Despite decreases in total federal spending since fiscal 2009, spending on task order-based contracts continues to rise.

In fiscal 2012, task order-based contracts — or those that typically require a contractor to win a spot on a larger program to pursue individual orders — accounted for 18 percent of agency spending and were comprised of:

38 percent agency-specific indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts.

18 percent General Services Administration schedule contracts.

7 percent government-wide acquisition contracts.

33 percent other task order contracts.

The Army alone accounted for one-quarter of all task-order contract spending that year. Task-order contracts at the Office of the Secretary of Defense increased 87 percent over what was reported just three years earlier.

Civilian agencies’ use of task orders has remained consistent since 2009. The departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services each accounted for more than 5 percent of task order spending in 2012.

The majority of GSA schedules saw decreases in spending from fiscal 2010 to 2012. The two with the most significant drops were Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services — which covers management and consulting services — and Schedule 70 — the buying plan for IT services — with $1.1 billion and $771 million spending decreases, respectively.

Legislation as well as recent initiatives have supported the increased use of task order contract vehicles, encouraging agencies to leverage the government’s enormous buying power.

Set-aside spending, or spending that is restricted to certain groups such as small businesses, on task-order contracts has increased year over year.

As spending on task order vehicles continues to increase, companies need to be aware of what’s next to remain competitive. The top three agency-specific contracting programs are all set to release new solicitations early next year:

Navy SeaPort-e

SeaPort-e is used by the Navy for systems engineering and advanced analysis technology support requirements. Deltek anticipates a solicitation in March. SeaPort-e has a ceiling value of $19.5 billion.

Army Strategic Services Sourcing 2nd Generation

S32G supports command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The contract has a ceiling value of $30 billion, and Deltek expects the solicitation’s release in April.

Army Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 3 Services

ITES-3S provides enterprise mission support services to the Army. The contract has a ceiling value of $25 billion, and Deltek expects the solicitation’s release in March.

Jennifer Sakole is principal research analyst at Herndon-based Deltek, which analyzes the government contracting market and can be found at