GSA ponders partnership with DISA on telecom

Shutterstock image (by kangshutters): Satellite dish transmission data.

(kangshutters / Shutterstock)

As the General Services Administration begins to wrap up public consultation with industry over its 15-year, $50 billion telecommunications contract, it is also talking with the Defense Information Systems Agency about partnering under the contracting vehicle.

DISA's participation in GSA's Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract "would be a game changer," because the Defense Department agency doesn't rely on GSA's current Networx telecommunications contract for its command and control network services, Amando Gavino Jr., director of GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, said in an interview following the agency's third and final public information exchange session ahead of its release of the EIS request for proposals.

DISA provides IT and communications support to the president, vice president, secretary of Defense, the military services and others all over the world.

EIS is the foundation contract for the GSA's next-generation NS2020 telecommunications acquisition strategy.

To boost the appeal of EIS to DISA and its customers, GSA announced at the June 30 session that it was including a clause in the EIS contract's geographic coverage section that brings it in line with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation System (DFARS). The clause was included on the updated Section J of the contract posted on Interact on June 30. Section J deals with requirements for common operations, process flows, data exchange details, ordering, billing, inventory management and SLA Management, among other things.

Gavino said he plans to meet with DISA Vice Director of Network Services Jessie Showers in mid-July to talk about teaming up to provide EIS's capabilities for the agency's domestic and international telecommunications needs. Gavino said Showers has indicated he's interested in talking about using EIS for continental U.S. telecom services.

"We've been working with the technical requirements and management operations requirements with DISA folks out of Scott Air Force Base [in southern Illinois] for the last year and a half, as well as other agencies," said Fred Haines, EIS program manager. "Putting DFAR clauses into EIS helps DoD."

GSA is also meeting with other agency CIOs in the coming weeks to talk about EIS capabilities as it closes in on the September release of a request for proposals. The timing of that release, according to Gavino and Haines, remains on target, although Haines said an end of September release is most likely.

In the interim, Haines, Gavino and other EIS managers are gathering as much input as possible from vendors and other outside sources on the effort. So far, hundreds of changes have been made to the EIS draft RFP in response to industry input, according to Haines. The agency is posting those changes on its EIS Interact site for all to see, he said.

During the session, Gavino and Haines both encouraged outside input to continue in the coming weeks. However, Haines said face time with GSA officials to discuss concerns or receive suggestions will become shorter and shorter as the September issue date approaches.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards -

    Congratulations to the 2020 Rising Stars

    These early-career leaders already are having an outsized impact on government IT.

  • Cybersecurity
    cybersecurity (Rawpixel/

    CMMC clears key regulatory hurdle

    The White House approved an interim rule to mandate defense contractors prove they adhere to existing cybersecurity standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Stay Connected