Government eCommerce — What is it good for?

Some discussion has arisen on Government eCommerce this winter and we are glad to see renewed interest in one of our favorite topics. President Obama’s 2011 Federal Budget states that . . .
“OMB will work with agencies to expand the use of online eMalls for Federal purchases in 2010 and monitor these efforts for further expansion in 2011 and beyond based on lessons learned.”
—2011 FY Budget (Special Topics, Information Technology)
As the primary developer of the DOD EMALL—DOD’s largest online marketplace—we are well aware of the savings potential government ecommerce provides.

Federal Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, recently announced an Federal IT consolidation plan that strongly backs remote or cloud computing; consolidation of 1,100 data centers throughout government; and pushes the use Federal EMALLS for supply acquisition and purchasing.

Partnet had the opportunity to comment on this plan in a nextgov.com article this past January.

Partnet has been supporting Government eCommerce for over 15 years. Further, Partnet’s application of distributed architecture in its systems has made it possible to catalog the 60+ millions items (yes, it really is 60 million, and growing) DOD EMALL offers its DOD, Federal agency, and state government users.

Partnet believes the Federal IT consolidation plan is a step in the right direction, and hopes that its savings potential will lead to expanded use of government eCommerce websites.

Contingency Contracts and the DOD’s Humanitarian Mission

According to the United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM), over 6000 US military personnel — alongside six naval vessels and 20 aircraft — are currently deployed to Haiti in support of the humanitarian relief effort to more than three million Haitians affected by the January 12th earthquake.

Increasingly, the US military finds itself in this position.  Because of its unrivaled ability to project and sustain large-scale operations over extended distances, the DOD is often called upon to support humanitarian assistance and recovery operations abroad—like those currently underway in Haiti, and now, Chile.  And increasingly, DOD is confronted with the problem of finding effective and feasible contingency logistics strategies.  In other words, finding fast, effective ways to supply our military personnel with the equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions.

In order to effectively manage its growing humanitarian commitments abroad, the DOD is looking towards IT-based solutions to facilitate its contingency contract process.  In the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review, the DOD states that current supply-chain management processes inadequately address its responsibilities abroad.
“The conventional acquisition process is too long and too cumbersome . . . the Department [of Defense] must improve how it matches [logistical] requirements with mature technologies and maintain disciplined engineering approaches [to] institutionalize rapid acquisitions capabilities.” –Page xiv, 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review (Department of Defense).
Partnet is busy developing new IT-based solutions that will achieve this “rapid acquisition capability” the DOD is rightfully pursuing.  Among these innovations is an automated, contingency contract and planning tool that could be leveraged to enhance and support existing DOD logistical investments.  The goal is to create an integrated system capable of implementing contingency contracts with global vendors—as well as local suppliers—that quickly locates and sources mission-critical supplies […]

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