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

A year ago, we advised our readers of the interim rule intended to emphasize competition under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPAs”) here. To recap, the March 2011 interim rule imposed a requirement for varying degrees of competition for orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The final rule becomes effective April 2, 2012.
Continue Reading MAS March Madness 2012: Final Rule for Increased Competition in MAS/BPA Orders

On March 16, 2011, the FAR Councils, heeding Congress’ mandate in Section 863 of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, published an interim rule intending to ramp up competition for orders placed under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPA”). The new rules, which apply to all federal agencies as of May 16, 2011, instill varying degrees of competition to orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The attached matrix, prepared by Jonathan Aronie, co-author with John Chierichella of the GSA Schedule Handbook (West 2010), provides a useful summary of the new rules.
Continue Reading MAS March Madness: Increased Competition In Multiple Award Schedule Orders