Federal Supply Schedule

Just as you’re probably tired of reading COVID-19 articles, we’ve grown tired of writing them.  So, in an effort to party like it’s 2019, we’ve decided to survey the non-COVID-19 initiatives underway at the General Services Administration (“GSA”) while everyone is working from home.  Our survey shows progress continues on Multiple Award Schedule (“MAS”) modifications, a new Verified Product Portal (“VPP”) is on the horizon, and work related to Sections 846 and 889 conSetinues to progress.  Obviously, none of these has anything to do with COVID-19, but they will have an impact on your Federal business, whether you’re working from home or (eventually, and soon we hope) back in the office.  Here’s a look of major projects GSA has been working on while you’ve been social distancing.
Continue Reading While You Were Social Distancing: GSA’s Progress On Section 846, Schedules Consolidation, And Other Major Initiatives

On May 2, 2019, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) finally released their Phase 2 Implementation Report (the “Phase 2 Report”) for “Procurement Through E-Commerce Portals,” as directed by Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (“FY 2018 NDAA”).[1]

GSA/OMB offered a sneak preview of the Phase 2 Report at an Industry Day held on December 12, 2018, during which GSA/OMB revealed their intent to proceed with a proof of concept contract utilizing only the E-Marketplace model. Industry pushback against a single model proof of concept was both quick and severe and, coupled with the lengthy delay issuing the Phase 2 Report, many wondered whether GSA/OMB were reevaluating their proposed approach.
Continue Reading The Future of COTS Procurement: Top 10 Questions from GSA’s Section 846 Phase 2 Report

On June 21, 2018, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) held their second Industry Day concerning the implementation of Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) of 2018 (“Procurement Through E-Commerce Portals,” known hereafter as the “Portals Program”).[1] The Industry Day, GSA’s first since issuing its Phase I implementation plan, provided a unique opportunity for GSA to update the public on its current thinking for the Portals Program. A few highlights from the Industry Day are set out below.
Continue Reading The Future of COTS Procurement: Section 846 Industry Day Highlights

Last month, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and the Office of Management and Budget released their Phase 1 Implementation Plan (the “Plan”) for Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) of 2018 (“Procurement Through E-Commerce Portals,” known hereafter as “Portals Program”).[1] Section 846 directs GSA to establish one (or several) “e-commerce portals,” and in its recently-released Plan, GSA made four legislative requests to Congress GSA believes are necessary not only to bring its vision for the Portals Program online, but to make it the preferred method for COTS procurement government-wide. On April 3, 2018, GSA officials discussed these legislative requests at a panel discussion hosted by the Coalition for Government Procurement (“CGP”). During the CGP panel, GSA officials were candid about their current vision for the Portals Program and the rationale behind these legislative requests. Their comments relating to two of the four legislative requests (bolded below) were particularly informative, as they shed some light on their unwritten vision for the Portals Program, as well as the deal GSA is hoping to strike with Congress.
Continue Reading “Portal of Portals” – GSA’s (Unwritten) Vision for COTS E-Commerce Marketplaces

On March 16, 2018, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released their Phase 1 Implementation Plan (the “Plan”) for “Procurement Through E-Commerce Portals” as directed by Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018. As we have written on this blog many times before, Section 846 (or Section 801 as it was known previously) will change the way the Federal Government buys commercially-available-off-the-shelf (“COTS”) products under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (“SAT”). Section 846 directs GSA to establish one (or several) “e-commerce portals,” owned and operated commercially, through which the Government will procure COTS products under the SAT. The Plan is the general public’s first glimpse of how GSA envisions this program working, and the first of several critical steps to bring the “e-commerce portals” program online.
Continue Reading The Future of COTS Procurement: The Proposed Section 846 Business Models

On May 18, 2017, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry introduced H.R. 2511, titled “The Defense Acquisition Streamlining and Transparency Act.” The bill drastically would change how commercial off-the-shelf (“COTS”) products are acquired by the Department of Defense, and could signal the end of the line for the GSA Schedules program. This bill aims to create a more streamlined COTS procurement system. To achieve this goal, the proposed legislation ignores longstanding procurement principles, statutes, and regulations – and even contravenes several stated positions of the Trump administration – to provide an alternative to the General Services Administration (“GSA”) Schedules program the drafters clearly believe is too burdensome, inefficient, and costly.
Continue Reading House Armed Services Committee Takes Aim at GSA with Proposed Legislation

Note: The following post is adapted from the forthcoming 2016/2017 GSA Schedule Handbook, published by ThompsonWest, due out later this year.

Any way you look at it, 2016 will be an interesting year.  You may have heard there is an election on the horizon.  That’s right; in November 2016, U.S. voters will trudge down to their neighborhood elementary schools and community centers to pull the lever (or, far less climactically, tap a graphic on a screen) for their favorite candidate.  As we draft this preface in Washington, D.C. in June 2016, Hillary and Donald are neck in neck for the White House with more than half of all Americans saying they are dissatisfied with both candidates.  This dismal statistic, of course, is consistent with the growing numbers of Americans who say they are dissatisfied with the federal Government (and Congress) generally.


Continue Reading What GSA Can Learn from the National Parks Service

In a Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) procurement conducted under FAR Subpart 8.4, all items quoted and ordered by the agency are required to be available on the vendor’s schedule contract as a precondition to its receiving the order. This means, in the case of a task order for services, that all of the solicited labor categories must be on the successful vendor’s FSS contract.
Continue Reading Understanding the Scope of Federal Supply Schedule Labor Category Descriptions: Risks and Opportunities Presented by the GAO’s AllWorld Language Consultants Decision

In a matter of keen interest to the small business community, last month the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States. The Court’s decision will hopefully bring some closure to the long-running dispute between the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and veteran-owned businesses over the VA’s refusal to set aside procurements under the so-called “Rule of Two.”
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Hear VA Procurement Controversy This Fall

Note: The following post is adapted from the forthcoming 2015/2016 GSA Schedule Handbook, published by ThompsonWest, due out later this year.

The last year has been a tough one for the GSA Multiple Award Schedules (“MAS”) program.  The Federal Acquisition Service (“FAS”) – the agency charged with administering the MAS program – has struggled to re-invent itself and its contracting vehicles in order to ensure they both stay relevant in an increasingly competitive federal marketplace.  The byproduct of this struggle has been mostly negative for Schedule vendors.
Continue Reading As GSA FAS Struggles to Reinvent Itself, Contractors Suffer

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) serves as a reminder on the limits a contractor faces in protesting task and delivery order awards. In MORI Associates, Inc. v. United States, No. 13-671C (2013), the COFC dismissed the pre-award bid protest by MORI, the incumbent contractor, for lack of jurisdiction because the protest challenged the Government’s decision to obtain services through a task order competition under an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (“IDIQ”) Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (“GWAC”) rather than through a General Services Administration (“GSA”) Schedule contract.
Continue Reading Non-Protestable Task Order Procurement Decision Shuts Out Incumbent Contractor