Program Delays Raise Stakes for Contractors

Published: October 16, 2013

Contract AwardsGSADHSNASAStrategic Sourcing

Recent contracting trends reflect agency consolidation and cost savings goals. As a result, competitive stakes are raised for awards under large contract vehicles and government-wide programs. Delays associated with the government shutdown have compounded concerns and challenges for government contractors. Once the government reopens, there’s likely to be lag before contracted activities resume.

The Solutions for Enterprise Wide Procurement (SEWP) contract vehicle is one of several that have been delayed by this month’s government shutdown. Others include the General Service Administration’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract, valued at $60 billion, and the Department of Homeland Security’s continuous monitoring program.  On Thursday, October 10, 2013, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center issued a special notice regarding the SEWP contract vehicle. The fifth iteration of the SEWP contract vehicle has a ceiling value of $20 billion and a performance period of 10 years.  Issued to contractors and interested parties that have signed up for updates, the notice from the SEWP program office explained that:

Due to the Government shutdown, the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center has not completed its review process for the remaining questions and answers. Therefore, an update to the due date for SEWP V proposals will be released once the current Government shutdown is lifted. However, we anticipate the due date to be no earlier than November 1, 2013.
As previously noted: "The Contracting Officer will address the extension of the proposal submission due date, as part of the next amendment release."
NASA will be unable to respond to any individual emails or phone calls until the furlough has ended.

With federal agencies pursuing multiple award contracts and strategic sourcing, the delays have added further complications to government contractors coping with reduced spending levels, restructured programs, and increased competition.  Additional delays could be in store once the government reopens. For example, contracts that were impacted by ‘stop work’ orders will need to receive notice to ‘start work’ again. Program offices that planning for follow on contracts, like SEWP, will have to address work related to current orders as well as looking ahead to the next round of competition.