Study by Brian Friel and Paul Murphy

The use of multiple-award contracts has exploded in recent years, giving thousands of companies new “hunting licenses” to seek business opportunities with the federal government. Government spending through these so-called MACs reached $121 billion in fiscal year 2010, up from $81 billion in fiscal 2006, according to a Bloomberg Government study, “Big MACs:The Rapid Growth of Multiple-Award Contracts” (subscription required).

Multiple-award contracts, or MACs, are intended to reduce the government’s administrative costs by creating pools of pre-qualified vendors to bid on contracts to provide goods and services to federal agencies. These contracts represent powerful business opportunities for companies savvy enough to navigate the process.

Brian Friel is a federal business analyst with Bloomberg Government. He launched in 1996 and turned the magazine’s website into a daily news operation with 100,000 subscribers. Friel’s 15 years of executive branch and congressional coverage include reporting for Government Executive,, National Journal and Congressional Quarterly.

Paul Murphy is a senior data analyst at Bloomberg Government. Before joining Bloomberg, he was president of Eagle Eye Publishers, Inc., a federal market research and data analysis company that in 1988 released the first complete electronic database of federal procurement spending.

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