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This is part three of three in the GovTribe series on the General Services Administration (GSA) Alliant vehicle. For more intel, check out the other posts in the series.

Similar to my last post on Homeland Security's Eagle II IDIQ, today I'm beginning a short series on GSA Alliant. GovTribe is rolling out some cool new features for our subscribers related to government spending. This includes important information on limited competition vehicles like GWACs, IDIQs, and BPAs. One of the largest and most interesting of these is Alliant – GSA's flagship, $50 billion governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) for IT solutions. It's a big one with lots to unpack, so I'm going to cover it over three blog posts.

Alliant has been around for a little over 5 years and is currently held by 57 large companies. (There is a separate, small business Alliant vehicle that I will get into in part 3.) Since its kickoff in April, 2009, about $8 billion has been obligated against Alliant task order contracts. The total award ceiling for that same period is about $20 billion. Alliant's base period expired in April, 2014, but it was recently renewed through 2019.

The timeline of obligations and awards highlights a clear trend. Within about a year of its launch agencies began using Alliant to make very large task order awards with performance periods spanning multiple years. The sustained spread between total award value and dollars obligated is important. The real world explanation is that a large number of Alliant task orders are very large programs that front-load huge award ceilings that may or may not be spent over subsequent fiscal years.

The next two charts show this in more detail.

The chart above shows the number of task orders awarded per year. The highest volume is in 2014, which isn't surprising since there was a possibility that Alliant would expire last year. Note that the number of task orders with performance periods of at least five years was a much higher percentage of total task orders awarded for some years.

Average award values reinforce this picture. Fiscal year 2011 had the highest average task order award value, and also the largest number of 5+ year contracts. In that year, the top three task orders alone had award ceilings totaling over $4.5 billion.

This is an interesting and important trend for companies to understand if they wish to compete for IT solutions contracts. Especially for those companies that aren't on Alliant and only hear about task orders after they've been awarded. If you've noticed a dearth of IT contract opportunities coming out of State and DHS over the last four years, you may be looking in the wrong place. At the moment, the biggest opportunities for IT work at these agencies may be through the prime contractors sitting on these monster task order contracts.

Let's look at the Department of State Vanguard program. SAIC has 61 subcontractors, and subcontractor awards total about $306 million38% of the $800 million obligated against Vanguard to-date. Here's a list of the top subs.

Three of the top ten subcontractors - Segovia, Pro-Telligent, and Iron Bow – are not GSA Alliant prime contract-holders. There are also several small businesses that grabbed a few million. Copper River Information Technology, for instance, was awarded a $2.1 million subcontract in 2014, despite not holding the small business Aliiant vehicle.

To be clear, I am making no judgments about the way Alliant is being used, or about the various procurement options available to the government in general. There are costs and benefits to both full-and-open procurements and limited competition vehicle awards. It is important, however, for the companies competing (or hoping to compete) in this space to understand what is going on, and why.

In this case, agencies seem to be awarding broadly-scoped task orders with very high ceilings and a long performance periods. In the case of Department of State, this means a significant amount of IT work is effectively locked up by SAIC and its subcontractors until 2020. However, considering the low probability that the team with which SAIC started will remain in tact for five more years, there are likely opportunities to subcontract.

And this is true across several agencies and contracts. To-date, only 38% of total award values across Alliant have been obligated. Not even a year in to Alliant's five-year extension, and there is already $12 billion on the table, out there waiting to be spent on active task orders. In fact, in addition to awarding a high volume of smaller task orders under threat vehicle expiration in FY 2014, agencies modified several active contracts to add more money. Alliant task orders awarded between 2009 and 2013 saw a collective ceiling increase of over $1 billion in FY 2014!

More to come on this. Stay tuned for the next post in our mini-series on Alliant where I break down how agencies are using this GWAC and look at the vendors who are winning the most work.

In the meantime, check out GovTribe website and app so you never miss another opportunity. And if you'd like GovTribe to do some analysis on your segment of the federal government market, you can contact us at or submit a request here. You can also feel free to contact us with your thoughts on any of our products.

Want more?

Still have Alliant questions? There was too much to get to in the blog, but our full report on Alliant is now available to GovTribe subscribers. Sign up today with an annual or monthly subscription and receive a PDF of a complete report on the Alliant GWAC as our welcome gift.

Additional content in the full report includes a full deep-dive in to defense agency contracts, extended agency and vendor details, seasonality analysis, contracting pricing structure evaluation, and more.

If you have any other questions or comments you can also send me a note.

You can also check out parts 2 and 3 of our Alliant blog series.