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GSA Chief Says Drone Solicitation Meant to Revert to Performance-Based Contracting

Emily Murphy



GSA Chief Says Drone Solicitation Meant to Revert to Performance-Based Contracting

Emily Murphy, the administrator at the General Services Administration and a 2020 Wash100 winner, said the agency’s latest solicitation for drone services is meant to bring performance-based contracting back to the government. 

The solicitation, called ASTRO, aims to place 10 multiple-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for “manned, unmanned and optionally manned platforms and robotics” that the Pentagon will use, Fedscoop reported Thursday.

The request is the first time GSA uses the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act Section 876 authority to award various contracts for services on a per hour rate basis while not taking into account the cost as an element at the contract level. 

During the ACT-IAC’s ELC 2020 virtual event held on Oct. 27, Murphy said ASTRO is giving the agency an opportunity to partner with companies on unmanned aerial vehicles. Identifying first the most qualified organizations to provide the service is a priority, she added.

“And then run a competition at the task order level, where we compete the hell out of it. We get the dollars down as low as we can at that point, but we’ve made sure we’re getting the high-quality work,” she said.

Murphy noted that GSA’s current pricing system wastes procurement officials’ time and resources. By the same token, the Department of the Defense, according to Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman, named 31 contracts for orange juice from two different suppliers within one agency as well as a commodity battery that is priced from 13 cents to $25 in contracts.

Conversely, performance-based contracting assisted Special Operations Command in introducing the latest radar systems, giving warfighters an enhanced battlefield view, three years in advance.

Murphy said the agency is working with the Federal Systems and Integration Management Center to make sure everything is in place. “But it gives us both control over this new approach so that we’re going to be able to see the results and be able to carefully manage it before we expand it,” she said.

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Tags: 2019 National Defense Authorization Act ASTRO Department of Defense DoD Emily Murphy Federal Systems and Integration Management Center FedScoop General Services Administration GSA Lisa Hershman Pentagon Popular Voices