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7/12/2010
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Federal IT Contract Passes $1 Billion Mark

Alliant government-wide acquisition contract is used by federal agencies to more easily procure IT products and services.

A major contract the federal government uses to procure multiple IT products and services has surpassed the $1 billion mark in task orders.

Alliant, a 10-year government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) introduced in 2007 with a $50 billion ceiling, reached the milestone faster than other GWACs that preceded it, the Answer and Millennia contracts, according to a blog post by Edward O'Hare, assistant commissioner of the General Service Administration's federal acquisition service office of integrated technology services.

GWACs are multiple-award, indefinite delivery, and indefinite quantity contracts that allow the government to purchase IT products and services without having to go through the competition process normally required of government procurement. The government began using them as a way to cut acquisition costs and streamline the process.

In his post, O'Hare cited several reasons he thinks Alliant has achieved $1 billion faster than some other contracts of its kind.

He said the contract is used by all Department of Defense (DoD) branches as well as many civilian agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.

Moreover, 24 of 59 prime contractors have won awards on 45 task orders through Alliant, with the GSA receiving an average of four bids per task order and no protests about unfair practices, O'Hare said.

Some of the federal government's largest and most innovative IT projects -- such as smart buildings -- use Alliant, he added.

O'Hare acknowledged that there been concerns raised by industry groups about duplicative GWACs that actually end up costing the government money and resources rather than being more cost-effective.

However, O'Hare said that GWACs benefit companies who feel compelled to bid on as many government contracts as possible, because the all-inclusive nature of the contracts saves tens of thousands in bidding costs. This benefit, in turn, is returned to the federal government.

"These costs are not just the 'cost of doing business'; they are passed on to the government and eventually to the taxpayer," he said. "I don't see how that benefits anyone in the long run."

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