What Is a Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC)?

A government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) is a contract in which multiple government agencies align their needs and purchase a contract for goods or services. Government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) allow for economies of scale, which usually reduce per-unit costs.

These contracts are typically used to purchase new technology, such as computers. With a GWAC, the federal government can get innovative solutions for information technology systems at an improved cost to taxpayers footing the bill. This type of contract may be spearheaded by one particular agency with the expectation that more agencies will follow suit.

Key Takeaways

  • A government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) is a contract in which multiple government agencies purchase products or services together with the goal of paying lower costs.
  • GWACs are typically used to purchase new technology and are utilized primarily for information technology solutions.
  • GWACs are available through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the National Aeronautics Space Association (NASA), and the National Institute of Health (NIH).
  • GWACs have grown in popularity over the years when compared to single-agency contracts.

Understanding Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC)

The rise of government-wide acquisition contracts has allowed government agencies to take advantage of their size to negotiate lower prices. Their use has also created an environment in which a single vendor will provide product and service support to more personnel.

By having one agency evaluate a vendor for multiple agencies' needs, the federal government can reduce the likelihood that other agencies will have to "reinvent the wheel" by undertaking their own, separate vetting process.

According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the IT solutions that GWACs provide access to include systems design, software engineering, information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions.

In addition to GWACs under GSA, there are GWACs from NASA and the National Institute of Health (NIH). All of these entities allow for the government to procure a variety of contracts to obtain informational technology solutions at a low cost with a variety of tech companies that have been approved to participate.

A government-wide acquisition contract consolidates purchases as opposed to having each agency enter into an individual contract.

The GWAC Prices Paid Tool provides federal agencies with detailed information on how their IT dollars are spent on GSA GWACs. These tools help provide a realistic price analysis, negotiations, independent government cost estimates (IGCE), and aid in benchmarking competitive prices.

Government-wide agency contracts (GWACs) have become more popular in the last five years when compared to agency-specific contracts. In 2015, GWACs were 12% of spend and grew to 20% of spend in 2019. The primary reason for the growth is cost and convenience and GWACs are expected to continue growing in popularity.

Types of Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)

Stars II

The Stars II GWAC "offers access to highly qualified, certified 8(a) small disadvantaged businesses. The contract has a $22 billion program ceiling." This is offered through the GSA.

Vets 2

The VETS 2 GWAC is uniquely set aside for the exclusive use of Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). VETS 2 is designed to provide a series of information technology systems for the federal government, including new and emerging technologies. The contract program ceiling is $5 billion. Vets 2 is offered through the GSA.

Alliant 2 (A2)

The Alliant 2 GWAC provides IT solutions that can be purchased as a total package, covering hardware, software, and services.This is also offered through the GSA.

SEWP

NASA's GWACs are known as SEWPs (Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement). They provide the government with tablets, desktops, servers, IT peripherals, network equipment, storage systems, security tools, software products, cloud-based services, and more.

NITAAC

The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) operates through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). It offers GWACs through three separate programs: CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Businesses, and CIO-CS, which is focused on IT commodities.

How to Use a Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC)

Using a GWAC to buy IT solutions for a specific federal agency comes with a few steps, which are as follows:

  1. Attend Training
  2. Request Procurement Authority
  3. Issue the Task Order
  4. Request an Optional Scope Review
  5. Request an Optional Capabilities Statement
  6. Report Contract Actions
  7. Review Past Performance