This week, the Department of Defense announced the results of its strategic review and outlined its vision for the future. At the same time all across government, departments and agencies are also facing strategic, long range decisions on how to accomplish their missions efficiently and effectively in time of severe fiscal stress. As we tackle the challenges of the federal budget, GSA’s mission as the central purchasing arm of the government will become even more critical to the success of our procurement system. It is an opportunity as well as a responsibility for GSA and its workforce. Increasingly, agencies are turning to GSA for help in acquisition planning and execution. Agencies see an opportunity to leverage GSA’s acquisition workforce and contracts to meet their needs. Agency customers are also asking GSA for help in understanding their purchasing profiles–what and how much they are buying and through which contract vehicles.

GSA is well positioned to support its customers. GSA’s portfolio of contracts and programs (Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), GWACs, other IDIQ contracts and supply programs) can efficiently and effectively meet agency requirements, reduce contract duplication while providing business opportunities that deliver best value for the government, the taxpayer and contractors. In particular, GSA’s commercial item contracting leadership through the MAS program can be the lynchpin in providing savings and value for customer agencies.

As GSA’s leadership continues to work with its customers to meet their needs, the Coalition looks forward to working with GSA in ensuring its programs provide sound, effective and efficient best value solutions. For example, as GSA contemplates the next generation of the MAS program, the Coalition is prepared to engage in a thoughtful, comprehensive dialogue. In fact, this month the Coalition will be holding the first meeting of our Pricing Working Group (PWG). The PWG will develop a comprehensive set of recommendations with supporting rationale for reform of the outdated MAS pricing policies and procedures. The impetus for the PWG grew out of our 2011 Fall Conference. During the Fall Conference’s panel discussion entitled “Current MAS Pricing Practices, Policies and Audits: Compliance Risks and Rewards” the recommendation was made for a Coalition “Pricing Working Group” modeled on the “ODC Working Group.” The consensus of the panel and the audience was that a “Pricing Working Group” would play a very positive role in addressing the outdated regulatory framework for the negotiation of MAS prices. We look forward to working with GSA on this important issue.

Finally, on another note, I am pleased to announce the launch of our updated website. Thank you to Melissa King and all the Coalition staff for their hard work. We are not done, additional improvements and refinements to our web capabilities will continue over the coming months.