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SSA's National Data Center

 

STATEMENT OF ROB HEWELL
REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
 MID-ATLANTIC REGION
 PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
AND
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC BUILDINGS,
AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009

 

Good morning Chairman Tanner, Chairwoman Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, and Members of the subcommittees.  My name is Rob Hewell and I am the Regional Commissioner of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service Mid-Atlantic Region.  I am pleased to have the opportunity today to discuss GSA’s progress, on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA), in the delivery of a new Social Security Administration National Support Center. 

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), SSA received a $500 million appropriation for a new National Support Center to replace the existing National Computer Center in Woodlawn, Maryland.  SSA turned to GSA for assistance in locating, designing, and building this new National Support Center, which will meet the agency’s requirement for redundancy and expansion needs for long-term needs.  

Based on initial capacity studies, we are planning to construct a facility of approximately 300,000 gross square feet that will include data, office, and warehouse space.  We are using a multi-phased approach to the construction of the facility ensuring that site and design criteria development are concurrent and interrelated.

Site Selection

GSA is committed to researching, evaluating, and selecting a site that can best serve the interests of the federal government, the end users, and the community.  There are many factors associated with selecting and acquiring a site for Federal construction, and a data center creates added challenges. 

In August 2009, GSA requested expressions of interest from land owners and authorized agents through a FedBizOpps notice.  We also contacted local economic development and planning groups regarding our search, which produced over 150 potential sites.  These locations were screened against a number of mandatory criteria that included land area and geography, proximity to SSA Headquarters and roadway access, available utility infrastructure, cultural and historic resources, proximity to security hazards, and proximity to environmental hazards or concerns. 

These sites were then narrowed down based on further evaluation of proximity to power and site characteristics. 

Our next steps include a more detailed analysis of potential locations to closely examine utility and fiber availability, security, environmental impact, development costs, and potential schedule impacts.  The site selection remains on schedule for purchase in March 2010.

Requirements Development

GSA is currently working with Jacobs Facilities to conduct a full analysis of the SSA Data Center building and housing plans.  In July 2009, GSA brought EMC Consultants on board to assist in developing a design for the building that is versatile and flexible enough to serve SSA Information Technology (IT) needs for the long term.  EMC has developed a growth model for equipment requirements through 2033, which takes into account both SSA historical data as well as industry trends toward newer equipment technology.  SSA concurred on this growth model in October 2009.  We are now working collaboratively with both EMC and Jacobs to develop a Space Power Cooling and Data Center Master Plan.

The Program of Requirements is progressing toward a 50% report at the end of December 2009.  Once the location is selected, site-specific design directives will be incorporated into the Program of Requirements.  Program of Requirements completion is scheduled for August 2010. 

Design-Build

Once we acquire the site, we will begin developing the solicitation for a design-build contract based on the finalized Program of Requirements.  At the same time, we will continue developing the design criteria specific to the selected location.  We will then procure a contractor to both design and build the facility.  We anticipate contract award for design and construction of the new National Support Center in March 2011.  Substantial construction completion is scheduled for October 2013, at which time the building will be turned over to SSA for IT migration.

In summary:

• Site Acquisition:  March 2010
• Program of Requirements Completion:  August 2010
• Design-build Contract Awarded:  March 2011
• Substantial Construction Completion:  October 2013
This is the same schedule we provided to the Committee back in April and included in our Recovery program plan, and we are still confident that we can deliver on schedule.

Risk Management

There are a number of steps we are taking to minimize risks throughout this process.  We have toured established data centers to identify industry best practices.  In July 2009, the project team participated in a charette facilitated by Lawrence Berkley Laboratories that focused on energy optimization techniques in data center design.  Environmental screening of possible sites is helping us to identify potential impacts early in the process.  Our partnerships with Jacobs and EMC are ensuring that we will provide a flexible facility design capable of accommodating expansion, mission related changes, and advancements in technology. 

GSA is moving swiftly to meet SSA’s National Support Center requirements on schedule, within budget, and with careful consideration given our responsibility and accountability to American taxpayers.  Along with SSA, we are happy to provide quarterly briefings to these subcommittees as the project proceeds, and are committed to working with you in the successful delivery of the National Support Center as part of the Recovery Act program.

Conclusion

Chairman Tanner, Chairwoman Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, and Members of the subcommittees, this concludes my statement.  I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.