GSA giving two agencies two extra years to transition to new telecommunications contract

The General Services Administration is bending its deadline for agencies to transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract vehicle a little further for two agencies.

GSA announced the departments of Justice and Homeland Security now have until May 31, 2026 to complete the transition from Networx. This is two years more than the 80 other agencies that signed memorandums of understanding in September to gain an extra year.  Most agencies have until May 2024 to move to EIS.

“DoJ and DHS asked for more time to complete their transition, citing multiple factors, including global supply chain disruptions and pandemic challenges. GSA agreed to create the requested extensions so that DoJ and DHS can carry out their transition plans without the risk of serious disruptions to critical services,” wrote Laura Stanton, the assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC), in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, in a new blog post. “Executing these extensions will be a major undertaking for GSA and the contract holders. GSA anticipates there are more than 60 contracts that will need extensions after May 31, 2024. GSA will execute modifications to extend each contract. The justification for these modifications will detail the current status, the delays and obstacles agencies have faced in their transitions, and the timeline in which they expect to have their transitions completed.”

One task order remaining to be issued

As of Nov. 28, GSA says DHS still had the furthest to go to transition EIS. DHS still has to issue a task order to industry and still has to award three others that are already out for bid. DHS has disconnected 55% of all services from Networx.

Justice, meanwhile, has awarded both of its EIS task orders and has disconnected 72% of all services.

The Defense Department and the Government Accountability Office are the only other agencies that still have to award EIS task orders.

Stanton said extending the transition deadline for DHS and DoJ is risky. She said Networx vendors may not agree to an extension of the current services.

The extension also impacts agency cost savings, network modernization and cybersecurity from using EIS.

“GSA remains committed to the successful completion of the EIS transition program. We conduct weekly updates to the transition inventory to ensure agencies and contractors have the most accurate data at their fingertips,” she wrote. “In addition to frequent meetings with individual agencies, we hold monthly EIS transition office hours and interagency EIS transition meetings, both of which serve as forums for agencies to share their knowledge and ask transition-related questions. GSA also meets monthly with the contractors for an all-agency progress check and conducts comprehensive quarterly reviews.”

EIS faced delays from beginning

The decision to extend the EIS transition deadlines for DoJ and DHS comes after much consternation by GSA and agencies over the last year.

GSA announced the plan for agencies to sign MOUs to take advantage of the continuity of service (CoS) in February after it became clear that agencies would not meet the upcoming transition deadlines.

By the time DoJ and DHS transition, it will be nine years since GSA kicked off EIS. The agency awarded 10 vendors a spot on the $50 billion telecommunications contract in August 2017, but it took until December 2019 for all, now nine vendors — CenturyLink acquired Level-3 — to receive cybersecurity certifications for their business systems.

The transition from FTS 2001 to Networx took 33 months longer than planned and cost the government an estimated $395 million, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office.

 

 

 

 

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