Agencies should be on the lookout for new governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) coming soon. Speaking on the fourth anniversary of Alliant 2, Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category (OITC) at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), said the GWAC is approaching its $50 billion ceiling faster than expected. There is still more than $20 billion left on the contract, Stanton said, but in light of this, GSA made the decision to start looking at what comes next.
“We are starting the development of the successor to Alliant 2 and beginning work on Alliant 3. And we’ve done some initial market research already. We’re going to be continuing to engage industry and agency customers through events,” Stanton said on Nov. 17 at the Coalition for Government Procurement’s 2021 Fall Training Conference. “We are very much actively working on this. I want to reassure everybody that we are taking our contracts and our commitment to industry and the customer seriously. And I want to be as transparent as possible and forthcoming by the Alliant 3 and our future plans. So we will have more to come.”
She said updates will be posted to the Alliant 3 GWAC community of interest on Interact as they’re available.
Regarding Alliant 2, Stanton said GSA made the decision that focusing on Alliant 3 rather than an open season for Alliant 2 was in the best interest of both the public and private sectors.
But Alliant 3 isn’t the only thing currently featured on GSA’s “Coming Soon” marquee.
The OITC will be releasing request for proposals (RFP) for the small business GWAC Polaris after the holidays, which industry requested at a recent industry day. Stanton said the small business pool will be awarded first in January, followed by the women-owned small business pool. The historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) and veteran-owned small business pools will follow in cadence, though the exact timing of those hasn’t been worked out yet, she said.
“We want to have the awards of these pools staggered. And that’s not changing with this approach. What we’re doing by releasing the RFPs at separate times is actually managing the government resources,” Stanton said. “What we wanted is to ensure that we once we got proposals in the door, we were going to be able to immediately begin working on them and evaluating them. And we realized that the best way to do that would be to stagger the RFPs. And we wanted to get the first set of small business awards out the door and then help agencies be able to access those small businesses to achieve their missions.”
Stanton also said OITC is refining its evaluation criteria and point system, based on the comments it got in September and October, to ensure the industrial base and capabilities it’s offering is relevant to the customers.
Meanwhile, the FAS Office of Professional Services and Human Capital is making development of its new Services Multi-Agency Contract (MAC) a top priority in FY 2022. Sheri Meadema, director of Program Operations for Professional Services and Human Capital, said it’s safe to think of Services MAC – “we’re not going to call it ‘SMAC’ … that’s not good for anybody,” she said – as an OASIS follow-on.
“But what it’s not is OASIS 2.0, exactly as it exists today. So OASIS was very successful, probably beyond what we even thought about when we first established it in 2014. But we’ve learned a lot from it, too,” Meadema said. “So OASIS was primarily built to support DoD, and we’ve come a long way. And so we know better now what our civilian agencies need some of those requirements. The acquisition landscape has also changed. So we have new authorities like 876, we have a focus on small business – we always have of course, but even more so now – and so, will the Services MAC cover the scope of OASIS? Yes. Will flexibilities that exist within OASIS still be present in the new Services MAC? Yes. Will it also include features that make the contract better and more innovative? Yes. So it’s not going to look the same, but it’s going to be better.”
It’s also not designed to replace multiple award schedules, she said. Customers like the schedules, which are streamlined, and that the pricing determinations are made at the master contract level. GSA doesn’t want to take away the value from that. What it will do, like OASIS, is allow for non-commercial services, complex integrated services, and cost reimbursable and hybrid contract types.
She also said that they’re considering changing the acquisition strategy away from pools, though that’s “not fully baked yet.”
“What we’re trying to do is build in the flexibility so that as customers demand additional scope areas, we can add those in at any time during the contracts period of performance, which makes it very different than any of the MACs or GWACs we have today,” Meadema said.
They’re also exploring keeping the solicitation open, rather than having open seasons, so that companies – particularly small businesses – can submit a proposal at any time to get onto the contract. Small businesses may also potentially be on one contract, so that if they size out of the small business pool, they’re not put in dormancy or get kicked off the contract.
Daisy Thornton is Federal News Network’s digital managing editor. In addition to her editing responsibilities, she covers federal management, workforce and technology issues. She is also the commentary editor; email her your letters to the editor and pitches for contributed bylines.