Mar 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — A White House official on Friday appeared to leave open the possibility that American troops could remain in Afghanistan after President Obama leaves office, in what would be a marked shift from the administration’s insistence that only a small force based at the embassy in Kabul would remain after 2016.
With the Taliban insurgency still raging, the administration has been weighing options to slow the pullout of the roughly 10,000 American troops and thousands of contractors in Afghanistan. The number of troops was supposed to be cut by almost half at the end of this year, but officials have said in recent days that Mr. Obama was nearing a decision to keep much of the current force in place well into next year to continue training and advising Afghan forces.
While most officials have said that the 2016 deadline for a pullout remains firm, Jeff Eggers, a senior National Security Council official, said Friday that discussions about what to do in the next year or so would lead to a decision about what to do in 2017, “given the intent to maintain this ongoing dialogue” with the Afghan government.  Read Full Article

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Mar 18, 2015

The Army is moving hundreds of millions of dollars to the OASIS professional services governmentwide contract.
The Army and the General Services Administration signed a memorandum of understanding Monday with new incentives for the service to use OASIS.
 
The service is committing to spend $500 million a year on the OASIS professional services contract across five main areas — program management, consulting, science, financial services and logistics.
Harry Hallock, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement, said the goal is to minimize duplicative contracting efforts where the risk is low, while also increasing efficiencies.
 
But the real reason for committing so much money through OASIS is money.
 
Hallock said the Army will pay a fee of 0.1 percent instead of what other agencies pay to use OASIS, 0.75 percent, meaning the service will get a significant discount. The Army sends hundreds of millions of dollars annually to GSA in exchange for using their assortment of contracts. A reduced fee of 0.65 percent means the Army can use that money for mission-critical necessities.
 
"The first task orders have already come through. We already are using OASIS," Hallock said during a press briefing on the MOU at GSA headquarters in Washington. "What's nice about the arrangement we agreed upon is going back to Jan. 1, I think, those that already are done prior to the signing of the agreement as of Jan. 1 fall under the OASIS requirements. We are there. We're doing it. We're using it." Read Full Article.

Tags: Army Oasis Rfp Gsa
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Mar 9, 2015
Brian Seipel on Friday, March 6, 2015


The US government kicked the year off with plans to improve spend categorization in the federal marketplace. Leading high-spending agencies broke spend into 10 overarching categories to be led by subject experts. Procurement professionals in the private sector have long recognized the benefit of proper category management - but for any business that hasn't begun the process already, the federal spend categorization might make a good case study to follow.

A move towards private sector practices

Plenty in the private sector may do a double take at the idea of taking a cue from public sector strategies.  However, the government's new initiative parallels private categorization in a number of ways. First and foremost is the reason categorization is so important. Anne Rung, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and Tom Sharpe, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, summed up the issue simply: “Far too often, our acquisition professionals are making these purchases with very little insight into what their counterparts across the government are buying, who they are buying it from, what they are paying, and how they are buying it. In general, there is very little coordination and sharing of information and best practices across government. In fact, there is no single place a government contracting officer can go to find out important details regarding existing contract vehicles for any particular commodity area.” If these sound like familiar issues, it is because all businesses face these procurement challenges – even if spend in our own organizations is a bit below the federal mark of $400 billion. The goal of this categorization is to bring clarity and coordination to a disparate set of buyers and suppliers, just as it is in the private sector.

Another similarity is in the categories the government selected as key priorities. Here are three of the finalized 10 categories:

  • Technology – This category includes spend on software, hardware, and the consultants and outsourced work needed to manage both. Security and telecommunications spend also make the list in terms of crucial tech spend.
  • Professional Services – The most varied of the categories developed, professionals services runs the gamut from business administration to marketing and PR to financial services.
  • Facilities and Construction – Considering it encompasses everything from construction materials and services and the purchase and lease of federal facilities, it is easy to see why this category ranks as number one in terms of spend, weighing in at $72.1 billion.

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