Agency contract managers at the General Service Administration (GSA) revealed GSA has begun to ban several China-based telecommunications gear manufacturers.
According to Jack Tekus, a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program Management Office analyst, by the end of August, 81% of the MAS contract supply chain modifications were accepted. These modifications are of significance to the GSA’s motivation to ensure contractor compliance with Part B of Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.
Tekus and his colleagues from GSA’s IT, public building, and leasing operations sectors expanded on these requirements during a webinar sponsored by GSA in September. It was elucidated that if the U.S. Government has identified any particular technology or service as a cybersecurity threat, then government contractors are banned from implementing of these technologies or services. The companies that fall under this ban include but are not limited to Huawei and ZTE and Hikvision, Hytera Communications Corporation, and Dahua Technology Company. The former are telecommunications gear producers while the latter are video surveillance producers. This ban also applies to any subsidiary and affiliate company in association with the aforementioned organizations.
Not only are these products distributed by these companies being banned from federal contract implementation, but also they are banned from daily operation implementation in both domestic and international conditions. The GSA procurement ombudsman, Maria Swaby, conveyed that there is some ambiguity surrounding what qualifies as being “use,” “subsidiaries,” and “affiliates.” The particulars may be evaluated on a case to case basis and questions about this can be submitted to regulations.gov by September14th. These terms hold particular significance due to the intersection of data and traffic with various carrier networks and facilities which may not be held under this ban.
Author: Donna Sunny