GSA Chief Wants to Reveal Task Order Data

GSA Chief Emily Murphy May Make Task Order Data More Transparent

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Emily Murphy is contemplating making information on all multiple-award contracts public in the name of transparency. At present, only companies with spots on the solicitations can see relevant solicitations and awards, which offers business intelligence and a competitive edge on the federal market. In 2016, GSA spent over $110 billion through 2,600 multiple-award contracts.

Murphy has had  conversations with both the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Governmentwide Policy. She is currently waiting for the  Federal Acquisition Service to deliver options that might offer some greater transparency. According to Murphy, “This needs to be addressed not just in the microcosm of the GSA schedules…. We need to be looking across government and making sure we are not disadvantaging the schedules program versus other programs, and we are not putting our vendors or our customers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Transparency is only one of four goals Murphy has set for  her term running GSA. Read more here.

Hard Shutdown

Shutdown? Shut up!

Since Saturday, the United States government has been closed, shut down, unplugged (etc.), including the General Services Administration (GSA) and FAS. Right now, GSA is deferring to 4220.1K ADM, the Order which dictates “Operations in the Absence of Appropriations.”

What does this mean for our clients? Unfortunately, if you currently hold a GSA Schedule, you will not see any work done on your contract modifications and will not receive any government payments. Work for government agencies under the GSA Schedule must be halted during this time unless it is of mission critical importance (you will have been notified if this is you). Companies with proposals into GSA will be in a holding pattern for now, whether they are recently submitted and being triaged to the correct Contracting Officer, under administrative review, in negotiations, or awaiting final award.

“GSA’s role as an aggregator of large numbers of government assets and a supplier of critical tools, equipment, and supplies to other Federal agencies requires that GSA retain adequate staffing under a lapse in appropriations in order to protect Federal property under GSA’s custody and control and to continue to provide critical support to other Federal agencies’ exempt and excepted activities necessary for the protection of life and Federal property.”

In other words, GSA is mostly shut down. Buildings remain open for maintenance, power, and cleaning in a reduced capacity. Small crews are also being kept around to ensure protection of GSA assets and property, and to support other essential Federal agencies. GSA is held more responsible than other agencies to maintain their regular tasks. Think of it as a GSA skeleton crew. When the shutdown is over, GSA will update plans, decide what to do about missed events, and catch up with all the work piling up right now.

We are hopeful this shutdown ends soon. Stay vigilant, folks!

Done With DUNS?

GSA issues RFI for alternative to Dun & Bradstreet’s legal identifiers

GSA has issued a RFI and a draft performance work statement in pursuit of an alternative to the current legal identifiers supplied by Dun & Bradstreet. GSA is “exploring all viable means of continuing to meet its ongoing need for entity identification and validation services after the contract’s expiration.” The new RFI builds upon an earlier request from February, and primarily seeks feedback on the statement of work.

The draft states that GSA aims to fill both technical and business needs. They highlight the need to “Determine entity uniqueness, which could include the assignment and/or use of a unique entity identifier in perpetuity, validation of certain entity data, and associated services,” as well as a method of understanding the hierarchy of entities,  and “a method to determine relevant information about an entity that is being excluded from doing business with the government.”

Technical objectives include real-time data for validation services, machine-readable formatting that doesn’t require custom software, and transfer and resting data encryption. The RFI has been widely welcomed by Dun & Bradstreet, as well as other industry partners. The contract expires in 2018, so be ready for changes.

Rolling Down the FedRAMP

GSA recently announced the launch of the FedRAMP Tailored Baseline for Cloud Service Providers with Low Impact Software-as-a-Service systems. FedRAMP Tailored aims to support solutions that have low risk and low costs for agencies. This means a streamlined process for a variety of applications. Tailored also standardizes an approach to determine risks associated with cloud applications and provides the government with the freedom to use the cloud while maintaining security.

FedRAMP tailored was open for comment in January and July of 2017. The program provides base security control requirements for industry to meet. Agency authorizing officials are responsible for adding controls where necessary for compliance. GSA believes “The FedRAMP program, including our goals for Tailored, is a key part of issuing an informed, risk-based authority to operate.”

For more information, see the FedRAMP Tailored website. 

Keep it Under Lock and Data Key

GSA officials announced plans to rebrand Special Item Number 520-20 on September 20th. The SIN will act as the official Data Breach Response and Identity Protection Services offering on the Professional Services Schedule. GSA hopes that this move will offer industries and agencies more flexibility and responsiveness.

Ordering offices will “now have the ability to obtain specifically what is needed for their immediate situation,” explained Stephanie Kenitzer, professional services category community manager.

The new SIN offers “identity monitoring and notification of Personally Identifiable Information and Protected Health Information, identity theft insurance and identity restoration services, and protect (safeguard) the confidentiality of PII and PHI.”

The changes will occur with the next solicitation refresh, projected for mid-October.

When a competitive number of vendors are on schedule, GSA plans to swap identity protection services from the current blanket agreements to the SIN.

For more information see the official statement.