The Times They Are a Changin’: GSA Changes Structure, Amazon Web Services Chooses Northern Virginia for New Headquarters, and More

We’re two weeks into June, and already there are quite a few changes in the procurement landscape. Here’s a rundown of the month’s news so far.

In 2016, GSA reorganized to create a separate agency division focused on IT, the Technology Transformation Service (TTS). The TTS was an Obama-era creation, meant to house the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology and 18F. In addition, As FCW reports, the creation of the TTS was meant to highlight the commitment to modernizing government technology. On June 7, GSA announced plans to roll the TTS into the Federal Acquisition Service; at the same time, its name will change to the Technology Transformation Services. The current head of TTS, Rob Cook, will continue to lead the organization as FAS Deputy Commissioner. Meanwhile, new appointee Alan Thomas will replace Tom Sharpe as FAS Commissioner. GSA’s current top two acquisition executives, Tom Sharpe and Kevin Youel Page, have resigned.

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s largest cloud computing services provider, Amazon Web Services, has announced plans to locate a new East Coast Corporate Headquarters in Northern Virginia. The new facility will be located in Fairfax County, and will bring an estimated 1,500 jobs to the region. Though AWS has not provided details on how many of these positions will focus on federal business, NextGov reports that AWS’s previous Fairfax County expansion (2013) added 500 positions, the majority of which related to federal customers. AWS is a key provider to Government customers, so it’s certainly not a stretch to imagine that the new expansion will be heavily involved in the federal market.

At the same time, the Department of Defense is pushing for a new round of Base Realignment and Closures. That’s nothing new – DoD has long wanted a new round of BRAC, but Congress has shown little appetite for it, as base closures have massive impacts on the communities surrounding them. However, as Federal News Radio reports, Congress’s resistance to BRAC appears to be weakening. In addition, BRAC has gained high-profile proponents such as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain.

Finally, the White House has announced that the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council will take place this month. NextGov reports that invitees include Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Oracle’s Safra Catz, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, and Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt. On the Government side, ATC members include Mike Pence, John Kelly, James Mattis, and Jared Kushner. The meeting takes place in the wake of new tensions between the White House and Silicon Valley, including Tesla’s Elon Musk’s public break with the White House following the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.