Does federal acquisition reside solely under the General Services Administration umbrella? No. But GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth makes a strong case for why it should.

You might describe federal buying as cyclical: GSA take on the bulk, but the amount that agencies go it alone will wax and wane, depending on the nature of the buys, available vehicles and the budget environment. The last decade has seen a swell of agency-specific contracts.

"That's not efficient for government," Roth said in a one-on-one interview with Federal Times, acknowledging the trend pushed GSA to re-evaluate its offerings. The result: "You will see more agencies being willing to give up their contracts to come to our solutions."

That's not to say that agencies have no role in their own acquisitions. Ideally, managers responsible for certain spend should be strategically distributed across government, supporting acquisitions in both the formation of requirements and ultimate rollout of programs.

Roth pointed to the credit monitoring vehicle that rolled out recently, which provides agencies with the ability to purchase credit monitoring services in the wake of a breach. That involved three agencies, GSA, Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense, working together to scope out that contract.

"But the majority of spending does come through GSA," Roth noted. "Sometimes it is cultural [for agencies] in terms of now wanting to give up ownership. But we see agencies wondering, why do they do this work? Their mission is housing, building spaceships, something other than providing for contracts."

Check back to in coming weeks for more from our one-on-one interview with GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.

Jill Aitoro is editor of Defense News. She is also executive editor of Sightline Media's Business-to-Government group, including Defense News, C4ISRNET, Federal Times and Fifth Domain. She brings over 15 years’ experience in editing and reporting on defense and federal programs, policy, procurement, and technology.

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