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Chris Hamm, director of GSA FEDSIM, discusses the Commercial Solutions Opening program, and how it could makes buying high tech solutions easier across government.

To acquire the latest and greatest technology, agencies are looking to skirt the regulations surrounding procurements. Much like the Other Transaction Authority at the Department of Defense, the Commercial Solutions Opening at the General Services Administration is a new way of buying from nontraditional contractors. The pilot program at the agency made two awards last year, and more are on the way. Chris Hamm, director of GSA FEDSIM, says that the concept works best for cutting edge tech.


“It’s open to every federal agency through GSA. We’ll talk to different potential buyers whenever they want to purchase something, but the existing rules or the existing vendors on the existing contracts might not be a fit,” Hamm said. “What we’ll do it post something on FedBizOpps and call it an expression of interest or area of interest… Let’s say you’re interested in artificial intelligence or machine learning. There may not be a lot of contracts existing in the federal government for that, and they might be based in areas outside of D.C. like Silicon Valley.   We’ll put out an announcement and we’ll go to that market and encourage them to respond to this because it is not like the normal big formal government process, it’s quick, it’s easy and they would be able to get a government contract without a lot of compliance stuff.”

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