OMB to feds: No new desktop or laptop contracts

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The Office of Management and Budget has sent out a clear directive to civilian government agencies: Stop issuing new contracts for desktops and laptops.

Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott and Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung released a memorandum Friday saying that any civilian agency looking to procure new desktops or laptops must go through one of three governmentwide acquisition contracts: NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP), the General Services Administration’s Schedule 70, and the Department of Health and Human Services Chief Information Officer-Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) vehicles.

“There is no need for thousands of contracts to purchase common laptops and desktops,” read a blog post on the White House’s website announcing the directive. The post says the new restrictions are “a critical step in the implementation of [the] Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act,” or FITARA. The move is designed to save taxpayers’ money and will be phased in between next year and 2018.

In addition, OMB has tasked NASA with setting up standard desktop configurations for government workers, which will be refreshed every six months to “evaluate emerging technologies, such as use of tablets and virtual infrastructure.”

“Most Federal employees need just basic computing capability to get our jobs done, but we often have hundreds of options — or configurations — to choose from, which further fragments our position in the market,” the White House blog post read. The post notes that the price paid by US agencies for a similarly configured laptop can range from about $450 to over $1300. “By spending fewer resources buying, managing, and maintaining a diverse hardware portfolio, agencies will be able to save costs and reduce duplication.”

This directive is directly attributed to FITARA, which looks to reduce wasteful spending and duplication in relation to government IT. In the memo, OMB stated that they do not expect agencies to get to 100 percent of their computer spend through these contract vehicles due to various agency nuances. The White House set a goal of pushing this spend to 45 percent in fiscal year 2016, 60 percent to fiscal 2017 and 70 percent in fiscal 2018.

To reach this goal, OMB has tasked agencies to come up with a transition plan by Feb. 28. 2016.

Read the full memo below.

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Agencies, Anne Rung, Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), Government IT News, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Procurement, Tony Scott
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