IT Modernization

Shutdown unlikely to slow EIS planning

men dragging servers uphill

The current federal shutdown is unlikely to impact federal agencies' IT modernization planning under the General Services Administration's huge next-generation telecommunications contract, said Alan Chvotkin, senior vice president and general counsel at the Professional Services Council.

Chvotkin also told FCW the shutdown won't impact affected agencies' longer-term plans to leverage GSA's $50 billion, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions next-generation telecommunications contract.

GSA's recent announcement to extend the EIS transition two years to 2023 has given agencies some breathing room for longer-term planning, he said. Federal agencies had been up against a looming 2020 deadline to shift their telecommunications contracts over to EIS, leveraging the new capabilities in it to boost their overall IT modernization efforts. Experts from the telecommunications industry and federal market analysts had anticipated the extension for months after only a few agencies advanced EIS modernization plans last year.

With the extension, Chvotkin said, the shutdown would have to continue for weeks to make a dent in current planning processes. "Even if there is some slippage in those EIS activities, it can be made up fairly quickly," he said.

GSA's biggest IT contracts are also still operating as the shutdown grinds on. The Federal Acquisition Service, with its multiple award contracts and schedules, such as IT Schedule 70, is funded by fees levied on contract sales and not by direct appropriations, he said. That means it can operate as long as those funds hold out. FAS, Chvotkin said, "is open for business" to agencies that are funded.

NASA’s SEWP governmentwide acquisition contract, which also runs on fees, is operating as well, he said. SEWP’s web page notes it "will remain operational and available for the foreseeable future." However the SEWP program office said it would have to review its plans if the shutdown "continues for an extended period of time."

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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