Planet Earth – Keeping Us Grounded

Posted by Laura Stanton
on April 21, 2022

Looking toward Earth Day this year got me thinking about ITC’s efforts to promote a sustainable future. I’d like to share a few things we’ve done and what we’re working on.

One of the Biden-Harris Administration’s core goals is to put the United States on a path toward net-zero emissions, economywide, by no later than 2050

The federal government has a big role to play.

Reading the IT leaves

One trend that we’re seeing is the government relying more on “as-a-service” models for enterprise IT infrastructure. 

Another trend is buying less government-owned physical hardware. Agencies are getting what they need through industry and letting industry manage everything on the backend. 

We see this clearly reflected in our hardware buying data.

Relying more on industry-provided infrastructure through the cloud and other “as-a-service” solutions shrinks the government data centers’ overall footprint. This move reduces the government’s consumption of raw materials and energy. 

We’re seeing this trend across the government. Of course, data centers are just one piece of the IT sustainability puzzle. But it’s encouraging to see those numbers going down.

Looking to the horizon

So what is ITC doing specifically? Well, a lot!

  • In our Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, we’ve built sustainability criteria into the contract. Section G.12 — Requirements for Climate Change Adaptation, Sustainability and Green Initiatives support environmental sustainability practices through using energy-efficient, virtual, and streamlined technology that facilitates agile and expansive network communications. 
  • Complex Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) Solutions (CS3) Section C.2.1.5 — Climate Change Risk and Mitigation has a contract deliverable to prepare and update as needed a corporate climate risk management plan. This plan identifies and addresses mitigating climate change risks to land-based equipment and services associated with the satellite communication services that CS3 provides.
  • Our Governmentwide Strategic Solutions (GSS) for desktops and laptops has a mandatory Electronic Product Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Governmentwide Program. This comes from OMB Memo M-16-02, which provides standard configurations and minimum requirements for desktops, laptops, and tablets. The offering mandates EPEAT for all end-user devices and optional equipment (i.e., monitors) to meet the standard and be sold through the program.
  • The Alliant 2 Governmentwide Acquisition Contract is another great example of how the federal government leads in environmental sustainability. Alliant 2 requires greenhouse gas emissions (GEG) disclosures and reduction targets from its contractor pool. It is a contractual deliverable. We intend to continue this practice on Alliant 3.
  • With Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS), GSA is helping the DoD leverage enterprise commercial cloud environment to enable cross-department collaboration while reducing the physical footprint of on-premise infrastructure.
  • Looking to the future, we’re working hard on the Cloud Marketplace Blanket Purchase Agreement, a vehicle that will enable agencies to further their cloud adoption strategies by offering common cloud capabilities more easily.

We know that moving to the cloud can reduce an agency’s footprint, but we’re taking that even further. We’re in the early stages of writing in environmental directives related to carbon pollution-free energy for the data centers that will provide those cloud capabilities: geothermal, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, nuclear, solar, wind, and the like. (I have solar panels at home and I’m also a big fan of wind farms)

Also in the works is Polaris, our small business-focused contract. We’ve outlined two areas of sustainability in the Polaris RFPs:

  1. Products purchased from Polaris are at the EPEAT Bronze Level, and 
  2. Polaris contractors can provide their Sustainable Practices and Impact Statement (i.e., GHG disclosures).

How do we move forward? We planet.

We’ve got a lot yet to do to ensure we meet the president’s goals on sustainability. We’re working hard toward that aim.

As I reflect on Earth Day this year, I’m proud of the important strides we’re making to help agencies buy more sustainable IT products and we continue to seek opportunities to become more sustainable.

Learn more about our solutions or use our IT Solutions Navigator to find the vehicle that’s right for you.

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Improving Polaris with Small Business Feedback

Posted by Laura Stanton
on April 20, 2022

Polaris — GSA’s future small business Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) of record — is meant to provide agencies with a trusted and innovative contract vehicle designed to deliver complex IT services from the most highly skilled, experienced, and capable small businesses across multiple socioeconomic pools.

After releasing the final RFPs for the small business and women-owned small business pools in March 2022, we received thoughtful feedback from our industry partners in the small business community. We truly appreciate it.

We’re listening

As a result of the feedback we received, we’re assessing whether any changes to those RFPs are necessary. While we assess, we announced that we’re temporarily pausing the RFPs until further notice and will issue a new extended proposal due date along with any amendments. 

Offerors are encouraged to pause proposal activities until this assessment is completed. During this pause, the Polaris Submission Portal will not be open.

I want to emphasize that we very much appreciate industry’s feedback during this time. 

Built for an inclusive future

Polaris is designed to meet the needs of agencies buying complex IT services by

  • establishing pools that represent the broad ecosystem of small businesses.
  • including diverse providers that are proven capable of delivering exceptional results.

Our job is to take a thoughtful and managed approach to having a range of small businesses available to federal agencies through Polaris.

While we consider feedback and questions received from the RFPs, please continue to monitor SAM.gov for the latest Polaris news and information.

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ICYMI: ITC Activating Continuity of Service for Telecom Contracts

Posted by Laura Stanton
on April 19, 2022

In case you missed it, we are invoking the continuity of service (CoS) clause for these expiring enterprise network and telecommunications contracts: 

  • Networx
  • Local Service Contracts
  • Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS) 3

This gives agencies the opportunity to sign on for an additional 12 months of service. During this time, agencies must either complete their transition to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions or find another solution to prevent interruption of services. 

Invoking the CoS clause helps reduce the risks associated with not completing transition by the original May 31, 2023 deadline. It also provides more time for agencies to address challenges resulting from delayed task order awards, supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, and other important priorities.

The transition to EIS has significant governmentwide cybersecurity, mission, operational, and financial implications. Agencies that don’t move their services before the CoS period ends could face: 

  • Interruption of critical public services.
  • Increased cyber vulnerabilities.
  • Failure to carry out their missions.

More time to complete transition

GSA awarded EIS in 2017 to replace these expiring contracts, beginning a period of transition. Many federal agencies aren’t on track to complete their transition to EIS before the May 2023 expiration.

As of February 28, 2022, only 89% of the planned task orders for transition have been awarded. Also, 45% of the nine million services governmentwide (like telephone lines and high bandwidth secure internet access) are still in use. 

What this means for agencies

Agencies that want to take advantage of the CoS period can do so only if:

  • The agency signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GSA by September 30, 2022
  • The MOU is signed by the agency head, or follows agency delegation of authority.
  • The designee is accountable for Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO), and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) functions. 

At the end of the 12-month CoS period (May 31, 2024), any services remaining active on the expiring contracts will be disconnected according to the terms and conditions of their respective contracts. They cannot be reinstated on those contracts. This will occur at the contract level, not on the agencies’ task orders.

If an agency doesn’t transition before the exercised option or CoS period ends, the agency must:

  • Identify the services that will be cut off when the CoS period ends.
  • Develop a contingency plan to maintain operation of those services on another contractual arrangement. 
  • Implement the contingency plan to ensure mission isn’t disrupted when the contracts expire and services are disconnected.

If an agency does not sign the MOU, GSA will remove the agency from the Networks Authorized User List (NAUL) for the expiring contracts in October 2022. Contractors will then begin the disconnect process as early as November 2022 and complete it no later than May 2023.

What this means for our industry partners

As agency transition rates increase, so will the demand on industry partners to implement task orders and execute disconnects quickly. 

We value our industry partners and will work closely together as we execute contractual actions over the next year. We’ll also look to our partners to continue supporting our agency customers as they

  • Expedite EIS orders.
  • Explore other options for maintaining service on another contractual arrangement.
  • Reconcile records for services that are being disconnected.

Next steps

If your agency is mid-transition, weigh the pros and cons of signing the MOU and make a risk-based decision appropriate for your agency. We’re here to help you assess your transition risk and understand your acquisition options.

Agencies with services on the expiring contracts should expect a message from GSA in May 2022 including the MOU. If you need more information or would like to meet, please contact your assigned GSA Solutions Broker.

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FAS Commercial Platforms Initiative

Posted by Laura Stanton
on March 10, 2022

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the Commercial Platforms marketplace initiative since its inception. To make it easier for federal agencies make routine commercial product purchases, we partnered with multiple online platforms to modernize the buying experience. Through these partnerships we have made significant progress, and I’m excited to share more details on where the program is headed.

Program update

The Commercial Platforms program launched in August 2020 with four initial agencies and approximately 350 cardholders who could log in and purchase from any of our three participating platforms. I’m happy to report that agency interest is very strong, and the program has grown to over 20 participating agencies and over 40,000 total eligible cardholders.

The Commercial Platforms team actively works with the platforms to identify ways to support administration priorities in the areas of:

  • Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM), 
  • Green Products, 
  • Small Business, 
  • Made in America, and 
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.

There is a continued emphasis on customer experience and direct feedback from buyers and program managers to better understand how the program can improve. Check out the new Commercial Platforms infographic for more FY21 highlights. 

Leadership changes

I’m pleased to share that GSA’s Northeast and Caribbean Regional Commissioner Jeff Lau is the new Executive Sponsor of the Commercial Platforms program. I will continue to provide guidance and support in a consultative role, but Jeff will manage the team and help shape the future of the program. 

Jeff recently shared that he sees “a great deal of potential and opportunity within this program to modernize and streamline routine commercial buying. I am excited about growing the program and broadening the number of platforms participating in future contracts. This will be a significant focus area as part of my leadership.”

Future contracts

Work is now underway on the next acquisition for the Commercial Platforms program, with existing contracts in place until June 2023. The team released a Request for Information (RFI) that asks for feedback from industry stakeholders on requirements and capabilities to support future program contracts.

As the market and our understanding of the e-commerce landscape evolves, buyer feedback will continue to play a significant role. The buyer’s experience is emerging as the top priority area, and we will keep learning from industry’s insights, feedback, and commercial practices.

To access the RFI, please visit and subscribe to the GSA Interact Commercial Platforms group. Visit www.gsa.gov/commercialplatforms for the latest on the Commercial Platforms program.

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Wireless Mobility Solutions Training: Bringing the Experts to You

Posted by Laura Stanton
on February 23, 2022

Today, industry and government alike are supporting flexible work models like remote work, in-office work, and hybrid environments. Government leaders are embracing this trend, steadily moving their workforces toward mobility solutions.

As wireless networks expand and speeds increase with 4G LTE and 5G, we expect this “work from anywhere” trend to continue. GSA was an early adopter of the hybrid work model and understands the foundational importance of wireless solutions in serving the American public. Through experience, we learned to work through the hows and whys of integrating 5G into our IT portfolio. We stand ready to support fellow hybrid agencies to ensure their workforces have the devices, plans, and security to do the same. 

To help you find your agency’s next cost-effective, modern wireless solution on GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule, our mobility acquisition experts created a new Wireless Mobility Webinar.  

Wireless Mobility Solutions on GSA Schedule

We’ve enhanced our Wireless Mobility Solutions to showcase 11 different subcategories of mobility solutions that benefit both industry and government purchasers. This update is not just about wireless devices and accompanying phone plans but also includes:

  • Mobile security: Mobile Threat Protection and Mobile App Vetting services give you baseline security with real time threat detection and scanning software. 
  • Mobile administration and management solutions: Telecom Expense Management Services (TEMS) and Mobility-as-a-Service solutions can help with inventory management, cost control, reporting, trouble ticketing and the distribution of wireless devices.
  • Mobility-related Internet of Things (IoT) component infrastructure: This technology allows you to design and operate a system of devices.

ITC’s wireless solutions portfolio also includes our Best-In-Class Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions. Through EIS, you can integrate your mobility requirements with your enterprise network in one unified order.

We strive to offer the breadth and variety of modern solutions you expect from the commercial mobility market, and add new service providers and solutions regularly. If you can’t find the service or industry partner you’re looking for or need additional support, let us know at wireless@gsa.gov.

Don’t forget! If you’re a Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative Wireless BPA user, your task orders will expire between now and November of 2023. If you need help with your transition, check out this FSSI Wireless transition training on our IT Acquisition University. ITAU offers lots of great government-only content, including webinars like “How to Equip the Federal Workforce in Today’s Telework Environment” and “How to Use TEMS and Mobility-as-a-Service.”

Get involved

Join the more than 250 program and contract personnel across government who make up the Federal Mobility Group. The FMG meets biweekly to discuss research, innovation, industry engagement, and events. Recent meetings showcased how government agencies are leveraging 4G/5G technologies to further their mobility missions, including the development of autonomous vehicles and smart warehouses. There’s even a working group specifically focused on 5G. Government employees with a .gov or .mil email address can contact fmg@gsa.gov to join.

Coming up

We’re hosting a virtual event on March 16, 2022 that will feature GSA expert discussions on Zero-Trust, cloud computing, and the use of emerging technology in today’s hybrid workplace. Register now for Securing Next-Generation Hybrid Work Environments.

Finally, we’d like to welcome back our Mobility program manager Christian Williams, who has been serving on active duty for the last year. We’re proud to have many veterans working at GSA and greatly appreciate their service to our country. Welcome back, Christian!

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Improving Acquisition Governmentwide: IT and Professional Services

Posted by Laura Stanton
on February 17, 2022

It’s not often that you hear from both the Information Technology Category and Professional Services and Human Capital Categories on this blog, but we’re excited to share some updates about how our portfolios are collaborating to improve governmentwide services acquisition. For this post we’re joined by Sheri Meadema, acting assistant commissioner of GSA’s Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories.

ITC and PSHC have always focused on developing and delivering contractual approaches that meet the expressed, current, and future needs of our customer agencies. We set up flexible solutions so industry has a low-friction experience when working with the government. Our job is to help our customers by: 

  • Reaching the most qualified and experienced suppliers in various socioeconomic categories. 
  • Accessing an acquisition channel that is designed to deliver exactly what agencies need and how they need to buy it.
  • Complying with evolving federal regulations.
  • Reducing the complexity and risk associated with services acquisition to the maximum extent possible.

What’s new

This year we are taking our partnership a step further through a new focus area called the Services Marketplace. ITC and PSHC are working together to align how we roll out new contracts and tools to support buyers and suppliers of services. 

Along with the leaders of GSA’s services contracts, we are working together to find enterprise-level solutions. We have three primary goals:

  • Rationalize, align and expand GSA’s contract offerings.
  • Improve FAS’s market research and buying tools. 
  • Improve the data and reporting systems used in support of our acquisition programs

What will this look like for our customers and industry partners? For industry, we envision a future with standardized engagement and solicitation processes regardless of the type of services you’re providing. We will focus on using a consistent set of best practices and tools when possible for both IT and professional services for solicitations, evaluation, negotiations, award, and contract management.

For our customers, we want to deliver a consistent, exceptional customer experience that makes it easier to get successful outcomes when compared to open market procurements. A customer agency buying services from GSA should be able to access familiar processes and have access to the right industry base, best-in-class contracts, effective and efficient tools, and support resources.

What we’re working on

Under the umbrella of the Services Marketplace, we are building the next generation of contracts, including the Services MAC, Polaris, and the follow-on to Alliant 2. 

  • ITC recently awarded the 8(a) STARS III Governmentwide Acquisition Contract, a small business set-aside, Best-in-Class GWAC. Through 8(a) STARS III, agencies can access award-winning 8(a) firms for emerging technologies and Outside Continental United States support via an established contract vehicle, saving time and taxpayer money over open-market methods.
  • Development of the next generation small business IT GWAC Polaris is well underway. The request for proposal for the new Polaris small business IT contract is expected in February 2022. Once fully awarded, Polaris will complete GSA’s GWAC contract portfolio by enabling federal agencies to set-aside IT task orders to small business, women-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and businesses located in HUBZones. 
  • With the OASIS ordering period ending in 2024, PSHC is making significant progress on a new Services Multi-Agency Contract to support federal agencies’ procurement requirements for services, making essential improvements and building on the program’s success. 
  • Work also continues on improving our Multiple Award Schedule service offerings in Phase 3 of the consolidation. Contractors with multiple contracts will consolidate down to one, which translates into fewer overall contracts for the acquisition workforce — and industry partners — to manage. It will also make it easier for agencies to find the vendors to meet their mission requirements.

We’ve also started standardizing the scope review process and created a digital tool/portal so customers can submit their scope review requests. This will allow for better tracking, management, and coordination across portfolios, as well as create a single customer experience. PSHC has already created a pilot single intake form and we are working to integrate that across other portfolios. 

In the coming months, we’ll launch a single Delegation of Procurement Authority training for OASIS and Human Capital and Training Solutions and a single on-demand ITC DPA, which combines 8(a) STARS III, VETS 2, and Alliant 2 to simplify the customer experience. We’ve also started the discovery phase for an order management tool for all services task orders. This will allow for better solicitation development, tracking, and task order management on GSA contracts. 

We look forward to continued input from customers and industry partners to create consistency as we build the next generation of contracts, improve market research and buying tools, and enhance data and reports systems for governmentwide services acquisition.

Contact us

If you’re interested in learning more about any of our contracts, send us a note!

Join the Small Business GWAC Community of Interest here to follow 8(a) STARS III and Polaris updates: https://interact.gsa.gov/group/small-business-gwac-community-interest.

Join the Professional Services Community here to follow news on the Services MAC: https://interact.gsa.gov/groups/professionalservicescategory.

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Listening, Learning, Acting: Customer Needs Are Front and Center in FY21

Posted by Laura Stanton
on January 12, 2022

The recent White House customer experience Executive Order holds government agencies accountable for “designing and delivering services with a focus on the actual experience of the people whom it is meant to serve.”

This philosophy of centering service around an individual customer’s experience is easy to comprehend but tough to execute. Our goal is to help agencies deliver on their missions to the public. To do that, we connect them with businesses offering approved, secure technology solutions that are customer-centric, cost effective, and compliant.

ITC was able to perform well in FY21 by listening closely to customers and taking action based on their needs. Whether working with agencies federal, state, local, or tribal, big or small, we consistently get asked the same questions:

  • Can you guide me through finding the solution I need and help me acquire it efficiently?
  • How can you save me money on the solution I need?
  • Can you ensure that the solutions I purchase are compliant with regulations and security directives?

In FY21, ITC provided a model for how government employees can thrive in remote work environments. We conducted a great deal of government business despite supply chain and other pandemic-related challenges, recording over $32 Billion of business volume. We improved CX in buying and selling technology and saved our customers time and money, modernized their networks, and secured their systems. We welcomed 315 new small and disadvantaged businesses onto the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) in FY21. These efforts are ongoing, but have underpinned much federal government success during the pandemic.

Back to basics – meeting customer needs

Customers come to ITC to enlist the help of our acquisition specialists and subject matter experts. We want to provide a convenient, consolidated acquisition experience that is time-efficient and provides the best value to our customers. We currently manage 23 contract programs and more than 4,700 vendors on the Multiple Award Schedule, of which 52% are small businesses. Small and disadvantaged businesses saw a 23% increase in business volume from FY20 to FY21!

Creating taxpayer value – ITC sees record revenue in FY21

Customers buy through GSA to leverage the full buying power of the government. In FY21, we recorded more than $32.3B in business volume through our contracts. For context, this accounts for 35% of the $92.9B total that was appropriated for IT across all federal agencies during the fiscal year. ITC accounted for more than $2.3B in savings to our government customers, a 7.7% increase from FY20.

There is a good reason agencies are using our Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommended Best-In-Class (BIC) solutions during this pandemic spending period. Our price analysis tools, upfront market research, transactional data, and the great value of offerings on Schedule can’t be found elsewhere. Our success exemplifies the trust that our customer agencies have placed in our ability to help them meet their missions.

Securing the stack – keeping our industry partners accountable

Security mandates such as Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM), Cybersecurity-Supply Chain Risk Management (C-SCRM), The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 889, and The Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity are crucial to the nation’s digital and physical safety.

The line between physical and virtual security has blurred as threats have become more complex, and complying with these security mandates is crucial to agency customers. That’s why ITC adds these mandates and others into our master contracts — to streamline proof of compliance for industry and allow agencies to focus on mission delivery.

ITC helps ensure that the products and services our customers buy will comply with federal law and safeguard their network’s security. Large contracts like our 2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT) hardware/software blanket purchase agreement have SCRM built in as a key operational component.

GSA tools like the new Verified Products Portal (VPP) help identify authorized resellers to enhance SCRM capabilities. Security and cybersecurity approaches and policy are ever-evolving, and GSA recognizes both as core acquisition tenets. We understand the considerable responsibility we have for agencies’ IT health.

Looking ahead

We’re looking forward to finalizing several exciting efforts in 2022. We are bolstering our Cloud marketplace with a one-stop shop BPA, which will be awarded in phases. Polaris (our contract replacement for Alliant 2 Small Business) will release its Request For Proposal in Q2, with awards to be made later in the year. As the September 2022 Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) transition deadline quickly approaches, we are in the process of assisting agencies as they award remaining task orders and ultimately disconnect from old telecommunications contracts.

We’ll continue to view things through the lens of our customers, facilitating direct conversations with stakeholders and providing the products, services, and attention needed to achieve agency missions. Our goal is a customer experience that prioritizes cost-efficiency, expediency, and security. You can buy with confidence when you work with the Information Technology Category.

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IT GWAC Roundup

Posted by Laura Stanton
on December 17, 2021

We’ve had so much news about our small business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) over the last few months. I continue to get questions and requests for status updates from our friends in industry, so I thought it would be helpful to pull the latest updates together in one place. 

I’ll start by reminding everyone why we stand these contracts up. GSA’s small business GWACs enable the important missions of agencies across the federal government and drive progress on vital public policy objectives including the President’s Executive Order 13985 On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) released by the Biden-Harris Administration in November.  

GSAs GWACs support the PMA in some key ways, including delivering mission-enabling technologies across government. They support deep relationships with the supplier community, helping industry understand how the PMA drives new and emerging government IT requirements to support key initiatives such as improving citizen interactions with the government and equipping the federal workforce to effectively deliver for the public. GWACs also make it easier for new suppliers, especially small and disadvantaged businesses, to gain valuable growth opportunities through the federal IT marketplace.

As we close out the year, there’s a flurry of activity in ITC around our GWACs and I am very proud and excited about the work my team is doing.

Polaris

Polaris will bring innovation to the small business community, federal agencies, and the acquisition workforce leading to substantial benefits to small businesses, improved technology for federal agencies, and greater flexibility for acquisition professionals across government.

Initial priorities on Polaris will be the creation of 4 pools to accommodate set-asides for:

  • small businesses; 
  • women-owned small businesses (WOSB); 
  • service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB), and 
  • businesses located in HUBZones.

We will solicit and award Polaris in phases to help our customers deliver on their missions and meet their socio-economic goals.

Our first priority is to release the request for proposals (RFP) for the small business and WOSB pools in late January/February 2022. The small business pool will be awarded first, in 2022. The WOSB pool will be awarded second. The HUBZone and SDVOSB RFPs and awards will follow.

Keep an eye on our Small Business GWAC Community of Interest for updates.

8(a) STARS III

8(a) STARS III successfully launched this summer with a 5-year base period, 3-year option, and a $50 billion ceiling to give agencies plenty of runway to plan for the future. The 2021 award was an important first step with an initial cohort of more than 400 8(a) industry partners gaining new access to the federal IT marketplace. 

This is a big deal for the Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB) community and we’re excited to see how they turn these opportunities into great outcomes.

We are working closely with our partners on a second 8(a) STARS III cohort for award in Q2 FY22 — stay tuned!

VETS 2

The VETS 2 GWAC is humming right along. In just 3.5 years, VETS 2 has an estimated $1.94 billion value from 148 task orders.

VETS 2 gives agencies access to a wide variety of customized IT services and solutions. It also helps agencies receive SDVOSB credit toward their Small Business Procurement Scorecard and Best-in-Class (BIC) Tier 3 credit toward Spend Under Management goals.

We’re committed to the SDVOSB community. VETS 2 will have a strong future as part of GSA’s suite of IT contract solutions for many years to come. We’re taking the necessary steps to execute the option period and doing all that we can to cement VETS 2’s future.

Together, VETS 2 and Polaris will deliver on our commitment to SDVOSBs. They’ll continue to provide value for our customers well into the future and help ensure there will be no gap in access to SDVOSB contract offerings from GSA.

Looking to the Future

The highly qualified companies on our GWACs (and those to come) can complete almost any IT service requirement including agile software development, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and other emerging technologies.

As we look toward 2022, GSA will remain focused on providing important solutions for our industry partners and customer agencies. It will remain a top priority for us in the new year.

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GSA Celebrates American Veterans

Posted by Laura Stanton
on November 10, 2021

This Veterans Day, I’m contemplating GSA’s long history of working with service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB). I’m proud of the work they do every day to help agencies across the federal government achieve their mission.

Our Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) like VETS 2 demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our Veteran community – and I want to make sure I communicate clearly that we believe VETS 2 will continue its success and have a strong future as part of GSA’s suite of IT contract solutions for many years to come. We’re taking the necessary steps to execute the option period and doing all that we can to cement VETS 2’s future.

VETS 2: the right IT solutions, right now

In just 3 ½ years, VETS 2 has an estimated $1.87 billion value from 145 task order awards.

VETS 2 gives agency customers access to a wide variety of customized IT services and solutions. It also helps agencies receive SDVOSB credit toward their Small Business Procurement Scorecard and Best-in-Class (BIC) Tier 3 credit toward Spend Under Management goals.

The highly qualified companies on VETS 2 can complete almost any IT service requirement including agile software development, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and other emerging technologies.

SDVOSB pool on Polaris

In addition to our ongoing support for VETS 2, GSA is broadening opportunities for Veterans to work with the federal government. We recently announced a new contract pool for SDVOSB firms on Polaris, a new next-generation GWAC.

Polaris will bring more innovation to the small business community, federal agencies, and the acquisition workforce. This innovation will lead to substantial benefits for small businesses, improved technology for federal agencies, and greater flexibility for acquisition professionals across government.

Polaris will have 4 pools: small business, women-owned small business (WOSB), SDVOSB and businesses located in HUBZones. These pools will be awarded in phases to help our customers deliver on their missions and meet their socio-economic goals.

Our first priority is to release the request for proposals (RFP) for the small business and WOSB pools January 2022. The small business pool will be awarded first, later in the year. The HUBZone and SDVOSB RFPs and awards will follow.

Subscribe to our Small Business Community of Interest on GSA Interact to keep up to date.

Veterans help government through two GSA GWACs

We’re committed to the SDVOSB community. Together, VETS 2 and Polaris will deliver on our commitment to SDVOSBs. They’ll continue to deliver value for our customers well into the future and help ensure there will be no gap in access to SDVOSB contract offerings.

Find out more about VETS 2 and discover customer training opportunities at www.gsa.gov/vets2. Please send any questions to vets2@gsa.gov.

Additional information about Polaris can be found at www.gsa.gov/polaris. Please send any questions to polaris@gsa.gov.

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Reducing Cyber Supply Chain Risks

Posted by Laura Stanton
on November 3, 2021

From reports of large-scale cyber attacks such as Solarwinds to President Biden’s signing of Executive Order 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, cyber supply chain risks have been top of mind for policymakers and federal agencies governmentwide.

GSA is committed to helping agencies mitigate cyber supply chain risks. By understanding the threats, agencies are positioned to take defensive action against them.

Ecosystem threats

Government depends on a global supply chain ecosystem: vendors, distribution routes, technologies, laws, and policies. Each piece of this ecosystem works together to design, manufacture, distribute, use, and manage products and services.

However, these supply chains’ ecosystems can expose government organizations and enterprises to financial, governance and cybersecurity risks.

Of these risks, one of the most troubling is that someone will use vulnerabilities in a supply chain to carry out a cyberattack.

A supply chain cyber attack occurs when an attacker uses a trusted outside partner or vendor with access to a system’s data to infiltrate an information system.

Because supply chain attacks are difficult to prevent and can greatly harm any organization, federal agencies must identify, categorize, manage, and mitigate risks within their supply chains.

In its December 2020 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessed how 23 civilian CFO Act agencies’ implemented 7 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) practices.

In their review, the GAO found that many agencies had not implemented the practices according to their evaluation criteria and that no agencies had fully implemented all 7 practices.

What you can do

You can take proactive information and operational technology acquisitions measures to reduce an organization’s cyber supply chain risks.

  • Evaluate your organizational structure. Set up a collective task force to secure your supply chain and empower this team to hold lower-level suppliers accountable and to have responsibility for overall supply chain security.
  • Identify and empower supply chain leadership. Review and monitor key contracts to verify that prime and subcontractors maintain security practices through the contract lifecycle. Threat intelligence and incident response capabilities must work together.
  • Put data protection and stakeholder communication processes in place. Set requirements for communicating and protecting data, specifically for incidents, breach notifications, and industry or legal reporting requirements.
  • Build trust by sharing threats with your supply chain partners. Prevent communication delays by being transparent about an attack or a potential breach. Transparent leadership and communication creates trust. Building that trust requires a commitment to straight talk, the ability to produce results, and the ability to restore trust when trust is lost.

GSA C-SCRM Resources

For the last 10 years, federal guidance and regulations have prioritized SCRM. This priority reflects the increasing threat of vulnerabilities in the nation’s supply chain.

We’re continuing to develop ways to help agencies reduce supply chain risk, like the Vendor Risk Assessment Program and the Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management Acquisition Community of Practice.

Vendor Risk Assessment Program

We are currently developing a program that can identify, assess, and monitor supply chain risks for vendors who do critical work for the federal government. It will audit supply chain risk processes or events and may include on-site assessments.

The following criteria will be monitored:

  • Risk of foreign ownership, control or influence;
  • Cyber risk; and
  • Factors that would affect the company’s vulnerability, such as financial performance.

If the risk assessment identifies supply chain risks, we will work with the vendor on a corrective action.

We take this seriously. Failing to resolve any identified risk may result in government action up to and including contract termination.

Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management Acquisition Community of Practice

In August 2021, we established a C-SCRM Acquisition Community of Practice (ACoP). It includes key acquisition stakeholders from GSA, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Office of Management & Budget (OMB), and other federal agencies.

The goal of C-SCRM ACoP is to increase awareness and develop maturity in the areas of cyber-acquisitions and Information Communication Technology and Services (ICTS) supply chain risk management across the federal government.

Many federal departments and agencies need to mature C-SCRM capabilities, guidance, and training. This is particularly true for acquiring ICT hardware and software.

We need governmentwide contract language for getting ICT products that holds vendors accountable for assessing the risk of their supply channels, especially for embedded software.

To learn more about the C-SCRM ACoP or to join, email C-SCRM_ACoP@gsa.gov.

Coordination is key

Agencies must continuously monitor their interconnected IT ecosystem and establish the necessary contract requirements that ensure vendors are doing the same.

Stay up to date on the latest GSA C-SCRM initiative by following us on Twitter @GSA_ITC.

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