The General Services Administration, known as the GSA, is a large agency that is dedicated to procuring and distributing the supplies and services needed for many different government services and offices, and this can range widely from fire and emergency services to C4ISR system to working with defense contractors to firearm optics for police and military units. How is the GSA organized, and what can it do for agencies that need supplies? In addition, someone learning more about the GSA may want to know more about OCIE and what it does. The work of the GSA is never done, but the GSA and its staff will always hard hard to keep up with demand.
Basics of the GS
Working with OCIE or firefighting equipment or office supplies means organizing the GSA for maximum efficiency and reach. How does this work? The GSA has a Schedules program that is split into around 30 Schedules, which are contracts that are themselves categorized by the industry they are relevant to. In particular, the GSA’s Security Schedule is divided into over 100 subcategories, and these are known as Special Item Numbers, or SINs. And in 2017’s fiscal year, just to name one example, government buyers all together spent around $1.2 billion through the GSA’s Security Schedule.
The GSA can provide for a number of agencies that handle all sorts of work. Emergency services such and firefighters and search and rescue crews can obtain their vehicles and equipment such as oxygen tanks, masks, uniforms, and more through the appropriate GSA Schedule, and police agencies and military units also get their supplies way, anything from jeeps to police cars to firearms and flash-bang grenades, among others. The GSA can also provide more mundane supplies and equipment as needed, such as the desks, chairs, computers, and more that are found in government buildings, as well as trucks and other vehicles for delivering items and people. In particular, the GSA procures just over 65,000 vehicles every year, and this adds up to $1 billion in high-quality vehicles and other automotive services.
The GSA can also help with the economy and the markets through working with the SEC, or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which in turn handles OCIE. How does this work? According to SEC, the SEC’s mission is to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and maintain markets that are fair, orderly, and efficient. Put simply, the SEC works hard to maintain a market environment that the public can trust. In particular, the SEC makes use of OCIE, or the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. The OCIE is responsible for conducting the SEC’s National Exam Program, the NEP. The NEP will work to prevent fraud in markets, along with protecting investors and monitor risk and inform policy. This effort allows the SEC to maintain markets that are fair, effective, and trustworthy.
Another noteworthy service of the GSA is providing C4ISR systems to military and police units that need them. Just what is C4ISR? It is an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, as explained at Novel Engineering. Command and Control can be broadly defined as the center of any operation, and orders and directions will come from the Command and Control aspect of any C4ISR system. It exercises the authority in any given mission environment. Meanwhile, Communications is generally defined as any transmission of data, and Computer refers literally to the computers that are used for C4ISR operations, and any good C4ISR system will use the latest and most powerful computers to stay competitive, and will have effective software protection against intrusions or other cyber-crime.
Intelligence, for its part, is any information that is relevant to the mission and and goals and objectives needed to complete it. Surveillance is the work of monitoring the behavior and communication of others to gather Intelligence needed for a mission, and can be gathered by human means or through electronic means. Finally, Reconnaissance is the work of sending human agents or remotely-controlled drones into hostile or uncontrolled territory to gather Intelligence there for a mission. This is the difference between Surveillance and Reconnaissance; the former is within friendly or safe territory, the latter in hostile territory or any area the C4ISR agents do not control.