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FCW : July 30, 2016
Trending people signed up for the Commerce Department’s first training sessions on data science 3,500 8 July 30, 2016 FCW.COM A deadline almost four years in the future could prove to be challenging if federal agencies don’t get to work now. Agencies “need to have a sense of urgency” in planning their moves to the General Services Administra- tion’s $50 billion, 15-year Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract, said Amando Gavino, director of the agency’s Office of Network Serv- ices Programs, dur- ing a meeting with potential vendors and federal users in June. Agencies must submit their transi- tion plans to GSA in October and com- plete their transitions to EIS before the current Networx and regional telecom- munications contracts expire in May 2020, he added. GSA officials have said they plan to award the massive EIS contract in October, and for months, Gavino has been urging agencies to start planning how they will move their network ser- vices to EIS. For the EIS contract to be success- ful and effective, every agency must accurately inventory its telecom ser- vices and include everything from tra- ditional long-distance services to fully redundant, mission-critical virtual pri- vate networks. “More than 7 million inventory items across 90 regional and eight Networx contracts must move,” Gavino said. He added that agencies in the throes of planning their shift to the upcoming contract should think of it as a key goal and take advantage of the oppor- tunity to transform, rather than simply adapt, their capabilities. — Mark Rockwell CONGRESS.GOV Telecom transition coming fast Amando Gavino Mark Meadows Gerry Connolly In a July 8 hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee explored how processes delineated in the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-76 might be revised to lift a moratorium on public/private com- petition that began in 2009 under an omnibus appropriations act. The circular requires agencies to prepare inventories of inherently gov- ernmental activities that should be per- formed by federal employees and those that the private sec- tor could handle. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) characterized the hearing as an initial look at how to open those competi- tions again to help the government save money on goods and services. “This is about finding the right bal- ance in public/private competition through the A-76 process,” he said at the hearing. “Under current law, pub- lic/private competitions are prohibited. We want to learn from past efforts and hopefully begin anew the discussion in the lead-up to a new administration.” He added that the discussion about Circular A-76 could lead to a wider review of federal procurement under the next administration. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, said revising A-76 could lead to better contract management for increasingly technical IT projects. He added that the practice of insourcing by government agencies is no better than the practice of outsourcing to industry. “One is intrinsically not better than the other,” he said, adding that deci- sions should be based on agencies’ needs and capabilities. Witnesses at the hearing included Angela Styles, a partner at Washing- ton law firm Crowell and Moring. She revised Circular A-76 when she was administrator of OMB’s Office of Fed- eral Procurement Policy during the George W. Bush administration. “It’s a travesty that public/private competition has been stalled for eight years,” Styles said. Efforts to renew the competitive framework have been blocked “by special interests” focused on protecting federal jobs, she added. She said the com- petitions can save the government bil- lions of dollars a year regardless of whether work is performed by govern- ment employees or the private sector because the process makes agencies more carefully consider how they’re getting goods and services and the associated costs. John Palatiello, president of the Business Coalition for Fair Competi- tion, told lawmakers that some agen- cies have indeed reconsidered how they receive services in many areas, including IT. For instance, the U.S. Geological Survey has transitioned from being an in-house map-production agency that often duplicated the efforts of private firms to become an agency that taps mapping companies for their data while focusing its employees on stan- dards and coordination. In contrast, Palatiello said, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “still does hydrographic surveys in-house” when the same or more technically advanced capabilities are readily available from the private sector. — Mark Rockwell Congress mulls changes to ‘inherently governmental’ activities 0730fcw_003-012.indd 8 7/13/16 11:48 AM
July 15, 2016
August 15, 2016