Inside the Multibillion-Dollar End-of-Year Buying Frenzy

September 30, 2012

At first glance, it was hard to tell that millions of dollars were pouring into one of the government’s largest information technology contracts last week.

But the stacks of contract orders piling up in a corner of a NASA contracting office — a sprawling, nondescript cube farm in Lanham, Md. — on Sept. 26 signaled that the end-of-fiscal-year spending rush was underway. By 9 p.m., the day’s take had grown to 277 orders worth $39 million.

“This is when the federal government does a lot of [its] spending,” said Jon Wright, program manager for Alvarez and Associates, one of the 42 vendors on NASA’s mammoth IT contract, called SEWP (Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement). The contract has a potential value of $213 billion over seven years.

“Things we’ve been working with them on for the last six to nine months all happens now.”

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