The modernization of the federal government’s IT infrastructure and applications is an important priority for GSA. During my tenure as Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner, I’ve been fortunate to see IT modernization through three different vantage points: as an investor on the board of the Technology Modernization Fund, as a provider leading FAS on largely non-appropriated funds and ensuring we recover our costs, and as a consumer with FAS spending roughly 150 million dollars a year on improvements of our own FAS systems. The last vantage point is critically important. For FAS to serve other federal customers in the best way possible, we need to put quality tools in the hands of our workforce, industry partners, and federal buyers.
That’s why GSA’s CIO and FAS partnered to recently award 12 blanket purchase agreements on our Schedule for COMET, with four awards going to small businesses and the remaining eight to large businesses. COMET stands for CIO Modernization and Enterprise Transformation. These awards represent a big step forward for us in modernizing and simplifying the systems we use internally in the governmentwide acquisition of $50 billion in goods and services annually from more than 20,000 private-sector industry partners. Our goal was to introduce more competition and new industry perspectives while still retaining some deep experience with our current environment. The way we structured COMET will enable us to achieve this goal.
I hope that part of my legacy will be that I built on the strong foundation I inherited, and left the organization even stronger than I found it. My tagline is that if we take care of our people by putting the right tools in their hands, they’ll take care of the customer, and the results will follow.
COMET will allow us to put some great tools in the hands of our acquisition workforce. This is the contract vehicle we’ll use to enhance FAS’s enterprise-wide IT requirements. Through it we will execute on our promise to deliver a contract acquisition life-cycle management system and better manage the data in our catalog of offerings. We’ll also use COMET to modernize our fleet management and personal property management capabilities.
I depart feeling confident that COMET will help provide FAS with tools that match the quality of our people.