Information Management:

Status of GSA's FTS 2000 Procurement

IMTEC-87-42: Published: Aug 24, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the applicability of the recommendation for the delay of the Federal Telecommunications System (FTS) 2000 long distance telecommunications contract award until the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clarify which telecommunications services should be provided centrally and which should be provided by individual agencies.

GAO found that, although GSA has taken recent actions to follow previous recommendations, any long-term reliance on that strategy is undesirable due to the lack of detailed: (1) support for the GSA telecommunications acquisition strategy; and (2) analysis of other approaches, such as multiple partial awards and mandatory subcontracting. Nevertheless, sufficient short-term advantages exist in a transition from the current FTS system to make FTS 2000 a viable interim solution.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On August 24, 1987, GSA amended the request for proposals for the FTS 2000 procurement notifying the bidders that it could acquire like services from other vendors once the minimum contract requirement was met. This amendment also postponed the bid submission date.

    Recommendation: GSA should, before receiving proposals, amend the solicitation to provide explicitly that the government may acquire switched-voice and other services from alternative sources, without liability, anytime after the first four years of the contract. Because of the potential impact such changes could have on the offerers' proposals, GSA should consider postponing the receipt of proposals to allow offerers to assess this impact.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for end-to-end telecommuications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should immediately establish and commit itself to a long-term program to identify and analyze a range of plausible alternatives concerning the economics and technical capabilities of the telecommunications equipment and service markets in the post-1992 period.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should immediately establish and commit itself to a long-term program to identify and analyze a range of plausible alternatives concerning agency and governmentwide, end-to-end telecommunications requirements in the post-1992 period.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should immediately establish and commit itself to a long-term program to identify and analyze a range of plausible technical alternatives and associated implementation, operational, transition, acquisition, and funding strategies for addressing these requirements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should immediately establish and commit itself to a long-term program to evaluate these alternatives and strategies in terms of their ability to meet the total telecommunications needs of the entire government, life-cycle costs, difficulty of execution, need for technical and managerial skills by agencies as well as GSA, congressional support for required funding, and market availability.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should immediately establish and commit itself to a long-term program to complete the planning process and prepare the necessary procurement actions for the transition to a new end-to-end system to begin in 1992.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  7. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: GSA should publish the relevant documents identifying and analyzing the plausible alternatives as soon as available, in conjunction with the annual 5-year automatic data processing/telecommunications plan already required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  8. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: To ensure that adequate technical support is available, GSA should strongly consider acquiring the assistance of a systems engineering support contractor.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  9. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Regarding the need for a long-range planning group, awarding 10-year contracts for long-distance telecommunications services under FTS 2000 will tend to fix the conditions for acquiring these services. The planning group is still needed for better integrating GSA acquisition of local communications services with those acquired under the FTS 2000 contracts.

    Recommendation: To ensure that adequate management support is available, the Administrator of General Services should create a long-range planning group reporting directly to the Commissioner for Information Resources Management, with authority and responsibility over all of the necessary activities and resources.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  10. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should proceed to award the FTS 2000 contract as an interim means of meeting the government's long distance telecommunications requirements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is proceeding with plans to award contracts for FTS 2000 services, but not on an interim basis, while it develops new plans for providing for the end-to-end telecommunications requirements. As planned, GSA will award contracts to two vendors that will recompete for the larger share of the government's business at the end of year 4 and year 7 of the 10-year contracts.

    Recommendation: Since the commitment of GSA to pursue alternative strategies for implementation by 1992 is critical, the Administrator for General Services should submit to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Operations by November 2, 1987, both the specific plans and schedules to accomplish the needed tasks and the organizational changes made to manage this effort.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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