GSA Leadership Talks Priorities and Future of Trump-Era Initiatives

The General Services Administration’s acting administrator and commissioner of the acquisition division discuss its technology programs, the beta.SAM migration, D-U-N-S transition, SolarWinds and more.

A new set of leaders have taken their places at the General Services Administration, the agency responsible for managing federal property, providing acquisition resources to other agencies and, in recent years, offering technology assistance for a fee.

As these new leaders settle in, they’re getting acquainted with a slew of Trump-era programs and priority decisions. Acting GSA Administrator Katy Kale and new Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Sonny Hashmi—familiar faces from the Obama administration—spoke with Nextgov about the new administration’s priorities and the status and future of several ongoing initiatives.

The conversation—transcribed below and edited for length and clarity—touched on the agency’s ongoing projects such as the consolidation of procurement websites at beta.SAM.gov, the D-U-N-S numbers transition and e-commerce pilots. They also shared details about the fallout from the SolarWinds hack and the future of security-focused efforts like the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program and the Defense Department’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification.

Nextgov: Do you have any agenda or overarching policy or mandate guiding the early efforts for this administration?

Katy Kale: We are really working off of what the administration has provided, which is four clear priorities: managing COVID-19; bolstering economic recovery; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and tackling the climate crisis.

So we know that this is a whole of government approach but GSA will be playing a large part of this effort. We know we’re going to be working with other agencies throughout the federal government to tackle these issues. A couple examples come to mind.

GSA is supporting FEMA as they set up vaccine centers throughout the country. Last week, we set up a drive-through vaccination center in King County, Washington. And then as the GSA administrator, I am a co-chair for the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force with the Office of Personnel Management to develop guidance for keeping our workforce safe now, and welcoming others back into the buildings when appropriate, which of course, will be guided by science and public health recommendations from the CDC.

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