Part 1: Duplication in GSA’s BIC MAC and MAS programs

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the a...

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.

As previous blogs have noted, the OASIS program is a strategic acquisition asset for the General Services Administration’s customers, including the Defense Department. Over the last five-and-a-half years, the OASIS program — OASIS, meaning other than small, and OASIS Small Business (SB) — has accounted for $30 billion in customer agency mission support for complex professional services, providing over $10 billion in customer agency support in 2020 alone.

Central to this success was the decision in 2012-2013 to create two separate contract vehicles: OASIS SB and OASIS Unrestricted. OASIS SB provided a straightforward, streamlined channel for customer agencies seeking socioeconomic credit for their services task orders.  As a total set aside contract, OASIS SB provides customer agencies with access to a cross-cutting set of highly capable small business firms from across the various socio-economic categories. The Air Force uses this contract vehicle to help support its socioeconomic goals. Simultaneously, OASIS Unrestricted provides cross cutting access to highly capable professional services firms from across the commercial market.

The clear market differentiation between OASIS SB and OASIS Unrestricted, has simplified acquisition planning for customer agencies. So much so that OASIS SB is the government’s most successful small business contract vehicle for complex professional services, generating more than 40% ($13 billion of the $30 billion total) for small businesses over the life of the contract. Consistent with this effort over the life of the contract, OASIS SB generated over $4 billion for small businesses in 2020. The success of OASIS SB demonstrates the importance of having a complex professional services contract vehicle set aside dedicated to creating opportunities for small businesses.

The success of the OASIS program is built on a best value framework for professional services, efficiency, ease of use for customer agency acquisition planning, and the effective promotion of opportunities for small businesses. OASIS is also a success as it compliments GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) in much the same way that Alliant and the MAS program work well together in delivering IT mission support for customer agencies.

As such, GSA’s ongoing development of a business case for BIC MAC should examine the customer agency mission support and market implications of abandoning the successful OASIS model. The business case should also examine the market and contract duplication impacts of the convergence between BIC MAC and the MAS program. Significantly, the current approach for BIC MAC largely duplicates the existing MAS program, leaving few key features that differentiate between the two programs. The following table highlights key aspects of the convergence.

Features MAS BIC MAC
Continuous open seasons
Large pool of qualified contractors
Simplified, lower evaluation criteria, lower threshold for entry
Use of the Section 876 authority to increase task order competition*
Professional and complex professional services
Commercial Items
Solutions buying
Small and large businesses in a single contract
Competitive ordering procedures
Flexibility to set-aside orders
Order Types
     Firm fixed price
     Labor hour
     Time & material**
     Cost reimbursement, non-commercial services ***

* GSA is examining implementing this authority for the MAS program as well as potentially using it for BIC MAC.
** GSA implemented Order Level Materials on MAS contracts.
*** Look for Part II of this blog coming April 16.  

How will customer agencies and GSA’s industry partners react to the blurring of the lines between BIC MAC and the MAS program? There are opportunities to enhance the current complimentary OASIS and MAS models to enhance opportunities for innovation. Next week’s blog will continue the discussion focusing opportunities for innovation via an OASIS-like follow-on procurement and cost reimbursement on the MAS program.

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