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Joint Proposal Calls for Amendment of the FAR to Support Environmental Concerns. A joint proposal requesting to amend the current Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to focus on the environment and sustainability and to implement a requirement for agencies to procure sustainable products and services to the maximum extent practicable was issued on August 3, 2023, by the Defense Department (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This proposal is on the heels of the Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability Executive Order (EO 14057). In this EO, President Biden challenged agencies to meet the following targets: Achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, including 50 percent on a 24/7 basis. Reach 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisition by 2035, including 100 percent light-duty acquisitions by 2027. Achieve net-zero building emissions by 2045, including a 50 percent reduction by 2032. Reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent from 2008 levels by 2030. Establish targets to reduce energy and potable water use intensity by 2030. Reduce procurement emissions to net-zero by 2050. Have climate resilient infrastructure and operations. Develop a climate- and sustainability-focused workforce. Advance environmental justice and equity-focused operations. Accelerate progress through domestic and international partnerships. More importantly to NITAAC, the EO also directs agencies to purchase sustainable products and services in accordance with relevant statutory requirements, and, to the maximum extent practicable, purchase sustainable products and services identified or recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At NITAAC, protecting our environment is at the forefront of our procurement strategy. In fact, our environmental best practices have been lauded for four consecutive years by the Global Electronics Council, which owns and manages the EPEAT Purchaser Awards. The awards recognize excellence in sustainable procurement of EPEAT-registered products. NITAAC is one of a few Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) to receive this global award and has been recognized for excellence in multiple categories, including computers, displays and servers. Environmentally Responsible Spending NITAAC takes considerable pride in doing our part to ensure the federal government has access to sustainable products. As agencies look to purchasing commodities, such as laptops and desktops, NITAAC can help. We are committed to providing EPEAT certified laptops, desktops, printers, monitors and servers to meet every federal agencies’ information technology (IT) needs. With almost 4000 EPEAT certified products to choose from, the ordering process is as easy as the click of a button. To start your order, download a copy of the NextGen GSS Ordering Guide here, then click the log in to e-GOS button in the upper right hand corner of any NITAAC web page. NITAAC not only offers the standard configurations of the GSS program, we also can handle more complex requirements through our CIO-CS Government-Wide Acquisition Contract for IT Commodities/Solutions. NITAAC offers training in use of our GWACs and is happy to provide customized training for any federal office or organization. Together, we can achieve the President’s vision for a more sustainable future. We strongly believe it is not only our job to provide a first-class acquisition experience but to also do our part to create a healthier planet. To learn more about how NITAAC can help you meet your end of year laptop and desktop buying needs, and meet the President’s directive in EO 14057, visit https://nitaac.nih.gov/services/government-wide-strategic-solutions.
There is an adage that simply says, “Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.” This adage is quite apt for the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) solicitation. In our ongoing quest to bring to market the best Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC), we’ve, unfortunately, had to wait on the hand of time. Although waiting has admittedly caused me both frustration and impatience, it has not stopped NITAAC from continuing to provide any federal agency, government-wide, with an easy, cost-effective and accessible method for acquiring information technology for citizen services or mission delivery. If there is no other takeaway from this month’s Director’s Corner, please understand that we are open for business and both the CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business GWACs are available, and will continue to be available, for agency use. Both GWACs have been extended through April 29, 2024, to ensure there is no gap in contractual coverage between CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP4. The extension allows our customers to continue to acquire mission-critical information technology on our fast and cost-effective GWACs through the remainder of the fiscal year. Rest assured, we are ready and capable of fulfilling all your task and delivery orders to ensure all your mission-critical information technology (IT) needs are met. NITAAC was developed specifically by the government for the sole purpose of speeding up IT acquisition for the government. I am grateful we have provided acquisition support to virtually every federal agency, department and program in the federal government since we launched over 25 years ago as part of the Clinger-Cohen Act. No matter how large or how complex your IT challenges may be, you can count on NITAAC contractors to get IT done quickly and get IT done right. From operations and maintenance of legacy systems to complex, emerging technologies like Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI), NITAAC contractors are ready to help federal agencies excel. As we head into the end of the fiscal year and approach buying season, NITAAC is here to help you. Our three GWACs, CIO-CS, CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business have everything you need to get IT done, from a pool of highly qualified contractors to robust labor categories, multiple task areas and a multitude of socioeconomic categories to help you meet your goals. NITAAC is your one-stop shop for all things IT. The perfection of CIO-SP4 has not changed the one fundamental value every NITAAC team member upholds and that is our commitment to customer service. Customer service is not something we take for granted. We've geared our operations around your needs, so whether you are just beginning a solicitation and need help with research, or you’ve already placed a task or delivery order on one of our vehicles, NITAAC is committed to making sure you get answers faster, so you can keep your acquisitions and mission critical IT needs on tracks. This commitment to service is something we will continue through the close out of CIO-SP3 and the introduction of CIO-SP4. I invite you to experience our customer service firsthand. To obtain a complimentary, Technical Assessment of your Statements of Work, Statement of Objectives and Performance Work Statements, or to simply learn more about all the ways NITAAC can help you exceed your IT goals, contact our customer support team at NITAACsupport@nih.gov.
According to Bloomberg, information technology (IT) continues to be a large source of federal market growth, accounting for more than $76.4 billion dollars. Most of these dollars are typically spent through commodities, solutions, and services purchased from a myriad of companies operating within the United States. But, with so many vendors competing for federal dollars, how can government agencies ensure fair opportunity in government contracting? Before we answer this question, let’s first examine what fair opportunity is and why it is important. What is fair opportunity? The concept of fair opportunity is mandated by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 16.505(b). It is intended to level the playing field so that agencies cannot give an unfair advantage to one contractor over another. Fair opportunity is a mandatory requirement and is applicable to all federal agencies purchasing IT products and services when using a multiple-award contract. According to the (FAR) 16.505(b), fair opportunity must be exercised when a purchase exceeds the $10,000 micro-purchase threshold. When this happens, an agency must give every company that holds that contract an equal opportunity to respond to a request for proposal (RFP). Why is fair opportunity important? Encouraging competition has a myriad of benefits. Competitive contracting often results in lower overall costs for the government as contractors are more likely to submit more competitive bids to win the business. This results in lower direct public service costs and reduced internal costs. Additionally, competition opens the door for everyone to participate in contracting. According to a recent survey by Zippia, 70.6 percent of most government contractors are white. In 2021, only two percent of federal contracts were awarded to minority-owned firms. Although fair opportunity does not guarantee equity, it does ensure that every qualified offeror receives consideration. In fact, last year, the Biden administration set a goal of increasing the share of federal contracts going to small, disadvantaged businesses to 15 percent by 2023, a 50 percent increase from recent spending levels. This lofty goal has left many agencies wondering how they can achieve this goal. NITAAC can help. Ensuring fair opportunity in federal contracting Let’s face it. Most agencies do not have the time or manpower to sort through multiple contracts to ensure every eligible offeror is included. As a result, the federal government still struggles with ensuring parity in contracting. According to a January 2023 FedScoop article, the world’s largest software companies, received at least 25% to 30% of government sales over the last 10 years through less than fully competitive procurement processes. NITAAC has the solution for this problem. NITAAC has designed an electronic Government Ordering System (e-GOS) to ensure that fair opportunity is carried out correctly on every order. This web-based, secure system is fast and easy to use—allowing contracting professionals to walk through the entire solicitation process seamlessly. NITAAC’s commitment to fair opportunity does not stop there. Leveling the playing field NITAAC is committed to leveling the playing field for all contractors. In FY22, seven of the top ten performing CIO-SP3 Small Business contract holders were Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), 8(a) or Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone). NITAAC boasts one of the highest numbers of socioeconomic categories compared to most other GWACs. Agencies can award opportunities in a number of categories, including: 8(a) – 131 Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) - 22 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) - 53 Small Business (SB) - 311 Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) – 21 Agencies looking to get fair opportunity done right, need to look no further than NITAAC. The three NITAAC GWACs, CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-CS are multiple award IDIQ contracts for IT that can be used by any federal agency. Our Electronic Government Ordering System (e-GOS) takes the guess work out of fair opportunity and ensures that fair opportunity is carried out correctly on every order. To learn more, visit https://nitaac.nih.gov/resources/e-gos.
On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signed his first Executive Order (EO), EO 13985, which called for “a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” At NITAAC, we are committed to advancing equity across the Federal Government and strongly believe that by leveling the playing field for all socioeconomic groups, we create a federal contracting experience that benefits everyone. That was the spirit behind our CIO-SP3 ramp on. In support of EO 13985, the CIO-SP3 ramp on increased the number of Service-Disabled Veteran Businesses (SDVB), 8(a) and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) small businesses to ensure equal access to contracting opportunities. The ramp on added over 200 Small Business Contract Holders to the vehicle, including 40 SDVB, 20 HUBZone and 81 8(a) contractors. In fact, in FY22, of the top ten performing CIO-SP3 Small Business contract holders, seven were ramp on contractors. The top 10 contractors contributed to $1.7 billion of the dollars obligated. $1.2 billion of the obligated dollars came from ramp on contractors. As a result of the CIO-SP3 Small Business ramp on, the percentage of NITAAC Small Disadvantaged Businesses increased by 75%, with over 70% of our awarded contracts being spread out over small business/socioeconomic categories. 8(a) – 131 Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) - 22 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) - 53 Small Business (SB) - 311 Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) – 21 But our efforts have not stopped there. In support of EO 13779, which was designed to strengthen the capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to participate in federal programs, access federal resources, including grants and procurement opportunities, as well as available partnership opportunities with federal agencies, the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) solicitation allowed offerors to provide up to three examples of Information Technology projects that directly supported HBCU’s. Each example was worth 100 points with a maximum total of 300 points possible. The federal government’s goal in advancing equity provides everyone with the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are proud of the strides we have made to promote equity in federal contracting and take the President's orders to remove systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups, quite seriously.