GSA to establish $5 billion IT contract for disabled vet businesses
The General Services Administration will release a 10-year, $5 billion governmentwide acquisition information technology contract this spring for small businesses owned by disabled veterans.
The governmentwide acquisition contract, or GWAC, will be an option for agencies shopping for information technology services. Small IT businesses owned by service-disabled veterans interested in the GWAC must respond to GSA's request for proposal, which is slated to be issued this spring. Contract awards are expected in early 2006.
The contract, known as Veterans Technology Services, will have two functional areas: Information Systems Engineering and Systems Operations and Maintenance. Both will include IT security. GSA officials said less than 60 service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses are expected to receive contracts under the offering.
The contract is intended to help agencies meet their mandated 3 percent goal for contracting with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The contracts are indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, with the purpose of providing agencies with a means for acquiring services when they do not know the specifics of the services they need.
GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry said GSA is forming a partnership with the Veterans Affairs Department and the Small Business Administration to provide the contract.
The contract is in response to an executive order signed by President Bush in October 2004 directing GSA to establish a contract for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The procurement will be managed by GSA's Small Business GWAC center in Kansas City, Mo.
"We're seeing a great interest from our clients in trying to achieve their 3 percent goal," said Brad Scott, GSA heartland regional administrator and designated senior official for service-disabled veterans matters. "There's renewed interest in fulfilling our obligations for those veterans."
According to Scott, federal agencies do not come close to fulfilling their goal, with only about 0.5 percent of their contracting going toward service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
"The federal government's performance has not been stellar," Scott said. "But we have had more tools available to us in the past year and a half than we had previously, so hopefully agencies will come closer to meeting that goal."
Ray Bjorklund, a senior vice president with Federal Sources Inc., a government contracting consulting firm in McLean, Va., that analyzes agencies' technology budgets, said it might have been better for GSA to create a special offering in the current GWACs for service-disabled veterans rather than a separate offering.
"There are just so many GWACs out there and so many GSA schedules," Bjorklund said.
Bjorklund said the contract's ceiling of $5 billion may be wishful thinking because of the high number of indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts available for information technology.