Contractors are bracing for tougher times in fiscal 2013, but the year may still hold some good news for those seeking work with the federal government.

According to a new report by Deltek, which analyzed the top 20 federal contract opportunities for the coming year, the number of new programs is actually set to increase.

Deltek is forecasting $92 billion in total contract value available in fiscal 2013, about $36 billion of which will come in the form of new opportunities.

Additionally, while the number and size of defense programs will be on the wane, the number and value of civilian programs is expected to increase.

Among the more notable opportunities are three government-wide acquisition contracts set to start in 2013.

Only three agencies are allowed to operate these sprawling contracting programs, which can then be used by all of the other agencies. All three — the General Services Administration, NASA and the National Institutes of Health — plan to start one this coming year.

The GSA plans to establish a $12 billion contract vehicle known as OASIS to provide professional services to government agencies, while the NIH and NASA each plan to compete follow-on contracts to programs they already have in place that will expire soon.

While there are opportunities in civilian agencies, vendors can expect a decline in both the size and the number of major defense contracting openings. In 2012, these types of contracts accounted for $139 billion of the $148 billion in the top 20; in 2013, the defense component is set to drop to $56 billion.

Overall, the forecast is not bright. The total value of the top 20 contracting opportunities in fiscal 2013 will drop 38 percent from the total of the 2012 list. It’s the lowest total value since Deltek started conducting its analysis in 2005.

Still, the combined value of the top 20 opportunities is $92 billion, a figure larger than the gross domestic product of two-thirds of the world’s countries.

Carey Webster is director of federal information services at Herndon-based Deltek, which conducts research on the government contracting market and can be found at