GSA Kicks Starts 2021 with an Acquisition Potpourri

When it comes to federal procurement, the General Services Administration takes no off days.

While the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service employees will never be mistaken for elite athletes — where this concept of no days off comes from — they aren’t wasting any time setting up 2021 to be a busy year for contractors and for new governmentwide acquisition contracts.

In the span of two weeks, GSA released the draft solicitation for Polaris, the small business GWAC to replace the debacle that was Alliant 2 Small Business as well as two requests for information — one for artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and one to develop a new professional services vehicle.

These initial pieces of market research or acquisition strategy planning come as GSA already is reviewing bids for spots under the 8(a) STARS III GWAC and the ASTRO program. GSA expects to make awards for both of these programs in spring 2021 or thereabouts.

“We are looking at fiscal 2021 at being the year where we see some big awards,” said Laura Stanton, FAS’ assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category, during a recent event sponsored by ACT-IAC. “In fiscal 2020, the IT category facilitated more than $30 billion in annual government spend. We still are wrapping up those year-end numbers, but it represents the trust the federal agencies have put in us, the customer service, the support is reducing the procurement action lead time, innovation and data transparency and all of the things the agencies put their trust in ITC to make that happen. Out of that, we also provided more than $2 billion in savings and cost avoidance for the customers of ITC alone.”

Just for comparison, in 2019, the IT category saw about $26.5 billion in spending, which means FAS saw a 15% growth rate.

“Some of the growth in 2020 is likely from COVID and some of it is from use of best-in-class contracts and spend under management,” Staunton said.

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