U.S. Government Poised To Award ‘Commercial Platforms’ Contracts That Will Open Online Marketplaces To Federal Purchasers

I was recently involved in a research discussion with Chris Yukins of George Washington University’s Law School’s Government Procurement Program, and Thomas Kull from Arizona State University, exploring the impact of the rise of electronic marketplaces in government procurement. In the Thomson Reuters publication “The Government Contractor,” we review some key changes coming to government acquisition. Electronic marketplaces are a massive change for agencies such as the General Services Administration, who are poised to award contracts to commercial companies that host “electronic marketplaces” online (at sites such as Amazon.com and Walmart.com). This “commercial platforms” initiative could radically reshape Government procurement in goods and services, as federal users will be able to make direct “micro-purchases” (typically up to $10,000) directly from these commercial platforms. Up until now, government has always required the “three bids and a buy” mentality, and this will make a gargantuan change in the annals of government acquisition.

This commentary provides some important insights about the implications for government acquisition when it comes to moving to e-platforms, both in terms of the advantages and risks involved. The insights from Chris and Thomas are important for legislators to consider going forward.

Click here to read the full study.