Merging FAS and TTS for the future

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.

Last week, the General Services Administration announced the merging of the Technology Transformation Service into the Federal Acquisition Service. Created in May 2016, TTS’ mission is to transform of “the way government builds, buys, and shares technology.”

TTS serves as a center of digital excellence, deploying a cadre of subject-matter experts to support customer agency IT modernization/digital transformation initiatives. The TTS mission directly supports GSA’s continuing efforts to “better deliver on our mission to provide the best value in real estate, acquisition and technology to government and the American people.”

The merging of TTS into FAS is a positive, strategic step for GSA. It has the potential to be a game-changer. The move combines FAS and TTS resources to leverage efficiently and effectively technical, program management and procurement expertise to deliver best-value support for customer agencies. At the same time, it provides TTS with a sound, holistic, organizational/budgetary framework to support agencies seeking to modernize their IT infrastructures.

Fundamentally, the combination of acquisition and digital expertise into a single organization comes at a time when the combination of such expertise is needed to support government operations. We face rapid technological/digital change — change that is impacting the procurement system on a daily basis. For example, next week will mark the launch of the Department of Defense’s FedMall website that includes a FedMall MarketPlace that will offer a new dynamic pricing model and streamlined application process that provides access to the commercial market for DoD contracting officers. The government is just scratching the surface of digital transformation, and thus, the combined capabilities of FAS’ acquisition corps (think FEDSIM, for example). Now as part of FAS, TTS’ technologists can lead the reinvention of government-wide acquisition.

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Significantly, among the missions assigned to TTS at its creation, was “[l]eading GSA in incubating new contracting vehicles to procure emerging technology products and services where technical expertise is needed. Incubation will be done in coordination with FAS, and all government-wide procurements vehicles housed in FAS.” This statement is from the original GSA order creating TTS. The merger of FAS and TTS aligns with this statement, creating a powerful opportunity to create more open, flexible and innovative contract vehicles that allow customer agencies access to the latest commercial digital and information technology.

For example, modernizing the Multiple Award Schedule program to leverage best commercial best practices and access to the market is fundamental to FAS delivering best-value to customer agencies. As part of FAS, TTS can lead the digital transformation/modernization of GSA Advantage, e-Buy, and the Acquisition Gateway, moving these systems to a dynamic pricing model and greater access to the commercial marketplace. Moreover, TTS can further lead efforts to enhance these portals to support the Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program, thereby bringing timely and efficient acquisition of commercial medical products and services for veterans.

The future-forward combination of FAS and TSS is a bold first step on the path to innovation renewal. Coalition members stand ready to work with the newly structured FAS to identify and adopt commercial best practices and innovative procurement approaches that deliver best value products, services and solutions to customer agencies and the American people.

The future is now.


Roger Waldron is the president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, and host of Off the Shelf on Federal News Radio.