Telecommunications

GSA tries to raise the profile of EIS

Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu 

The General Services Administration appears to be shifting into a higher gear to generate activity on its $50 billion next generation telecommunications contract.

Debbie Hren, GSA's network services transition director and Fred Haines, the program manager for the NS2020 Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions acquisition were scheduled to talk details of the upcoming contract at an Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association luncheon on April 5.

Sources said GSA quietly subbed in Keith Nakasone, deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category, in the agency's Federal Acquisition Service, to speak at the event. Nakasone's presentation was aimed at putting the contract into the larger frame of the federal government's network modernization push, according to attendees who spoke with FCW about the closed-press event.

Typically, GSA presentations on EIS deal with specifics of the contract and how to transition to it from the agency's older telecom contracts.

Nakasone's presentation outlined how EIS dovetails with the White House IT goals. Additionally, Nakasone pointed out how EIS can help implement the MGT Act and federal IT modernization efforts.

Nakasone's reported remarks are in line with what other top GSA officials, including Bill Zielinski, deputy assistant commissioner of the IT Category at FAS, have said.

Last September, then-acting federal CIO Margie Graves said EIS could be used as a vehicle for the federal government's IT modernization push, as well as for cloud and cybersecurity efforts.

However, Nakasone's emphasis on IT modernization and EIS could be a sign GSA is positioning a new push to get the contract broader visibility and recognition for its transformative value, instead of only conveying the contract's nitty-gritty details to agencies, according to some observers at the event.

In his ITPA presentation, Nakasone mentioned one of the more prickly EIS issues: the March 2020 expiration of its current Networx telecommunications contract and the 2021 expiration of Networx continuity of service. Some EIS contractors have called on GSA to extend those deadlines because they say there isn't enough time for agencies to make transition plans.

Even while it looks to broaden its message on EIS, GSA isn't slighting the details. It posted a Fair Opportunity and Ordering Guide eLearning Course, or FOOG, on its EIS Interact site on April 3.

The FOOG is a four-module course aimed at helping agency contracting officers understand how to write contracts against the sprawling, complex, 10-vendor contract.

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, tele.com 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 mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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