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Telecom Infrastructure Essential to Good Government, Brasseux Tells Networks Conference

As prepared for delivery.

Remarks By
Barney L. Brasseux
Deputy Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
GSA Network Services Conference
Chicago, Illinois
August 11, 2009

 

Thank you, Jim (Williams).  And thanks to all of you for joining us at the 17th Network Services Conference.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize a few people who have joined us here this week:

  • Danielle Germain, our new Chief of Staff
  • Michael Robertson, White House Liaison, and just named Associate Administrator for Governmentwide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer
  • Sahar Wali, Deputy Associate Administrator, Communications and Marketing

Like you, they are here to listen and learn.

Some of us are probably feeling a bit of déjà vu, having been here two weeks ago for the National Motor Vehicle and Aviation Workshop and Exposition, commonly known as FedFleet.

What Jim didn’t mention is that we also shared the stage at FedFleet.  We made some news there, when we had the pleasure of delivering three new fuel-efficient cars purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to representatives from the Department of Energy and U.S. Navy, agencies that will be receiving the vehicles.  These three cars, a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, an E85 Dodge Caravan, and a Ford Fusion Hybrid are part of the 17,205 new Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors vehicles FAS purchased with Recovery Act dollars to help “green” the federal fleet.

I’ve got to tell you, the energy … the excitement … the vibe … whatever you want to call it … we felt there is the same here.  There’s a spirit of optimism and progress … a force to move quickly, because all of us in government are in a great position to make a difference for the people we know are hurting.

We’re all working under the guidance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the most sweeping economic package in the history of our country. In addition to the news-making vehicle purchase, we also announced on July 30th that we met our aggressive schedule to award more than $1 billion in construction contracts by July 31, as part of our more than $5.5 billion dedicated to reinvesting in public buildings and making them green. 

These projects are making headlines, but under the radar, effective telecommunications and IT infrastructure are the fundamental underpinnings of good government. And GSA is prepared to work even harder in this area. 

Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden said, “Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”  So while we are proud of the progress, we are not exactly smug and we will continue to push the envelope until this nation is back on its feet.

That’s why conferences like this, where we can get everyone together to talk about what’s working … and what’s not …are so important.

Both Ed (O’Hare) and Jim have shared some specific updates and exciting new GSA programs, so I won’t bore you with more details. You’ve got plenty of time to learn more over the next three days.

But I would like to remind you that no other conference offers so much to the telecommunications and IT professional.  There are plenty of opportunities to:

  • Learn more about the vast portfolio of network services, products, services, and solutions offered by GSA, including those Ed and Jim described;
  • Hear interesting speakers who will share their wisdom and provide insights to broaden our perspectives and enhance wisdom and productivity;
  • Attend a comprehensive array of educational opportunities that will describe the complete portfolio of FAS/ITS offerings;
  • Hear from and meet with both government experts and industry partners in service-focused information sessions;
  • Attend sessions specifically designed for state and local officials;
  • Hear updates about the transition to the Networx contracts and Trusted Internet Connections; and,
  • Peruse an exhibit hall filled with the latest technology solutions offered by our industry partners.  Not just the latest and greatest that will help you realize what’s possible today … but also to stimulate the imagination of what’s possible TOMORROW.

This is the one place where government and industry can come together on common ground, to find ways to successfully meet the challenges facing our government and society.

We know the Networx transition is going slower than we’d all like.  The contract offers more, but that means it is more complex.

But it’s the right thing to do.  We have a collective opportunity to save American taxpayers millions of dollars, while enhancing our telecommunications services and making our government the most efficient it can be.  It’s a huge responsibility, so we’ve got to do it right.

You can help us better understand the issues.  What aren’t we explaining well enough?  What can we do better? 

Let’s also talk about what the future holds.  Telework will continue to be a solution that helps green the government.  It just makes sense that we can reduce carbon emissions and energy usage when we don’t require employees to come to an office five days a week.  But this is more than a human resources issue … it’s an infrastructure issue.  What kind of telecommunications and IT backbone will be required of the future workforce?

As we’re looking at all the building projects we’re undertaking under the Recovery Act and others, we’re looking to the telecom and IT needs not only of today, but of the future.  Will the move to cloud computing change our requirements?

These are things we’re grappling with every day at GSA.  We may have two primary business lines – PBS and FAS – but we’re all working together to meet the needs and challenges of our customer agencies.

Please use this week as an opportunity to learn and share ideas and best practices.  Get together and talk.   Let us know what you think … and how we can help.

There are lots of opportunities to do this in the classroom, meeting rooms and in the hallways.  And let’s not forget the value of social time. 

Before I leave, I wanted to personally thank Ed O’Hare for picking up the mantle of ITS. It – and you – couldn’t be in better hands.  My thanks also to Jim Williams for his leadership of FAS, and to Jim McVey and his team for putting on a great conference.

Have a great week, and if there’s anything I can do to help, just send me a note or give me a call.

Thank you.