The ability to identify and leverage viable partnerships is an extremely important capability in government contracting under normal circumstances. Those who do it well reap benefits, especially during the times when a budget is being debated and agencies are forced to operate under special conditions like a ‘continuing resolution’ (‘CR’).
Since it appears Congress has skirted a government shutdown for now, I thought it would be interesting to look at federal procurement activity when Uncle Sam operates under ‘continuing resolution‘ legislation. After all, that looks to be how we’ll be doing business until December 11th unless Congress decides to do their job and pass a budget. Once you see a breakdown of what occurred during the October 16, 2013 to January 15, 2014 continuing resolution, I think you’ll understand the square dance reference.
Spending During the FY2014 Continuing Resolution
During the ‘CR’ that lasted from October 16th to January 15th (2014), sixty-one (61) federal agencies, boards and commissions made obligations totaling $87,866,219,025.44 according to the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation or FPDS-NG. The top five contracting departments by spending were:
- Department of Defense
- Department of Energy
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Department of Health and Human Services
These organizations accounted for $74 billion of the spend during this period.
Small Business Contracting
Small federal contractors fared okay under the last continuing resolution netting roughly seventeen percent of the total spend or $14.7 billion. This represents total dollars to small business and includes obligations resulting from set-asides, full and open competition and sole source.
The majority of the obligations, $57 billion to be precise, were the result of competitive buys. While this would ordinarily be good news representing more opportunity, the upcoming section on ‘modifications’ will reveal why it ain’t so much good news in this case.
Contract vs. Contract Vehicle
When those sixty-one agencies made buys during the 2014 continuing resolution, there was a fifty/fifty split in obligations made to standalone or non-IDV contracts and contract vehicles such as the GSA Schedule and IDIQs.
When agencies made obligations:
- by issuing a delivery or task order to Basic Ordering Agreement, it amounted to $1.8 billion
- by issuing a BPA Call against a Blanket Purchase Agreement, they spent $1.8 billion
- by placing orders against a Federal Supply Schedule or GSA/BPA, the total was $3.3 billion
- issuing a Definitive Contract (which is not an order against an IDV), they spent $44.8 billion
- placing orders against Government Wide Acquisition Contracts, it came to $1 billion
- using delivery orders and task orders to make buys against Indefinite Delivery Contracts such as IDIQs, the total was $31.5 billion
- using a Purchase Order (also not an order against an IDV), they spent $2.5 billion
Seriously! Grab Your Partner(s) and Don’t Let Go!
To put all of this in perspective, over $58 billion of the obligations made during this period were the result of a modification to an existing contract, contract vehicle, BPA Call, delivery order or task order. Here are the ‘Reason for Modification’ highlights:
- ADDITIONAL WORK (NEW AGREEMENT,FAR PART 6 APPLIES) $2,207,224,659.66
- CHANGE ORDER $1,876,880,726.37
- DEFINITIZE CHANGE ORDER $1,007,641,218.34
- EXERCISE AN OPTION $8,865,963,247.05
- FUNDING ONLY ACTION $34,892,580,187.70
- OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION $2,775,380,298.35
- SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT FOR WORK WITHIN SCOPE $6,595,258,028.03
Add an additional $10 billion in non-competitive awards and what’s left is less than $20 billion or roughly 23% of the total spend that resulted from competitive initial awards versus modifications and non-competed buys.
Get the picture?
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”