There are a variety of government-wide acquisition contracts across the federal space, but the National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) is encouraging agencies to place orders through its government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) to streamline the acquisition process.
Ed Wilgus, from NITAAC’s executive outreach team, explained to attendees at the 2022 HIMSS conference in Orlando, Florida, how agencies can pursue acquisition opportunities through NITAAC’s three GWACs: CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-SP4.
NITAAC is amid a transition between CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP4, and although CIO-SP3 is set to expire Nov. 1, Wilgus noted that agencies can still place an order across its 10 task orders through CIO-SP3 as late as Oct. 31 — or further out, in particular cases — and have that task order last for five more years. This leaves the older GWAC accessible for agencies to tap before it closes.
“Agencies can place an order on the last day of the period ... and have that task order run for five more ears, five consecutive years run through 2027,” Wilgus said. “These can be used for commercial or non-commercial services, and the order types [are ones] the agencies like, too. It can be for a fixed price, cost type … or anything.”
CIO-SP3’s contracts have an award cap of $20 billion, and the GWAC currently has 48 contract holders that meet 10 different task orders. SIO-SP3 Small Business isn’t eligible in all 10 task areas, but has 339 contract holders from socioeconomic categories like women-owned small businesses, HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and more.
While agencies can still contract through CIO-SP3, CIO-SP4 is rising as the new vehicle. NITAAC closed its RFP period in February and is aiming to begin awarding by Nov 1, right as CIO-SP3 expires. NITAAC said it designed CIO-SP4 to complement and align with current CIO-SP3 GWACs, and it raises the contract ceiling to $50 billion for each contract holder.
CIO-SP4 also aims for greater flexibility for partner agencies. NITAAC shared that the new GWAC is competitively selecting from a pool of industry contractors that “offer the depth and breadth of IT services and solutions at the most competitive prices over the next decade.”
As NITAAC prepares for its awards in November, Wilgus encouraged agencies to continue ordering through various avenues that the agency provides. He said that the Electronic Government Ordering System, or e-GOS, is an online system that NITAAC provides for competition management and awardee selection. With the services it provides, e-GOS acts as a single source portal for task and delivery order management and market research.
NITAAC provides two ways for agencies to place orders through e-GOS. The first is through direct order, and the other is in NITAAC’s Assisted Acquisition Services, which Wilgus said is a popular option.
“We cover all the acquisition services market research, acquisition planning, issue the RFP, we make the award that we administer and close out,” Wilgus said about the Assisted Acquisition Services lifecycle.
NITAAC’s Assisted Acquisition Services also provides subject matter experts to assist across the acquisition lifecycle and allows agencies to tap NITAAC to handle high-value complex procurement.
Amid the work that NITAAC has and will continue to do to aid various agencies, Wilgus touched on external challenges and issues that agencies should consider when preparing for an order. One of these obstacles is ongoing supply chain backlogs, from microprocessors and other key components for IT equipment. NITAAC urged that customers review their IT needs and anticipate slower delivery and delayed performance of their requirements, recommending that agencies place orders as soon as possible to meet their needs.
Wilgus added that agencies should also consider mandates around cybersecurity and the Buy American Act as key components that can impact acquisition options and strategies. He added that NITAAC can aid agencies looking to place an order throughout this process.