Hosted by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS), shared services acquisition office is developing a contract vehicle for emerging technologies that the agency hopes it will be able to compete with other massive contracts in the Government-Wide Acquisition Contract space (GWAC). The agency’s Program Support Center is in the process of soliciting bids for its latest IAAI contract (Intelligence Automation/Artificial Intelligence), where HHS anticipated that it will reach to USD49 million over the next five years.
The contract, initially, will be available to HHS components seeking cutting-edge technologies. But program officials have much larger designs for the vehicle. In the statement, Lori Ruderman, leader of the HHS Buy Smarter initiative and a senior advisor at the Program Support Center stated that her team is hoping to get a very huge number of vendors who can offer that catalog of services, not just for him at Buy Smarter, but the contract is designed so they can purchase and scale across HHS and government-wide potentially. Ruderman further added that this is a foundational contract, and her team wants to set up a GWAC, a much larger vehicle. She also highlighted that the Support Center plans to go slow at first to make sure they have performed out all the kinks before going government-wide. Apart from the GSA (General Service Administration), which has several GWACs to offer acquisition services to the entire government, there are only two major civilian GWAC programs- NASA’s Solutions for Enterprisewide Procurement (SEWP) and the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC). NITAAC that comprises three contract vehicle CIO-CS, CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business, has carved out space in the GWAC world by providing products and services with health IT bent, assisting it vies with the wide array of offerings from GSA and the large number of vendors on SEWP.
However, Ruderman said that the GWAC envisioned by the Program Support Center would not be angling for NITAAC’s space. In its place, its vehicle will lean on competing by offering access to the emerging cutting-edge technologies. Bids were initially due Wednesday, but the deadline was extended to 8th February, announced last week.