs, the Millennia and Applications 'N Support for Widely Diverse End-User Requirements.
Perry said Millennia and ANSWER overlap significantly, and GSA will consolidate them.
'GSA found a good concept in the GWAC and went too far,' said Larry Allen, executive vice president for the Coalition for Government Procurement of Washington. 'They tried to slice the pie pretty thin, and each slice was never quite as filling as promised.'More for some
The result of the changes will be more task orders for the broad-based GWACs. 'The Millennia and ANSWER contracts can do a lot of the same things these other contracts can do, but are more flexible,' Allen said.
Both government and industry should save money because of the consolidation, Perry said. Because GSA will no longer have to manage the six GWACs, its staff can be reassigned to improve contract management and customer satisfaction, and reduce GSA and vendor costs, Perry said. Companies will no longer have to compete multiple times for similar IT opportunities, he said.
Some vendors might be hurt by the contract phase-out, said attorney David Nadler, a partner with Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky LLP in Washington and co-chairman of the Industry Advisory Council's GWAC Special Interest Group.
'Unless some of the niche players can reposition themselves, they could be left out in the cold,' Nadler said.Gail Repsher Emery is a staff writer for Washington Technology.