Uncle Sam: bargain hunter

The federal government saved $58 million between July and December through blanket-purchase agreements established cooperatively by the General Services Administration and the Defense Department to purchase encryption products to protect data at rest on mobile computing devices and storage media, GSA said.

State, local and federal government agencies that bought data-at-rest encryption products from qualified vendors using the purchase agreements paid $15 million for products that otherwise would have cost $73 million, according to the multiagency Data at Rest Tiger Team task force, which operates in partnership with the DOD Enterprise Software Initiative and GSA's Smartbuy purchasing program.

The savings stem from an initiative the task force began in June, using a collaborative acquisition process based on Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 8 ' Required Sources of Supplies and Services, to competitively award BPAs to multiple vendors for use by federal, state, local and tribal governments and NATO.

The team achieved a consensus among its constituents on the technical requirements for encryption products covered by the BPAs with the support of the Air Force's 754th Electronic Systems Group at Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., the acquisition arm of DOD's Enterprise Software Initiative.

Federal agencies that used the purchase agreements for data encryption products include the IRS, the departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Transportation Security Administration, as well as the Army.

In addition, a multistate consortium led by New York's chief information security officer, and state and local government agencies from Ohio, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, Florida and Connecticut, bought products from the BPAs via GSA's Cooperative Purchasing Program.

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