Contractors waiting for $10.5B NASA program

NASA is readying the latest version of a multibillion-dollar technology contract program that is a perennial favorite of government contractors.

The agency is nearing the expiration of the contracting program known as SEWP IV — pronounced “soup” and standing for Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement. The contract vehicle covers the purchase of technology products and services ranging from computers and storage devices to cloud computing and visualization solutions.

The fourth version of the contract, slated to end in May 2014, has already resulted in about $9.1 billion in contract awards to 38 prime contractors, said Christine Fritsch, a senior research analyst at Herndon-based Deltek, which analyzes the government contracting market.

Now, the agency is looking to SEWP V, which Deltek expects to be similarly large, said Fritsch. Though NASA has yet to reveal many of the program’s details, Deltek estimates that the new vehicle will likely be worth at least $10.5 billion over seven years. Fritsch said Deltek anticipates a solicitation release in May — and a draft even sooner.

In a statement, NASA said “the only set date for a follow-on process is the goal to have the SEWP V contracts awarded by May 2014.”

Still, Fritsch said anticipation is already high. Nearly 290 Deltek users have marked the program of interest.

Beyond the dollar value, part of contractors’ excitement is related to the number of other agencies that make purchases under the contract program.

NASA runs the program, but issues a relatively small amount of the orders; Fritsch said NASA work has represented just 5 percent of the total work awarded under SEWP IV.

Instead, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been the heaviest user of the fourth version of the program, representing 27 percent of the awarded work. The Defense Department is also a frequent buyer under SEWP IV, according to Fritsch.

“SEWP has always been popular across government and across contractors,” she said. “NASA handles [the program] very well, so government really likes using SEWP for its services.”

She said Deltek also anticipates some portion of the work being set aside for small business. Of the 38 program incumbents, 21 are small businesses, Fritsch said.

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