The Basics: Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)

Monday, January 2, 2023

The Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is a part of the General Services Administration (GSA) alongside the Public Buildings Service (PBS). FAS’ use the collective buying power of the government to assist agencies in procuring efficacious goods and services, enabling them to deliver their missions. Since FAS is involved in so much of the federal acquisition process, its operations and success are crucial for the current administration and the government contracting ecosystem at large.

FAS plays a pivotal role in executing much of the federal government’s mission, shaping the acquisition of critical products that directly impact the American public. Furthermore, they assist state, local, and overhaulinoverhauling and reshapingaping of vital needs and systems like disaster purchasing to student debt relief  – touching virtually every corner of the United States.

History, Mission, and Organization

In October 2006, President George W. Bush established FAS’s organizational design through the General Services Administration Modernization Act (H.R. 2066). This act authorized the creation of FAS by merging the Federal Supply Service (FSS), Federal Technology Service (FTS), and the Federal Telecommunication Service business lines. It established a new, single GSA fund out of two to streamline acquisitions for GSA customers—the Acquisition Services Fund. A second GSA Order in December 2006 established FAS regional structures.

Today FAS’ primary mission is to modernize and simplify the buying and selling process for agencies, acquisition professionals, and suppliers through six main business areas listed below. 

  1. General Supplies and Services (GS&S)
  2. Travel, Transportation, and Logistics (TTL)
  3. Information Technology Category (ITC)
  4. Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS)
  5. Professional Services and Human Capital
  6. Technology Transformation Services (TTS)

FAS has a national office and 11 Regional Offices, headed by the Commissioner and the rest of the FAS National Office Leadership Team. Each Regional Office and the central Offices described below are led by a Regional or Assistant Commissioner. 

The FAS organization has the following program areas:

Regional Offices

Each Regional Office is led by a Regional Commissioner and is typically divided into three divisions: AAS, Customer and Stakeholder Engagement (CaSE), and Personal Property Management (PPM) Zone. Below is an organization chart of FAS Pacific Rim Region (R9) to demonstrate how a FAS regional office is organized.

FAS R9 provides products, services, and solutions to Federal, State, and Local agencies in Arizona (AZ), California (CA), Hawaii (HI), and Nevada (NV) and overseas in U.S. territories and military bases across the pacific rim employing 90 professionals and managing a $17.2M annual budget. In summary, FAS R9 is responsible for the following:

  • 11 time zones
  • 99 military bases 
  • 440+ Contracting Offices

FAS in Action

Partnerships for Innovative Solutions

FAS is working with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to “white glove handhold” emerging tech companies with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards into the Schedules and onto first contracts. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishes a framework for FAS to transition successfully-prototyped DIU technology solutions to GSA contract vehicles.

Transaction Data Reporting (TDR)

FAS has received criticism for its pricing analysis on MAS. The Office of Inspector General has recommended that FAS cancel the Transaction Data Reporting pilot program for the second year in a row because it cannot guarantee that its contract pricing tool will result in the lowest overall cost alternative. By not having contractors report commercial pricing information, the objective of the program has become solely about ensuring the price is relatively competitive with other government contract prices, instead of obtaining the seller’s preferred pricing. Commercial pricing disclosures were also found to be inaccurate and outdated on all contracts that required it. 

Customer Experience

FAS Commissioner, Sony Hashmi, is pushing FAS to do better regarding delivery times for products and services. At an FCW event in October, Hashmi said that FAS has already boosted meeting its delivery time objectives to about 80% of the time – up from a previous level closer to the 50% range. A majority of these initiatives are outlined and pushed through the Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy

DUNS to UEI

Earlier this year, FAS completed a major technology modernization project as it transitioned from DUNS to UEI. The government’s move away from DUNS numbers will end a 40-plus-year relationship with Dun & Bradstreet. 

Green Procurement Compilation

FAS organizes information from multiple federal environmental programs onto one website to help buyers identify federal green purchasing requirements for products and services. This green purchasing resource houses all product types covered by mandatory and non-mandatory federal environmental programs. It has information about federal environmental programs and optional environmental programs to meet sustainability goals. It includes products that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or other agencies have determined to be environmentally preferable or energy-saving. Additionally, the Green Procurement Compilation offers sample green solicitation language and examples. 

Identity Solutions

FAS is leading the effort to increase the adoption of GSA-Sponsored Identity Solutions, specifically Login.gov. FAS hopes to increase the number of agencies using at least one GSA identity management solution from 27 to 33 agencies, increase the number of annual active users on Login.gov from 16M to 41M, and expand the number of identity vendors and government data source providers utilized on the platform from 2 to 4. 

Contract Procurement and Acquisition

FAS is funded primarily through the Acquisition Services Fund (ASF), the Federal Citizen Services Fund, and the Operating Expenses appropriation. ASF is a revolving fund comprised of the reimbursable revenue generated by its business portfolios, as opposed to a Congressional appropriation. ASF obligations and outlays are mainly initiated by contracts awarded to commercial vendors providing goods and services for ASF portfolios. 

ASF operations are divided into seven business portfolios: 

  1. General Supplies and Services (GS&S)
  2. Travel, Transportation, and Logistics (TTL)
  3. Information Technology Category (ITC)
  4. Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS)
  5. Professional Services and Human Capital (PSHSC)
  6. Office of Systems Management (OSM)
  7. Technology Transformation Services (TTS)

Net revenues from operations are put into the GSA Fleet, IT systems, and other programs that improve FAS service levels, and compliance with regulations and statutes. This net revenue is calculated after subtracting the costs of goods and services sold and the cost of operations.

In FY21, FAS helped government agencies navigate their 31M offerings and acquire $84B in goods and services. Top federal agencies that buy through GSA are the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

As the federal government’s purchasing agent, GSA connects federal purchasers with commercial products and services. This means that GSA serves as the contracting agent or authority, not the funding agency, or that funding agencies can buy what they need through any of GSA’s purchasing programs outlined below. It is important to note that while GSA leverages its purchasing programs to assist other federal agencies, FAS also utilizes these programs to acquire its services, products, and solutions.

  • Commercial Platforms: The Commercial Platforms program provides GSA SmartPay® Purchase Card (GPC) holders access to multiple online platforms to purchase routine commercial products.
  • Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI): Current FSSI commodity solutions include Building Maintenance and Operations (BMO), Maintenance Repair Facility Supplies, Wireless FSSI, and Office Supplies. 
  • Requisition Programs: Requisition is a simple method for agencies to acquire a broad range of products, supplies, and equipment directly from GSA. Solutions include GSA Global Supply, GSA Retail Operations, and Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPRs).
  • SmartPay Card Services: The GSA SmartPay Program is the world’s most extensive commercial payment solution program, providing services to more than 560 Federal agencies, organizations, and Native American tribal governments. Government account holders utilize the program for retail goods and services, travel and travel-related expenses, and fleet expenses. 
  • Emergency Acquisition Basic Ordering Agreements (BOA): GSA’s Office of Acquisition Operations (QMA) has agreed with federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the rapid procurement and delivery of commercial supplies and services both in anticipation of and response to emergencies. 
  • Multiple Award Contracts (MACs): GSA uses MACs to purchase various products and services. MACs can be used governmentwide. GSA MACs include One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) and OASIS Small Business (SB), Human Capital and Training Services (HCaTS) and HCaTS SB, and Building and Maintenance Operations (BMO).  
  • Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs): GSA uses GWACs to purchase information technology (IT) services, products, and equipment. GSA GWACs include Alliant 2 (A2), 8(a) STARS III, and VETS 2. 
  • GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) (or GSA Schedules): Under the MAS Program, GSA issues long-term governmentwide contracts that provide federal, state, and local government buyers access to commercial products, services, and solutions at pre-negotiated pricing. Over 25 million supplies and services are sold through GSA MAS annually, with over 16,000 scheduled contracts with $48 billion in annual spending. These services are sold through GSA eLibrary

As for direct services that FAS buys in support of GSA’s internal initiatives, products and services include:

  • Architecture and Engineering
  • Design and Construction
  • Facilities Maintenance & Management
  • Fleet and Automotive
  • Leasing
  • Green / Energy
  • Information Technology
  • Retail Services
  • Childcare
  • Realty Services
  • Real Estate Services
  • Real Property Disposal
  • Travel

Recent Contracts

Below are examples of recent contracts FAS has awarded as a funding agency. It is important to note that these are not contracts that FAS has awarded in assistance to external agencies. 

  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) BPA: In May 2022, FAS issued 16 contract awards to assist federal customers in electrifying their vehicle fleets. This BPA includes over 1,165 EVSE products. 
  • Governance Development Support: In September 2021, FAS issued a $225K contract award to Censeo Consulting Group Inc. to support FAS training governance development. 
  • IT Category Program Management and IT SME Support BPA: In December 2020, FAS issued 7 contract awards for the ITC SME PMO Support BPA valued at $57M. Awardees include Management Science and Innovation Inc., Sonora & Associates LLC, Ward Eng. Support Services Inc., Etelligent Group LLC, Nish Consulting Inc., Barrow Wise Consulting LLC, and Java Productions Inc. Under this 5-year BPA, the largest task order to be awarded so far is for HSPD-12 Managed Service Office (MSO) integration, operational, and administrative support valued at $5M. 

Spending Trends

It is important to note that the following statistics and spending trends information presented below are solely focused on internal FAS initiatives and do not cover where FAS has awarded assistance to external agencies.

Over the past five fiscal years, FAS has spent $12.3B in support of its internal initiatives with an average of 22% in Year-over-Year (YOY) growth. The majority of FAS contract work takes place in Michigan. 

Top 10 U.S. Federal Contractors (FY17-FY21):

  1. Ford Motor Co. 
  2. FCA US LLC 
  3. General Motors LLC 
  4. W.W. Grainger, Inc. 
  5. Fleet Vehicle Source, Inc.
  6. Office Depot, LLC 
  7. Noble Supply & Logistics, LLC 
  8. Navistar, Inc. 
  9. EAN Holdings, LLC 
  10. Truck Country of Wisconsin, Inc. 

The most popular PSC is Passenger Motor Vehicles, and the most commonly used NAICS Code is 336111, Automobile Manufacturing. These categories receive, by far, the most dollars. 

Top 10 PSC Codes (FY17-FY21):

  1. 2310 – Passenger Motor Vehicles
  2. 2320 – Trucks and Truck Tractors, Wheeled
  3. 5120 – Hand Tools, Nonedged, Nonpowered 
  4. 7510 – Office Supplies 
  5. D399 – IT and Telecom – Other IT and Communications 
  6. D302 – IT and Telecom – Systems Development 
  7. W023 – Lease or Rental of Equipment – Ground Effect Vehicles, Motor Vehicles, Trailers, and Cycles 
  8. R499 – Support – Professional: Other 
  9. 7110 – Office Furniture 
  10. R408 – Support – Professional: Program Management/Support 

Top 10 NAICS Codes (FY17-FY21): 

  1. 336111 – Automobile Manufacturing 
  2. 336112 – Light Truck and Utility Vehicle Manufacturing 
  3. 541512 – Computer Systems Design Services
  4. 336120 – Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturing
  5. 444110 – Home Centers 
  6. 336211 – Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing 
  7. 444130 – Hardware Stores 
  8. 541519 – Other Computer-Related Services 
  9. 541511 – Custom Computer Programming Services
  10. 453210 – Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 

Not surprisingly, the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) is FAS’ preferred vehicle. 

Favorite Vehicles (FY17-FY21):

  1. Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) 
  2. 2020 Light Vehicles – AutoChoice 
  3. GSA Automotive Light Vehicles 
  4. Alliant 
  5. 2020 Medium & Heavy Duty Trucks and Wreckers & Carriers Program – Autochoice 
  6. The Professional Services Schedule (PSS) 
  7. GSA Main Bus Program 2017 
  8. Information Technology Schedule 70 (IT-70)
  9. Hardware Superstore (FSS-51-V)
  10. Office Products, Supplies Services and Technology (FSS-75) 

FAS in 2023 and Beyond

In GSA’s FY22-FY26 Strategic Plan, FAS is a leading office for ensuring GSA’s portfolio of offerings meets market demand for products, services, and solutions and the desired acquisition approaches; and assists the administration in meeting a majority of its goals.

FAS connects to several of the current administration’s priorities and is always on its radar. Making it easier for small businesses to succeed, promoting sustainability, increasing government transparency, saving taxpayer money, and increasing efficiency are all FAS goals that align with the current administration. 

In GSA’s FY23 Congressional Justification, FAS seeks to address two primary areas: 

1. Consolidate FAS’ acquisition vehicles to improve the federal marketplace.

The Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy is GSA’s plan to modernize the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and acquisition professionals alike. It began as four projects: 

  • MAS Consolidations
  • Catalog Management
  • Commercial Platforms
  • Contract Acquisition Life-cycle Management (CALM) system

Some of FMP’s recent improvements include updating the MAS Roadmap to include instructions and templates for prospective suppliers looking to get on GSA schedules; adding a checklist and self-help modules for buyers building an acquisition package; offering an online application for the VPP; and adding status indicators on GSA Advantage to let customers know if a product has limited or no stock instead of supply chain disruptions.

2. Address climate change by investing in zero-emission vehicles and continue incorporating sustainability and climate risk management into the acquisition process.

FAS is currently involved in GSA’s Environmental Justice Working Group (EJWB) and is investing in the federal government’s capacity to manage climate change risks by 2025. Since FAS heavily supports agency demands for products and services that pose climate risks, FAS is working to develop a decision diagram detailing where climate risk management needs to be considered during the acquisition process. The audience for this diagram will be the GSA acquisition workforce, and this will become a part of GSA’s overall climate literacy efforts. Furthermore, the FAS Commissioner addresses the climate crisis through zero-emission fleet vehicles at GSA. 

As covered in FAS in Action above, FAS always tackles multiple initiatives that cover much ground. Other movements in the fiscal years to come to include:

  • Emerging Technology: ITC is developing an Emerging Technology strategy that aims to position GSA as a leader in enabling agencies to raise awareness of and more readily utilize emerging technologies. ITC will do so by looking at data on leading-edge technologies from proposals submitted during the solicitation period. It is also considering Other Transaction Authority (OTA) utilization. 
  • Payment Audits: The Personal Property Utilization and Donation Program request $10.75M, a $1.33M increase from FY22. The Transportation Audits program, within the TTL portfolio, requests $12.05M to focus on prepayment oversight and post-payment audits of government-wide transportation bills and recoveries of overcharges.
  • Expand Organizational Capabilities. FAS is working to develop new organizational capabilities to understand customer demand and deliver integrated offerings to support collaborative business processes Government-wide. 
  • Technology Modernization. As mentioned above, FAS is working to increase government-wide adoption of shared technology solutions that improve digital governance, sharing, security, and interoperability.

Researched and authored by Haley Boulanger, Pulse Analyst.

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