Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future

Tuesday - 6/17/2014, 1:17pm EDT





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It wasn't so long ago that you could see the federal telecommunications. Switchboards, patch panels, private branch exchange equipment - it was often in plain sight.

Switched circuit telephony is fast giving way to a converged world where communications of all forms - including voice, video, text messaging, and data - all flow as bits and bytes on common networks. Networks used for ever-growing loads from big data, video, social media and online services have become an important focus for tech staffs. Tasked with keeping agency networks humming, they've got to ensure the bandwidth and accompanying services required to support headquarters and branch office users as well as thousands or millions of constituents.

Network performance and capacity is a technology issue, to be sure, but it's also an acquisition challenge. No agency has all of the dollars it wishes it had. So cost control must be one element of the network provisioning job. Plus, CIOs and acquisition officials face a daunting choice of contracting vehicles from which to choose, everything from the General Services Administration's Networx IDIQs to individual vendor offerings on GSA's Multiple Award Schedules.

An expert federal panel discussed these issues in a panel discussion, "Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future." Panelists were:

• Bill Lewis, Networx program manager from the General Services Administration • Keel Ross, the telecommunications chief at the Interior Department • Kimberly Hancher, the chief information officer of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission • Tony Bardo, assistant vice president for government solutions at Hughes, an EchoStar company.

Government people say legacy networks aren't always up to the task of handling video and web conferencing. That's reflected in where much of the sales growth is coming from, according to GSA figures. That's in "big pipes" and service with which agencies can control quality and priority of network services so bandwidth- intensive applications get what they need to run properly.

Hughes says agencies are looking for alternate path technologies to unsure resiliency. Wireless and satellite services can fill the bill.

Moderator

Tom Temin, Federal News Radio

Tom Temin is the host of Federal Drive weekdays from 6-9 a.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM. Tom Temin has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. He was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines, both of which were regular winners of national reporting awards. Before joining Federal News Radio, Tom wrote (and continues to write) a column on government IT and acquisition topics. He was a regular guest on Federal News Radio before joining the team.

Panelists

Kimberly Hancher, Chief Information Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Kimberly Hancher is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) bringing technology know-how to the mission of eliminating unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Previously, she was FCC's Deputy CIO (10 years) and VA's Chief of Data Exchange (15 years). She is best known for her leadership in establishing a Federal BYOD program in 2012. In 2013 she was awarded NextGov's "Bold Award" for innovation in improving Government Services. She was ACT-IAC's 2014 Excellence.gov Awards Chair. Currently, she is on the Government IT Executive Council (GITEC) Vice President.

Bill Lewis, Program Manager, Networx, GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS)

Bill Lewis is a Program Manager in the Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS) in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). In October 2013, Mr. Lewis was named as the Networx Program Manager, where he is responsible for the day to day operations of this $1.4B telecommunications program. In past roles at GSA, he has been the ITS Program Manager for Workplace Modernization where he was responsible for the development, acquisition, and deployment of information technology offerings related to creating modern and flexible federal workplaces. And, he served s GSA's first Program Manager for the Cloud Computing Program Office.

Tony Bardo, Assistant Vice President of Government Solutions, Hughes, an EchoStar Company

Anthony V. (Tony) Bardo joined Hughes Network Systems in January, 2006 as assistant vice president of Government Solutions. In this role, he is responsible for sales, marketing and program management dedicated to providing federal, state and local governments with broadband applications from across the Hughes line of networking products and services.

Keel Ross, Chief of Telecommunications, Department of the Interior