IS FED-SLED COOPERATION THE NEXT BIG THING?
Federal leaders in both acquisition and IT are taking a fresh look at ways to cooperate with their state and local government colleagues. Officials from the Office of Management and Budget, GSA, and the IT community are among those looking for ways to better coordinate and share resources. GSA, of course, has long opened its Schedules program to state and local users under a variety of rules based on the items and services being purchased. While state and local leaders do use the Schedules to buy, not all do, and most look at the Schedule option as one of several when considering an acquisition plan. State leaders, especially, have been somewhat wary of potentially ceding control over acquisition decisions to the federal government. Still, there may be a broader understanding now that SLED officials have tools that the feds would like, creating better opportunities for two-way sharing. OMB, in particular, is looking at how state governments are using technology to streamline acquisition processes. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has made closer working arrangements with their federal counterparts a priority for about five years. That currently means working with federal IT leaders to better understand and harmonize disparate federal cybersecurity regulations. A coordinated cybersecurity approach at all levels of government makes sense. Information on threats can be more consistently shared and so, too, can solutions to those threats. Federal operations, for example, rely on a secure power grid. Such grids are often operated or overseen by local or state government agencies. The potential for increased cooperation across government lines presents opportunities and challenges for contractors. While the potential for an increased market seems to be the most obvious up-side, federal contractors need to look at rules that mandate the use of state or local businesses in some markets and need to understand that some officials at these levels of government are still wary of solutions “coming from Washington”. Partnering with state and local businesses may be a good way to enter such markets. Contractors should also be on the lookout for additional discussions of a potential new era of cooperation for specifics on how such actions could impact their business. See the article highlighting one aspect of this issue, here: https://www.globalgovernmentforum.com/increase-cooperation-between-all-levels-of-government-legislation-seeks-to-update-50-year-old-rules-on-us-federal-state-cooperation/