WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Wednesday pushed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to exert stronger leadership in federal agencies’ transitions to new telecommunications services.

            The new services, provided by contracts under the General Services Administration’s Networx program, are expected to save the federal government millions of dollars but instead are costing taxpayers money as agencies delay transitioning to the new system.  Networx will provide telephone, network and cyber security services to agencies.

            A letter to OMB outlining the Senators’ concerns follows:



The Honorable Jeffrey D. Zients

Deputy Director of Management and

Chief Performance Officer

Office of Management and Budget

725 7th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20503


Dear Deputy Director Zients:


The General Services Administration (GSA) telecommunications contracts provide basic telephone, network services, and information technology services to federal agencies. These contracts are very important for ensuring that agencies have the telecommunications abilities to perform their missions and efficiently manage taxpayer dollars. As you are aware, GSA’s existing telecommunications program, known as FTS2001, is the successor to a line of programs that have provided telecommunications to the federal government. FTS2001 is scheduled to expire in June 2010.


In 2007, GSA awarded contracts for a successor program, known as Networx, and has been working with more than 135 agencies to assist the transition of 50 types of services and thousands of voice and data circuits. As potentially the largest telecommunications service s transition ever undertaken by the federal government, this transition has experienced its own challenges. In particular, as of November 2009, GSA reported that nearly 96 percent of the savings projected by this transition have not been realized, and agencies have been slow to take appropriate steps to ensure a smooth transition.


During the previous transition to FTS2001, delays were encountered that resulted in raised telecommunications costs and an estimated savings lost of $74 million. We are concerned that the slow transition to Networx is a repeat of the past. Specifically, every month that agencies delay transitioning to the new program, an estimated $18 million of savings are lost.


We understand GSA has taken a number of steps to assist the transition to Networx and is working to ensure agencies have adequate information on the steps needed to transition before the FTS2001 contracts expire. However, we also believe that strong leadership from the Office of Management and Budget would be useful in speeding the transition.


In addition to the cost-savings, we also believe that agencies should be using Networx to take advantage of newest technologies instead of solely using the same or similar services from their existing contracts. This is of particular concern given the security of federal networks and the opportunities to use new technologies to assist agencies in strengthening their cyber defenses.


We are interested in knowing the specific actions your office has taken and is taking to ensure that federal agency managers have prioritized this very important transition of telecommunication services. To that end, we would appreciate your responses to the following questions:


1. What actions have OMB taken to assist the transition to Networx?

2. Why have agencies delayed the transition from FTS2001 to Networx?

3. What remedial actions can agency managers take to ensure transition activities are taken before the current contracts expire?


We also request your office provide a briefing on Networx to this Committee no later than

January 31, 2010.


Thank you for your attention to this important matter and assistance in working with federal agencies during this transition to ensure the effective and efficient use of telecommunication services to perform their missions.






Joseph I. Lieberman                                                    Susan Collins

Chairman                                                                    Ranking Member