20 Nov Why More Government Agencies Should Take the VETS 2 GWAC for a Spin
Billions of dollars in federal contracts are spent in the Huntsville, Alabama, defense ecosystem every year. In fact, Redstone Arsenal represents about 6% of the GDP of the entire state of Alabama. New federal partnerships relating to the Artemis program, an F.B.I second headquarters, the creation of Space Force, and MDA’s interest in hypersonic weapons will fuel even more growth. All Points has offered technological solutions to the space and defense communities here through our growing Huntsville office for 15 years, so we know that government agencies and contractors navigate a complex process for getting work done. Individual agencies are responsible for vetting contractors, demonstrating efficiency, and maintaining a certain percentage of spending with businesses of various small business classifications. These agencies naturally fulfill contracts in whatever way that works for them, be it RFPs, OTAs, or popular GWACs such as SEWP V.
Some attractive contract vehicles, inexplicably, do not get tapped out. As of Veteran’s Day 2020, not one of the agency offices present in Huntsville (there are 23 on the arsenal alone) has utilized the technology services-focused VETS 2, a GWAC specifically awarded to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) through the GSA. There are billions of dollars in award space left on this contract. Learn more below from All Points, one of only 70 companies that won inclusion on the VETS 2 vendor list.
Why Was VETS 2 Created?
Government agencies need goods and services from reliable private sector sources all the time. Placing RFPs and reviewing performance of individually contracted businesses can be a drain on resources. A large administrative government agency winnows the field of capable businesses by creating a vetting process for each contract vehicle it manages. Further, the overall purchasing power of the federal government can be leveraged to drive down costs through contract vehicles. Finally agencies, when making purchases, are expected to support a range of small businesses to spur competition and spread economic stimulus beyond the biggest and/or oldest companies; contract vehicles allow these agencies to choose from vetted subgroups of small businesses to fulfill these expectations. Now, even if this part were just a review, many agencies are not considering the full range of contract vehicles available.
VETS 2 is a continuation of a Government Services Administration (GSA) managed Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). A GWAC is a contract vehicle that any government agency can use to purchase a broad range of technology goods and services.
General areas covered by VETS 2 are:
• Data Management
• IT Security
• Software Development
• Information and Communications Technology
• IT Operations and Maintenance
• Emerging Technologies
• Systems Design
A tidier answer as to why VETS 2 exists is that its predecessor was a success in awarding over $2 billion in hundreds of individual task orders. VETS 2 began in 2018 and expires in 2023 with a $5 billion cap.
Advantages of VETS 2
GSA created this GWAC to account for total IT solutions beyond the scope of predictable technology purchases. This could include on-site personnel, hardware, software, logistics, etc. Long-term projects begin through a five-year base contract and be extended an additional five years. VETS 2 allows flexibility in the way task orders will be paid: fixed-price, cost-reimbursement, labor-hour, and time-and-materials payments may be used according to the type of products procured. Task orders can be as low as $25,000 and go as high as $130,000,000.
Competition Among Uniquely Qualified Vendors
If an agency were to independently seek Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs), it could be daunting to identify truly qualified businesses and establish vigorous competition. However, the GSA took bids from 167 SDVOSBs and only awarded 70 to the VETS 2 contract based on stringent criteria.
As stated by the GSA, “Many of the VETS 2 Industry Partners have undergone a rigorous process to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and/or appraised by the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) program. These certifications and appraisals demonstrate a commitment to providing high quality IT solutions.” All Points, for instance, is among 55 VETS 2 vendors who maintains ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications, and we are one of just 29 vendors to have a level 3 CMMI capability.
GSA mediates a competitive process each time a task order emerges to minimize any delays, disputes, or misunderstandings. There have been 96 task orders so far on VETS 2.
For agency purchasing managers, VETS 2 is an efficient way to procure a range of IT solutions, earn credits for using SDVOSBs, and offload the vetting of vendors to the GSA. In a public-private defense community so tight knit as Huntsville, you can also earn yourself social/political capital for being the first to use this contract vehicle.
All Points is one of three companies awarded the VETS 2 contract with a presence in Huntsville. You can find us at Cummings Research Park where we recently expanded by a whopping 12,000 square feet.
In the next blog of this three-part series, we will discuss the VETS part of this contract, as in the real small business heroes who are able to demonstrate expertise and continued service through this vehicle.