OFPP reauthorizes NASA's governmentwide contract

General Services Administration administrator Lurita Doan's desire to consolidate and bring all governmentwide acquisition contracts under control of her agency met its first setback.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy yesterday decided to reauthorize NASA's Scientific Engineering Workstation Procurement for the fourth time. Doan asked OFPP administrator Paul Dennet to cancel the next iteration of SEWP because it duplicated GSA's offerings.

Doan said in September that 'SEWP and others have outlived their usefulness. GSA can buy basic IT equipment faster and for less cost.'

But despite Doan's request, Dennet cited NASA's scientific expertise and long-standing experience in managing SEWP as key factors in his decision. NASA started SEWP in 1992.

'We don't want to create unnecessary duplication between GWACs and other interagency contracts,' Dennet said. 'But a healthy amount of choice can provide appropriate incentives for managers of interagency contracts to be responsive to their customers.'

NASA has been reviewing SEWP IV proposals since September and a decision should be made in the next month. SEWP III is set to expire in January. The newest version of SEWP would have a $6 billion ceiling over five years.

'I am disappointed by OMB's decision, and it is clear that GSA is going to need to work harder to help the government understand how much taxpayer money is being wasted as a result of the wide proliferation of duplicative government contract vehicles,' Doan said. 'We will continue to highlight ways to reduce the proliferation of GWACs and ask the hard questions to ensure that, if they continue, they are in the best interest of the American taxpayer.'

Through the new contract, NASA will provide online tools and training to help agencies that require high-end systems use the GWAC effectively.

A request for comments from NASA was not immediately returned.

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