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GSA preparing RFP for disabled vets' GWAC.

GSA plans to release an RFP this spring for a government-wide acquisition contract that will be set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

The GWAC, known as Veterans Technology Services or VETS, will be worth up to $5 billion over 10 years. President Bush directed GSA to create the vehicle in an executive order last fall.

Awards will be made in two functional areas, covering information systems engineering and systems operation and maintenance, both of which will include IT security. GSA's pre-solicitation notice did not say how many contractors will be chosen for the vehicle. Awards are anticipated early next year.

A five-year base period with one five-year option is planned. GSA said it may establish an on-ramp/ open-season at the option period "if it is deemed to be in the Government's best interest."

Congress authorized sole-source and set-aside contracts for service-disabled veterans last year and the president's October executive order underscored the commitment to improve opportunities for those firms.

Congress several has set a goal of awarding 3% of prime contract dollars to SDVs, but agencies have never achieved even one-quarter of 1%.

Vietnam Veterans of America charged SBA has sabotaged the set-aside program with its interim rule, which applies the "rule of two" to SDV contracts: no sole-source contract is permitted if two or more qualified SDVs are available. In a letter to the administration's Acquisition Advisory Panel, the Vietnam Vets group said the rule violates the spirit of the law and of President Bush's executive order.

VVA also urged SBA to rewrite the rule to provide that contracting officers "shall" set aside work for SDVs if qualified companies are available, the same language that applies to 8(a) and HUBZone set-asides. The interim rule says contracts "may" be set aside for SDVs.

GSA's Small Business GWAC Center in Kansas City, Mo., will manage the VETS procurement. That office also manages GWACs set-aside for 8(a) and HUBZone firms.

A presolicitation conference will be held by webcast on March 22. More information is available at www.gsa.gov/vetsgwac.
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Title Annotation:General Services Administration; Request For Proposal
Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 4, 2005
Words:341
Previous Article:Justice department targets procurement fraud.
Next Article:Acquisition panel sets priorities.
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