Merging Telecom and Technology

t he Federal Technology Service is a fee-for-service agency that buys information technology and telecommunications goods and services on behalf of federal agencies. FTS writes contracts and uses those of other agencies. But unlike its fellow acquisition shops that run governmentwide acquisition contracts, FTS oversees the entire acquisition and implementation process. Customers pay fees to FTS for this platinum-level service.

Today's FTS is the hybrid of two organizations. The government began an integrated approach to managing agencies' telecommunications needs in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which President Kennedy reportedly couldn't get a dial tone on his direct telephone line to Moscow.

Skipping ahead about 30 years, GSA was running an operation to meet the government's telecommunications needs and another to provide its information technology services under two separate organizations. On the telecom side, the Office of FTS 2000 had replaced the Federal Telecommunications System, which had been established in the early 1960s to provide the government with long-distance telephone service. In 1995, the Office of FTS 2000 merged with the Local Telecommunications Service to form the Federal Telecommunications Service.

The Office of Information Technology Integration handled the IT business, taking care of the government's data processing needs. When the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act required each agency to appoint a chief information officer, the policy function was taken away from the Office of Information Technology Integration. The agency was merged with the Federal Telecommunications Service, forming the Federal Technology Service.

Today, it's difficult to match the Federal Technology Service's professional experience. Senior leaders have an average of about 20 years' experience in contracting or information technology management. The agency's workforce has averaged more than 1,400 employees since 1995 and is stocked with seasoned technologists and acquisition and customer service specialists.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.