Contract Duplication Remains a Cost Drag on the Federal Acquisition System

Contract duplication increases bid and proposal, administration and management costs for government and industry. Last summer the Coalition issued a summary report highlighting the results of a survey conducted among our member firms regarding contract duplication costs. The report was subsequently provided to the Department of Defense (DoD), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The report has helped increase the awareness across government of the costs associated with contract duplication.

That is why it is gratifying and encouraging to hear senior leaders in government talk about addressing contract duplication. Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Tom Sharpe has been a strong voice regarding the need to reduce contract duplication costs across government. Tom and his FAS team play a leading role in reducing contract duplication. The Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program, the IT GWACs and OASIS are the keys to reducing horizontal contract duplication across the federal enterprise. These contract vehicles provide or will provide a streamlined, competitive process for agency requirements. Use of these government-wide contract vehicles saves time and money for government, industry and the American taxpayer.

Unfortunately, too often across government there is bias against use of these contract vehicles. It is the “not invented here” syndrome or “my requirement is so unique I need my own contract vehicle” rationale that continues to support contract duplication. Frankly, the depth and breadth of the MAS program, IT GWACs and, eventually, OASIS, provides solutions across the spectrum of agency specific requirements. Of course there will remain a need for agency specific contracts but GSA’s contract vehicles and the other IT GWACs (NASA and NIH) can meet the vast majority of agency needs.

That’s why the current Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) review of DoD’s policies and procedures governing the use of interagency contracts is timely. It provides an opportunity to streamline DoD’s process for using MAS contracts, IT GWACs and other interagency contract vehicles. Streamlining DoD’s process will reduce contract duplication and increase competition among contract vehicles resulting in savings. At the same time, we believe the time is right for OMB to make a policy statement in favor of using GSA’s pre-existing government-wide contract vehicles as a means of reducing contract duplication and saving money. After all, it is the strategic acquisition thing to do!

Have a “cool” weekend!

Roger Waldron


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