This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.
In anticipation of its May release of an RFI for the follow-on to the OASIS services contract, yesterday the General Services Administration held a BIC MAC industry day. At the outset, we applaud GSA for reaching out to industry as it assesses its options for the follow-on. As GSA embarks on its market analysis, it may wish to include an analysis of alternatives. Among these alternatives, there are at least two that should be considered: Staying the course, and expanding the Schedules program.
“Staying the course,” or following the current OASIS construct for the follow-on program, recognizes the tremendous success of that program. Currently, it provides $10 billion in strategic mission support to customer agencies. In particular, the Defense Department is the largest customer using OASIS for its complex professional services requirements. With separate contracting channels for small and other than small businesses, the program provides for focused acquisition targeted to firms that underwent rigorous competition for the opportunity to provide their services to agencies. Any need for procedural challenges under the program was not apparent, but if it existed, then consideration should be given to whether it can be addressed in modifying the OASIS construct for the follow-on. In sum, this successful approach should not be overlooked without careful consideration.
Regarding expanding the Schedules, as contract holders know, currently, the Schedules do not provide for cost reimbursement contracting. That reality, however, does not mean that the option to provide for such contracting does not exist. GSA has an opportunity to address this capability on schedule, and, under the circumstances, there is ample justification to do so.
To begin with, the infrastructure and resources are in place. Adding these types of contracts would not require the agency to “reinvent the wheel” with a new process and resources. In addition, the program fills critical agency and policy needs. The Schedules served as a critical acquisition channel as the nation faced the challenges of the pandemic, and the Schedules remain the single largest government contracting channel for small businesses, providing a means to nurture and grow these innovative firms.
Coalition members appreciate GSA’s outreach to industry and methodical approach to assess the right course of action for the follow-on to the OASIS program. It is our hope that GSA considers the significant, successful tools it already has at its disposal to facilitate continued program success.
Next week’s blog will take a closer look at the interplay between these two alternatives and the opportunities for innovation.