The Environmental Protection Agency intends to resubmit disconnection orders for 268 services rendered unnecessary by the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract but not handled in a timely manner.
EPA‘s Office of Inspector General found services like analog phone and digital subscriber lines still weren’t disconnected as of May 2021, and eight disconnection orders took between one and 61 months to complete — costing the agency $7,850.
While EPA identified services it intended to transfer over to the General Services Administration‘s $50 billion EIS contract for telecommunications and network modernization, it had to create an inventory from scratch.
“This likely occurred because the EPA did not have a process to regularly review all of its GSA services,” reads OIG’s report. “Also, the EPA did not validate its GSA service inventory against the E-MORRIS database, as requested by the GSA.”
The deadline to do so was October 31, 2016, but EPA decided against it because the database contained more than 60,000 flawed entries that would have cost more than $160,000 to reconcile.
Despite this, OIG made no recommendations in its report because EPA managed to disconnect more than 18,000 services between November 2016 and April 2021.
OIG also praised EPA for “effectively” planning a long-term solution for remote network access, while transitioning to the EIS contract, that will allow up to 20,000 concurrent remote workers to reliably communicate and access critical applications and data.
“Remote network access became mission critical in March 2020 as the EPA responded to the coronavirus pandemic,” reads the report. “Continuing operations under the duress of pandemics and natural disasters requires the agency to adapt its network to support a virtual workforce.”
EPA did so by including a requirement in its EIS solicitation that the vendor selected provide scalable remote access solutions.
Unfortunately an EIS task order has yet to be awarded, despite GSA’s deadline being Sept. 30, 2019. The report offered no explanation as to why.
The task order will be managed through EPA’s working capital fund, but services can’t be transitioned to EIS until it’s awarded.
“Since the EPA annually reviews all working capital fund orders to determine whether they remain valid or should be disconnected, the EPA will have a regular process in place to disconnect all unnecessary network and telecommunications services after fully transitioning to the EIS contract,” reads the report.