It won’t go down in the annals of government contracting as one of the better years. But, compared to the stinkers we’ve had recently, 2014 was certainly an improvement.

This year brought about the first increase in government contract spending since 2010. And with the bipartisan budget agreement, it provided a greater degree of certainty that got agencies back to spending and companies back to growing.

Some companies experienced significant growth. In the 2013 fiscal year, UnitedHealth Group generated $1.4 billion in federal prime contracts. In fiscal 2014, it doubled that, generating nearly $3 billion — an impressive growth rate for any company, but especially impressive for a $1 billion-plus company.

Many agencies also fared well in terms of contract spending increases. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Small Business Administration and the State Department and Commerce Department all increased their contract spending by more than 20 percent.

Not all was rosy, however. Despite the partial undoing of the sequester, a number of agencies still reduced their contract spending in fiscal 2014. Some notable, and somewhat surprising, decliners were Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and the Agency for International Development, all with double digit decreases in contract spending versus 2013.

And while this Congress has been among the least productive in terms of passing legislation, it did pass full-year appropriations for all agencies except the Department of Homeland Security.

Next year is going to be interesting. With control of Congress changing parties, we will see if the change leads to an increase in compromise or more of the same contention that has afflicted federal politics the past several years.

Unfortunately, with the sequester back in play in 2016, a period of uncertainty appears all but, well, certain.

And what would a year in review be without a list of what’s in and what’s out for the coming year? Check out our take.

Kevin Plexico is vice president of information solutions for Herndon-based Deltek, a provider of software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors. For more information, go to

What’s In and What’s Out for 2015
In Out
Sequester debate for FY 2016 Bipartisan budget agreement
Executive orders Legislation (still)
Immigration reform Health-care reform
Civilian sector growth Peace dividend
General Services Administration “Hallways” Government-wide contract consolidation
“Cromnibus” Government shutdowns
GSA schedule consolidation GSA’s open office environment
Alliant 2 One acquisition solution for integrated services
Better Buying Power 3.0 Lowest price technically acceptable