That agency announced late Thursday it is “planning a new approach” for small business IT governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) after “the federal government’s requirements have evolved and GSA recognizes the opportunity to strengthen, innovate, and better respond to changing technology needs and security threats,” it vaguely said in a release.
GSA had originally awarded the 10-year contract to 81 small businesses in 2018. But just over a year later, the agency rescinded those awards after one company’s successful bid protest — there were dozens of protests of the contract in total — and went back to evaluating bids.
A “new and enhanced” GWAC for small business will better reflect “the changing landscape and addresses the needs of agencies to access the expertise of small businesses” and better support “recent developments in cybersecurity, emerging technologies, and supply chain risk management,” GSA said.
“The needs of our customer agencies, small business partners, and industry partners are rapidly evolving,” Laura Stanton, GSA acting assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category, said in a statement. “GSA is committed to finding ways for our GWACs to reflect the current IT marketplace so that we can maximize the opportunities for small and women-owned, HUBzone, service-disabled veteran-owned, and 8(a) small businesses to contract with the government for cybersecurity, emerging technology, and IT supply chain risk management needs. We are working to expand the number of master contract awards to highly qualified small businesses on our GWACs, while focusing on technology requirements that support our customer agencies for future mission success.”
The first reflection of the new strategy is the solicitation of bids under the 8(a) STARS III GWAC later in July. GSA says since issuing the draft solicitation last summer, it has incorporated much of the feedback it received for STARS III, “with an even greater focus on supply chain security, emerging technologies, and performance outside of the continental United States.”
Until then, GSA suggests agencies look to other existing small business contracts, like STARS II — with a recently raised ceiling of $22 billion — VETS 2 and the IT category of the consolidated Multiple Award Schedule.