[House Hearing, 111 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] RECOVERY ACT PROJECT TO REPLACE THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION'S NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER ======================================================================= HEARING before the COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY JOINT WITH THE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC BUILDINGS, AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ DECEMBER 15, 2009 __________ Serial No. 111-39 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Ways and Means U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 63-031 WASHINGTON : 2011 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, http://bookstore.gpo.gov. For more information, contact the GPO Customer Contact Center, U.S. Government Printing Office. Phone 202�09512�091800, or 866�09512�091800 (toll-free). E-mail, [email protected] COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS CHARLES B. RANGEL, New York, Chairman FORTNEY PETE STARK, California DAVE CAMP, Michigan SANDER M. LEVIN, Michigan WALLY HERGER, California JIM McDERMOTT, Washington SAM JOHNSON, Texas JOHN LEWIS, Georgia KEVIN BRADY, Texas RICHARD E. NEAL, Massachusetts PAUL RYAN, Wisconsin JOHN S. TANNER, Tennessee ERIC CANTOR, Virginia XAVIER BECERRA, California JOHN LINDER, Georgia LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas DEVIN NUNES, California EARL POMEROY, North Dakota PATRICK J. TIBERI, Ohio MIKE THOMPSON, California OHIO GINNY BROWN-WAITE, Florida JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut GEOFF DAVIS, Kentucky EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon DAVID G. REICHERT, Washington RON KIND, Wisconsin CHARLES W. BOUSTANY, Jr., BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey Louisiana SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada DEAN HELLER, Nevada JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York PETER J. ROSKAM, Illinois CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida ALLYSON Y. SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama DANNY K. DAVIS, Illinois BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California BRIAN HIGGINS, New York JOHN A. YARMUTH, Kentucky Janice Mays, Chief Counsel and Staff Director Jon Traub, Minority Staff Director ______ SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY JOHN S. TANNER, Tennessee, Chairman EARL POMEROY, North Dakota SAM JOHNSON, Texas, Ranking Member ALLYSON Y. SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania KEVIN BRADY, Texas XAVIER BECERRA, California PATRICK J. TIBERI, Ohio LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas GINNY BROWN-WAITE, Florida RON KIND, Wisconsin DAVID G. REICHERT, Washington JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California JOHN A. YARMUTH, Kentucky COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota, Chairman NICK J. RAHALL, II, West Virginia, JOHN L. MICA, Florida Vice Chair DON YOUNG, Alaska PETER A. DEFAZIO, Oregon THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee Columbia VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan JERROLD NADLER, New York FRANK A. LOBIONDO, New Jersey CORRINE BROWN, Florida JERRY MORAN, Kansas BOB FILNER, California GARY G. MILLER, California EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi Carolina ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa SAM GRAVES, Missouri TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania BRIAN BAIRD, Washington JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas RICK LARSEN, Washington SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West MICHAEL E. CAPUANO, Massachusetts Virginia TIMOTHY H. BISHOP, New York JIM GERLACH, Pennsylvania MICHAEL H. MICHAUD, Maine MARIO DIAZ-BALART, Florida RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri CHARLES W. DENT, Pennsylvania GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California CONNIE MACK, Florida DANIEL LIPINSKI, Illinois LYNN A WESTMORELAND, Georgia MAZIE K. HIRONO, Hawaii JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio JASON ALTMIRE, Pennsylvania CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan TIMOTHY J. WALZ, Minnesota MARY FALLIN, Oklahoma HEATH SHULER, North Carolina VERN BUCHANAN, Florida MICHAEL A. ARCURI, New York ROBERT E. LATTA, Ohio HARRY E. MITCHELL, Arizona BRETT GUTHRIE, Kentucky CHRISTOPHER P. CARNEY, Pennsylvania ANH ``JOSEPH'' CAO, Louisiana JOHN J. HALL, New York AARON SCHOCK, Illinois STEVE KAGEN, Wisconsin PETE OLSON, Texas STEVE COHEN, Tennessee LAURA A. RICHARDSON, California ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey DONNA F. EDWARDS, Maryland SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas PHIL HARE, Illinois JOHN A. BOCCIERI, Ohio MARK H. SCHAUER, Michigan BETSY MARKEY, Colorado PARKER GRIFFITH, Alabama MICHAEL E. McMAHON, New York THOMAS S. P. PERRIELLO, Virginia DINA TITUS, Nevada HARRY TEAGUE, New Mexico SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia, Chair BETSY MARKEY, Colorado MARIO DIAZ-BALART, Florida MICHAEL H. MICHAUD, Maine TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois HEATH SHULER, North Carolina SAM GRAVES, Missouri PARKER GRIFFITH, Alabama SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri Virginia TIMOTHY J. WALZ, Minnesota MARY FALLIN, Oklahoma MICHAEL A. ARCURI, New York BRETT GUTHRIE, Kentucky CHRISTOPHER P. CARNEY, ANH ``JOSEPH'' CAO, Louisiana Pennsylvania, Vice Chair PETE OLSON, Texas DONNA F. EDWARDS, Maryland THOMAS S. P. PERRIELLO, Virginia JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota (Ex Officio) Pursuant to clause 2(e)(4) of Rule XI of the Rules of the House, public hearing records of the Committee on Ways and Means are also published in electronic form. The printed hearing record remains the official version. Because electronic submissions are used to prepare both printed and electronic versions of the hearing record, the process of converting between various electronic formats may introduce unintentional errors or omissions. Such occurrences are inherent in the current publication process and should diminish as the process is further refined. C O N T E N T S __________ Page Advisory of December 9, 2009 announcing the hearing.............. 2 WITNESSES Michael Gallagher, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Budget, Finance and Management, Social Security Administration................. 14 Rob Hewell, Regional Commissioner, Mid-Atlantic Region, Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..................................... 20 The Honorable Patrick P. O'Carroll, Inspector General, Social Security Administration........................................ 25 SUBMISSION FOR THE RECORD Questions for the Record......................................... 45 RECOVERY ACT PROJECT TO REPLACE THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION'S NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER ---------- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009 U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, joint with the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Washington, DC. The Subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 9:31 a.m. in room 1100 Longworth House Office Building, the Hon. John Tanner [Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security], presiding. [The advisory announcing the hearing follows:] ADVISORY FROM THE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS Chairman Tanner and Chairwoman Holmes-Norton Announce a Joint Oversight Hearing on the Recovery Act Project to Replace the Social Security Administration's National Computer Center December 9, 2009 Congressman John S. Tanner (D-TN), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, announced today that the Subcommittees will hold a joint oversight hearing on the progress made to replace the Social Security Administration's National Computer Center. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 in the main Ways and Means Committee hearing room 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 9:30 a.m. In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. BACKGROUND: In February, Congress passed and the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, Pub. L. 111-5), which provided $500 million for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to begin the process of replacing its national computer processing and data storage facility, the National Computer Center (NCC). This amount is expected to cover the cost of building a new facility and part of the cost of equipping it. Replacement of the NCC is the single largest building project funded under the Recovery Act. The NCC houses 450 million records of Americans' earnings and benefit data for almost 56 million beneficiaries. It performs a billion electronic transactions annually in the administration of benefits and data-matching agreements with other federal, state and local agencies. As reliance on electronic processing and technology has grown, the ability of the current NCC to function effectively is deteriorating. The NCC is nearly thirty years old and the building in which it is housed is nearing the end of its useful physical life. The NCC's capacity is inadequate to meet anticipated future needs, and deterioration of the facility is posing increasing risks to SSA operations. For these reasons, Congress provided SSA with necessary funds to begin the process of constructing and equipping a new facility. The General Services Administration (GSA) is managing the process of locating, designing and constructing the building which will house the new data center. In addition, the SSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) was assigned additional oversight duties under the Recovery Act, including oversight of the NCC project. SSA also has completed construction of and has transferred some computer operations to a secondary data center in North Carolina. This secondary data center was initially designed to support a portion of the work done at the NCC, but is now being developed as a comprehensive backup facility in case of failure of the NCC. It is unclear whether this secondary center will be fully operational in time, or if it will have sufficient capacity, to provide full backup support in the event of failure of SSA's primary data processing facility. In April, the Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on the initial plans and progress on this complex project. In May, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management also held a hearing on GSA's plans to execute the Recovery Act. This hearing will continue Congressional oversight of this critical project. It will provide a general update on the status of the project, including an examination of the decisions made thus far, and on the planning and next steps being taken by SSA and GSA. It will also provide an update on the agencies' plans for avoiding delays in the project's completion, and contingency plans in the event of catastrophic failure of the existing NCC prior to completion of the new facility. In announcing the hearing, Chairman John Tanner (D-TN) stated, ``Many of us strongly support the unprecedented transparency requirements for projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including the construction of a new and updated Social Security data processing facility. This investment is urgently needed to ensure continued smooth operation of a program that is so crucial to 56 million Americans. Our subcommittee is committed to making sure that the decisions made in pursuit of replacing the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) primary computing facility are fiscally and technically sound and help continue SSA's improvements in service to beneficiaries and other taxpayers.'' Chairwoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC) stated, ``I am pleased to hold this joint hearing on the General Services Administration's SSA primary computing center. Our committee has held four stimulus tracking hearings and believes that focusing on this project, with its many unique environmental and technical aspects, will serve as an excellent way to drill down into one project to highlight and explore the process and progress across the GSA portfolio.'' FOCUS OF THE HEARING: The hearing will focus on the progress to date of SSA and GSA in using ARRA resources to replace the NCC, including the development of requirements for the new center, and the site selection process and criteria. The hearing will also evaluate SSA's and GSA's management of the potential for unexpected cost and delay. Finally, the hearing will examine SSA's preparedness in case of catastrophic failure of the existing NCC, including the role of the new data support center in North Carolina. DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS: Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov, select ``Committee Hearings''. Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, ``Click here to provide a submission for the record.'' Once you have followed the online instructions, complete all informational forms and click ``submit'' on the final page. ATTACH your submission as a Word or WordPerfect document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by close of business Tuesday, December 29, 2009. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721. FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS: The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee. 1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word or WordPerfect format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. 2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee. 3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons, and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness. The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above. Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov.
Chairman TANNER. We will come to order. I am informed that Mr. Johnson is entering the premises now. I have been assured-- we have a slight time problem here--that he has no objection to us going ahead. I know Ms. Holmes Norton's Ranking Member, has previously told us they would be running a little late. We will get started with our opening statements and then by that time hopefully Mr. Johnson will arrive. This is a joint oversight hearing that we have called. I want to welcome warmly Chairwoman Holmes Norton, who is our colleague on the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, the House Committee overseeing GSA. I told her a while ago she may be the only one in Congress who is home for Christmas. The rest of us will be in our dreams, I am afraid. This is a critical project. It is the largest and one of the most needed construction projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is the second hearing the Subcommittee on Social Security has had concerning the project. I want to welcome again Chairwoman Holmes Norton and thank her for all her work in this regard. We have some real questions. I am not going to read all of my opening statement because I want to give this panel an opportunity and Ms. Holmes Norton an opportunity to talk about their interest in it. I want to know why we are in such a time crunch here and what has happened. I want to ask about some of the decisions that have been made and why they were made as they were. We are up against a time line here because in January I am told we will have a decision made on a location for the new data center. I hope we have a productive hearing this morning. I think we will. [The prepared statement of the Honorable John Tanner follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.001 Ms. Holmes Norton, do you have an opening statement? Ms. NORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I am going to simply synopsize my opening remarks and ask that my full statement be placed into the record. I want only to say how pleased I am to sit with Chairman John Tanner and with the Ways and Means Committee in what amounts to a partnership between two agencies, General Services Administration, which comes under the jurisdiction of my Subcommittee, and of course, the Social Security Subcommittee. To have what amounts to a discussion of something that rarely happens in the Federal Government, where an agency gets a direct appropriation to do construction. The GSA is the Federal Government's expert construction and real estate agency. When it does, the agency which usually does not have particular expertise in construction, turns to the GSA, and the GSA is pleased that the Recovery Act has provided half a billion dollars to the Social Security Administration for a new National Computer Center, which we understand is very much needed. You are in an overloaded facility. You are in an energy inefficient facility which is costing the taxpayers needless dollars. I also want to say how important this large and important center is for job creation, which is an important element of the stimulus package. We are sure in Maryland where this is to be built and in the surrounding area, that part of the mission of these funds will be fulfilled. I thank you very much, Chairman Tanner. I yield back. [The prepared statement of the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.002 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.003 Chairman TANNER. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Mr. Johnson has joined us. Before I recognize him, I would like to ask unanimous consent that all opening statements be entered in the record in their entirety. [The prepared statement of the Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.004 [The prepared statement of the Honorable Betsy Markey follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.005 Chairman TANNER. Mr. Johnson? Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this important hearing and welcome our witnesses. Before I turn to the hearing subject, in light of the Social Security Subcommittee Chairman's recent retirement announcement, I want to take advantage of this opportunity to personally acknowledge and thank the Chairman for his long and distinguished service to this nation. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, the American people have truly benefitted from your leadership and I am proud to call you a good friend. Chairman TANNER. Thank you, sir. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. With about a year to go, I still look forward to working with you on this Subcommittee and thank you for all you have done. God bless you in whatever you try to do in the future. Turning to the focus of today's hearing, Social Security is at a critical crossroads. While this hearing may seem rather technical in nature, at heart, it is about Social Security being able to operate day in and day out for the American people. As our population ages, more workers and retirees are depending on Social Security's essential benefits and services that they paid for throughout their lives with their hard earned wages. Social Security's ability to deliver those services depends on its use of modern, secure technology that they and the American people can rely on. Yet Social Security's 30 year old National Computer Center that allows the Agency to process applications, pay benefits and store secure data for most U.S. workers is on its last legs. That is why Congress has given Social Security $500 million to build a new 21st Century center. In the meantime, however, should the current center fail, Social Security's recovery plan falls short. Currently, it would take a week to restart only some of the system's operations, and even then Social Security will only be operating at a third of its current level. Social Security reports it is making progress on plans to fully restore service delivery and protect Americans' personal information in the event of a major failure by bringing on line its back-up data center in North Carolina early next year. I look forward to hearing from Social Security in terms of what it is doing to ensure there is minimum disruption in service to the American people in the event of a system failure and the progress it is making to bring its North Carolina center on line. Replacing Social Security's outdated National Computer Center with a new support center is critical to maintaining and improving service delivery. Taxpayers are investing $500 million in this project. They rightfully deserve to know their investment will produce the right state-of-the-art center on time and within budget. It should not take seven years as we have been told. I thank the witnesses for joining us today and presenting their expert testimony and I yield back the balance of my time. [The prepared statement of the Honorable Sam Johnson follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.006 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.007 Chairman TANNER. Thank you, Mr. Johnson. Without objection, we will put all the opening statements in the record in their entirety. Ms. Brown-Waite, you are recognized. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I come from Florida and I represent a huge number of people on Social Security. I do not think I am number one in the nation. I think I am number two in the nation with people on Social Security. I know on Medicare, I am number one. One of the things that I believe taxpayers really bristle at is the slowness with which Government responds. The Social Security Administration--I know in previous years you have not had the funding that you needed. You have the funding now and to say it would take seven years to build is a little frightening, quite honestly. It is a disappointment to taxpayers and to those who have paid into Social Security. I am looking forward to hearing your testimony on what is being done to expedite the process while still being able to process those very necessary Social Security payments to individuals. I know that most people here did not come to hear us speak but rather to hear you speak, so with that, Mr. Chairman, I am going to yield back the balance of my time. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. We will have unanimous consent that all of the witnesses' statements be included in the record in their entirety, and we will ask the witnesses to please try to hold their statements to five minutes. Before we begin, I understand, Mr. Gray, you will be retiring and this is your last appearance before the Subcommittee on Social Security. Thirty-three years. Your service has been recognized by the Commissioners, Presidents and all of your peers, and we thank you. As Mr. Johnson was saying nice things about me, I am reminded of the fellow that was lamenting the fact that he would not be able to attend his own funeral because there would be so many nice things said about him, he said but I am going to miss it by three days. [Laughter.] Chairman TANNER. Mr. Gallagher, you are recognized for five minutes, sir. STATEMENT OF MICHAEL GALLAGHER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, OFFICE OF BUDGET, FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT, ACCOMPANIED BY BILL GRAY, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR SYSTEMS, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Mr. GALLAGHER. Thank you. Chairman Tanner, Chairwoman Holmes Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, and Members of the Subcommittees, good morning. I am Michael Gallagher, Deputy Commissioner for Social Security's Office of Budget, Finance and Management, and the Senior Accountable Official for Recovery Act funds. I am joined here today by Bill Gray, Deputy Commissioner for Systems. I am also pleased to be joined by Pat O'Carroll, our Inspector General. We work closely with his office as it plays a vital role in ensuring the thoroughness of our decision making and actions. On behalf of Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, I thank you for the opportunity to update you on the progress we have made working with the General Services Administration (GSA) in replacing our outdated National Computer Center (NCC) using the $500 million appropriated to us in the Recovery Act. First, we want to thank you for your prompt response after we informed you of our need for a new data center. Our new data center is needed to ensure that we can continue to perform our vital services for the American public. We collect benefit, earnings, and demographic information on virtually every American. Over the last decade, we have moved from a paper-based system to electronic processing of our core workloads. Currently, over 95 percent of our work is electronic. As new benefit applications continue to flood our Agency due to the economic downturn and the aging of the baby boomers, we are handling an all-time high of over 75 million electronic transactions per day. Without technology, we would be unable to manage this onslaught of work. In order to ensure that we get our technology right, we continually examine our needs and the available technology to fit those needs, not just today but in the future. For example, we have established an advisory committee of world-class IT experts from top universities, successful companies, and other agencies for the best technical advice to guide our future use of technology. Internally, we have strengthened the role and functions of our Chief Information Officer (CIO) to ensure that we have a transparent and long-term vision and a process is in place to make use of leading edge technologies. One of the three issues you identified for the hearing today was our preparedness in case of a catastrophic failure of the NCC, including the role of a new supplemental center in North Carolina. Let me briefly address that issue now. Currently, if our NCC went down, we would take our back-up tapes to a commercial hot site to recover data. This process would take seven days and would provide only about 25 to 30 percent of our capacity to run our most critical applications that we use to issue Social Security numbers and administer benefits. To remedy this, we established our North Carolina facility to act as both a co-processing center and as a disaster recovery resource. In January 2009, we took possession of the North Carolina facility and began equipping it to provide the day-to-day operations for about half of our systems. In May 2009, the North Carolina facility began limited production operations. Earlier this year, the Commissioner accelerated the purchase and installation of additional hardware and software for North Carolina to support our critical claims and data processing systems currently housed in the National Computer Center. In January 2010, next month, this equipment will be fully operational and will recover all of our critical systems from the back-up tapes in seven days instead of using the commercial hot site. By October 2010, we will be able to recover the entire NCC production operations in the North Carolina facility. By 2012, we will be able to restore all production in 24 hours and not seven days. Thus, we have a sound plan to provide continued service to the American people in the event of a catastrophic failure in the NCC. The other two issues identified for the hearing today relate to our efforts to construct and equip a new state-of- the-art data center on budget and on time with the right site and building criteria. As these two issues are interrelated, I would like to address them together. To begin the process of developing the requirements for the new data center, SSA and GSA assembled a project team of our most seasoned technical experts, including architects, engineers and security and systems experts. We placed a senior executive with substantial experience in site selection and project management in the lead of our effort. The team is adhering to all applicable procurement rules and is engaged in a rigorous comprehensive and critical review of our needs, business processes and available technology. We are following best practices for site selection, data center design and construction, as well as green technology and security requirements. We are consulting with industry experts and our efforts have included site visits to leading edge data centers in both the public and private sectors. In August 2009, GSA solicited expressions of interest to obtain a site for the new data center and is reviewing possible sites along with SSA. Although GSA possesses the legal authority for SSA to lease or purchase real estate and award contracts for the building construction, our relationship with GSA is one of true partnership. Working together, we are pleased to report that we are on time and on budget. We provide regular updates directly to Congress. GSA and SSA meet quarterly with staff members from the Social Security Subcommittee to brief them on our progress towards constructing this important data center, and we provide written monthly updates to Congressional leadership on our progress. Finally, Recovery.gov, our own Web site, ensures transparency by posting weekly updated information about our progress in meeting plan objectives including costs and milestones. None of this progress would have been possible without the support of these two Subcommittees. Thank you. I would be pleased to answer any questions. [The prepared statement of Michael Gallagher follows:] Prepared Statement of Michael Gallagher, Deputy Commissioner for Budget, Finance, and Management Chairman Tanner, Chairwoman Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, and Members of the Subcommittees: Good morning. I am Michael Gallagher, Deputy Commissioner for Social Security's Office of Budget, Finance, and Management and the Senior Accountable Official for Recovery Act funds. I am joined here today by Bill Gray, Deputy Commissioner for Systems. On behalf of Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, I thank you for the opportunity to update you on the progress we have made working with the General Services Administration (GSA) in replacing our outdated National Computer Center (NCC), using the $500 million appropriated to us in the Recovery Act. Our new data center, the National Support Center (NSC), will replace our 30-year-old NCC. This new facility will be state-of- the-art and incorporate green building technology. Before I explain our process for replacing the NCC and the safeguards we have established to deal with unexpected cost, delay, and the risk of catastrophic failure of the NCC, I will briefly describe the role and importance of information technology (IT) to the services we provide to the American public. An understanding of the ever- increasing role IT plays in our processes will put our needs for robust and reliable data repositories in perspective. Over the past three years, we have made a concerted effort to improve our service delivery by taking advantage of modern technology and the Internet, and have made fundamental changes in our use of IT. We have taken to heart the recommendations of the 2007 report by the National Academy of Sciences to modernize our IT infrastructure. We have established an advisory committee of world-class IT experts to guide our future use of IT, and we also have strengthened the role and functions of our Chief Information Officer (CIO). Technology Is Crucial to the Services We Provide We maintain benefit, earnings, and demographic information on virtually every American. Over the last decade, we have moved from a paper-based system to electronic processing of our core workloads. Currently, over 95 percent of our work is electronic. As new benefit applications continue to flood our agency due to the economic downturn and the aging of the baby boomers, we are handling an all-time high of over 75 million electronic transactions per day. Without technology, we would be unable to manage this onslaught of work. Technology has allowed us to provide faster and more accurate service to the American public. For instance, technology will allow us to fast-track about 140,000 disability applications this year, and we will award benefits, when appropriate, in those cases in a matter of days. Our new electronic disability case analysis tool, eCat, is improving the consistency and quality of our disability decisions. In addition, we maintain claims information in electronic folders, which allows us to move work to available resources and respond to catastrophic events like Hurricane Katrina. We maintain one of the world's largest repositories of imaged medical evidence, storing over 400 million medical records, to which we add nearly 3 million new records each week. We exchange over 2 billion data files annually with public and private entities for benefit management and homeland security purposes. We have embraced the need for more and better on-line services. With the launch of our new on-line retirement estimator, benefit application, and Medicare low-income subsidy application, we have emerged as the Federal Government's leader in on-line services. The public rated these three services the highest in the University of Michigan's satisfaction surveys. These new on-line service options have allowed us to weather the increased workloads due to baby boomers and the economic downturn without substantially increasing waiting times. We are not resting on our laurels. In 2010, we will introduce a Medicare-only on-line application, an improved disability application, and the first Federal Government Spanish-language on-line application. To help us achieve our IT vision for the future, we have established an advisory committee of world-class IT experts to reach outside of the agency for the best technical advice, which we use to guide our future use of technology. And internally, we have strengthened the role and functions of our Chief Information Officer (CIO) to ensure that we have a long-term vision, and the processes in place to make use of leading edge technologies. Our Office of the Chief Information Officer now has functional responsibility for: (1) Open Government to ensure transparency in our decisions, improving communication with the public, and providing authentication solutions that will create additional opportunities over the Internet; (2) Investment Management to oversee the agency's IT investment process; (3) Innovation to serve as our ``think tank'' for emerging technologies; (4) Vision and Strategy, so as to define our technology vision and establishing a long-term, architectural plan, and (5) Information Security, to develop a policy framework that effectively manages risk, and safeguards the personally identifiable information with which we are entrusted . To protect our sensitive data and continue to enhance our electronic services, we have worked with you and the Administration to address our need for data centers that support the rapidly expanding demand for electronic services. We first apprised you of this need in July 2008, and you quickly took action to allow us to replace our aging facility that is running out of capacity. We are grateful for your prompt response. Second Support Center SSC) Necessary for Our Electronic Environment For years, we have contracted with a commercial hot site to provide us with the ability to recover our data in the event of a disaster. As our use of technology has grown, this commercial site has become a less viable disaster recovery option. With nearly all of our business processes fully electronic, if the NCC were to go down, we would come to a near standstill while we recover our systems. If our NCC went down tomorrow, we would need to take backup our tapes to the commercial hot site in order to recover these data. This process would take 7 days and would provide only about 25-30 percent of our capacity to run the critical applications that we use to issue Social Security numbers and administer benefits. To remedy this issue, we sought a second support center, geographically separate from the NCC, now located in North Carolina. The initial vision of the second support center (SSC) was to serve as a co-processing center on a daily basis and back up the NCC in the event of a disaster or catastrophic systems failure. In the last year, we have accelerated and expanded the role of the SSC to address the vulnerabilities of our 30-year old NCC. In January 2009, we took possession of the SSC and began equipping it to function as a co-processing center that will provide the day-to- day operations for about half of our systems. It began production operations in May 2009 and now maintains medical images for the electronic disability folders and fully-redundant communications connections to our offices, to the Internet, and the NCC. Moving these workloads to the SSC reduced our disaster exposure from systems failure in the NCC. In addition, maintaining medical records at the SSC minimizes the down time of our disability systems. By 2012, we will synchronize data between both centers every hour. In the event of a disaster, we will be able to use these data to restore services within 24 hours. These data will be current to within one hour prior to the disaster. Recognizing that the timeframes for fully synchronizing the two centers would still leave us dependent on the commercial hot site in the event of a disaster through 2012, the Commissioner decided to accelerate the purchase and installation of the additional hardware and software necessary to support our critical claims and data processing systems housed in the NCC. This equipment will be fully operational by January, 2010, and a major protection for the American public, because we will be capable of recovering all our critical systems from the backup tapes at the SSC, instead of using the commercial hot site. While it would still take us 7 days to restore services, once services are up and running, we would be able to handle all critical claims and data processing workloads. In the near future, we will perform a disaster recovery exercise in the SSC to fully test our ability to recover completely. We are currently adding the facility infrastructure to the SSC to support important NCC workloads that are not critical to the payment of benefits. These workloads include management information, forecasting, cyclical, regional, and end-user developed applications. By October 2010, we will have the infrastructure needed to recover these services in the SSC. With these changes, we will be able to recover the entire NCC production operations in the SSC. (Please see the attached chart for additional details about our NCC disaster recovery capability timeline.) National Support Center Project Is on Track Our rapidly growing electronic business processes and service channels, as well as the tragic events of September 11, 2001, underscored the critical need for the SSC. At the same time we decided to pursue the SSC, we continued to make improvements to the NCC to deal with our growing workloads. The NCC was designed over 30 years ago. Technology has changed radically since then, and the NCC's infrastructure, including the building's cooling, electrical, and fire suppression systems, is not sufficient to fully accommodate current technologies. As a result, the infrastructure systems will not be capable of accommodating the information technology necessary to handle our increasing volumes of work, our new and expanded responsibilities, and our new ways of doing business. Our transition to full electronic processing of our core workloads and the growth of electronic service delivery over the last decade resulted in a dramatic increase in our need for data storage and network capacity. While we have modernized our hardware, we are facing finite limitations on our ability to distribute electrical power to our servers and mainframes. Updated servers and mainframes have significant electrical requirements. Until recently, each server required only one power supply to operate; now, a server requires two to four power supplies to function, which the NCC can accommodate at this time. The current facility's electrical panels will not accommodate the more than four power supplies that we will need to run servers in the future. We have undertaken important steps to continue the services of the current facility until the new data center is operating. As the NCC has aged, we have continuously upgraded and repaired structural, electrical, and data processing capabilities. Incrementally upgrading a facility of this kind is a best industry practice for maintaining facilities beyond their life cycle. We must incrementally repair these infrastructure systems because we cannot totally replace them in the existing NCC. To replace them, we would have to shut down the building completely for an extended period of weeks or months. Such a shutdown would result in an unacceptably long interruption of service to the public. We considered the possibility of renovating the existing building; however, renovations of this magnitude would require us to vacate the building and design and lease a facility to temporarily house the data and employees. The expense of doing this would be almost as costly as simply building a new, up-to-date data center and would create a risk of a major interruption in service and require relocation twice, incurring significant costs. Even if we could overcome the obstacles to repair and upgrade the NCC and its infrastructure, we would still have a building designed around a 1970s mainframe environment. In the seventies, redundant electrical, heating, and cooling systems were not state-of-the-art requirements for data centers. In addition, fire suppression systems were not designed to cover an entire floor. In short, the current facility will not be able to meet the industry standards for data centers in the future. In 2008, it was determined that a replacement facility was the most viable option and began the planning efforts with GSA. SSA cannot lease or purchase real estate, so we rely on GSA; and our relationship is one of partnership. GSA offers its expertise in real estate and building construction, and we offer our expertise in data center design and operations. Specifically, we work closely and constructively with GSA and its expert contractors throughout every stage of this process. Our most seasoned real estate professionals work side by side with their GSA counterparts. I assure you that both we and GSA are taking all appropriate steps to ensure that this partnership is successful. Our GSA/SSA project team includes architects, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, fire protection engineers, project managers, occupational safety and industrial hygiene experts, physical security experts, and network and IT engineers with knowledge and experience in our IT program requirements. We have great confidence in the site criteria and Program of Requirements that the team developed. The team is adhering to all applicable procurement rules and is following the best practices for data center construction. We and GSA are closely monitoring the planning and construction of the NSC to ensure mitigation of any unexpected challenges, and we are holding our executives and staff accountable for achieving the goals of this initiative. For example, as the Senior Accountable Official, I oversee and monitor overall progress. I also function as a liaison for the SSA executives who have lead responsibility for the planning and the execution of the project. We hold periodic meetings at both the executive and staff levels to discuss implementation status and any other issues that may arise. We also hold regular meetings internally and with GSA executives to review the status of the project. We have established performance measure targets that we will monitor in these status meetings. The joint project team is thoroughly analyzing our detailed list of technical specifications for all aspects of the NSC project to efficiently use taxpayers' dollars and minimize cost and schedule overruns. We have consulted with industry experts, such as Uptime Institute, to ensure we are implementing the most current data center standards. We have toured several existing data centers to learn about best practices. Our requirements for the new facility site are based on our business process and technology needs, and the security standards that are necessary given the sensitive data we maintain. In August 2009, GSA requested expressions of interest using the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. The notice contained mandatory requirements, such as a minimum of 35 acres suitable for development within 40 miles of our headquarters. It also included requirements to avoid increased project costs or a delayed schedule that could be caused by landfills, hazardous waste, or soil or water contamination on or near the site. The site cannot be located within 100 or 500 year flood plain and must have reasonable access to utilities, including fiber optic, power and water. After conducting research and consulting industry experts, we determined that the best practice to ensure continuous service to the public when we eventually migrate from the NCC to the new center would be to bring the systems in the NSC online incrementally. That would allow us to test their stability while continuing to operate the systems in the NCC in case something did not work properly. For example, the computer processes involved in adjudicating a benefit application actually ``talk'' to each other to verify and update the applicant's personal information on multiple systems. In order to properly maintain this interactivity, we need to use software that enables the synchronization of data bases with responsive systems performance. Available technology limits the separation of the transitioning systems to less than 100 kilometers. A site located within 40 miles of our headquarters assures us a lower risk transition that will not disrupt service to the public. The project team is currently evaluating the sites. GSA is also leading the development of the detailed Program of Requirements for building the NSC. GSA's contractor, Jacobs, is developing these requirements through interviews with technical experts. While this process is lengthy, a comprehensive and systematic approach to long-term planning will provide us with a facility that will meet our needs. Conclusion The SSC will allow us to recover all essential functions and systems associated with our primary mission while we make steady progress toward having our NSC fully operational in 2015. This state-of the-art facility will help us maintain the service the American public expects. None of this progress would have been possible without the support of these two subcommittees. We appreciate your advice and input as we work together to improve our computer systems and security. Again, we thank you for the Recovery Act funding and for your continued support for timely, adequate, and sustained funding. Chairman TANNER. Thank you very much. Mr. Hewell, you are recognized. STATEMENT OF ROB HEWELL, REGIONAL COMMISSIONER, MID-ATLANTIC REGION, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA Mr. HEWELL. Thank you, Chairman Tanner. Good morning, Chairman, Chairwoman Holmes Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, and members of the Subcommittees. My name is Rob Hewell. I am the Regional Commissioner of the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service in the Mid-Atlantic Region. I am pleased to have the opportunity today to discuss GSA's progress on behalf of the Social Security Administration in the delivery of the new Social Security Administration's national support center. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, SSA received a $500 million appropriation for a new national support center to replace the existing National Computer Center in Woodlawn. 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. With respect to site selection, GSA has 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 additional 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. With respect to 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 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 percent 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. 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. 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 we can deliver on schedule. 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 charrette 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 partnership 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 the American taxpayers. Along with SSA, we are happy to provide quarterly briefings to these Subcommittees as the project proceeds, and we are committed to working with you in the successful delivery of the national support center as part of the Recovery Act program. Chairman Tanner, Chairwoman Holmes Norton, Ranking Members Johnson and Diaz-Balart, Members of the Subcommittees, this concludes my statement. I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. [The prepared statement of Hewell follows:] [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.008 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.009 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.010 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.011 Chairman TANNER. Thank you very much. Mr. Inspector General, glad to have you back. You are recognized. STATEMENT OF PATRICK P. O'CARROLL, JR., INSPECTOR GENERAL, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Mr. O'CARROLL. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Madam Chairwoman, Mr. Johnson, and members of both Subcommittees. Thank you for requesting that I testify today and for your interest in this critical issue. The National Computer Center houses benefit data for SSA's 56 million beneficiaries and earnings data on every American. The importance of the NCC to SSA's operations and many other facets of American life, such as applying for a driver's license, cannot be overstated. A failure of the NCC would have devastating consequences. Unfortunately, the NCC is now 30 years old, and is rapidly approaching obsolescence. You recognized the need for replacement when you provided SSA with $500 million for this purpose in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Office of the Inspector General is committed to ensuring that SSA uses these funds wisely. Replacement of the NCC must be accomplished based on sound decision making and without unnecessary delays. SSA's experience in constructing the Durham Support Center, a co-processing site for the NCC, revealed the challenges that can cause delays. It took six years to take possession of the DSC, and the facility is still not fully functional. Replacing the NCC itself began in earnest in 2007 with a Lockheed Martin study completed in 2008. Lockheed Martin identified several NCC replacement options, but ultimately recommended that SSA construct a new NCC offsite. Based on this, it is our understanding that SSA plans to go forward with an offsite NCC within 40 miles of the main SSA campus, to maximize data transmission speed and limit employee commutes. SSA next asked GSA for a more detailed cost estimate, then engaged Booz Allen Hamilton to conduct an alternative analysis. Booz Allen recommended against locating the NCC on the SSA campus for reasons ranging from outages during construction to higher operational and maintenance costs than any other option. Thus, it has been consistently suggested that the off- campus option is the more efficient approach. Unfortunately, the OIG did not initially receive the information and documentation it needed to conduct an independent analysis of this issue. More recently, we obtained additional information from SSA and retained a contractor, Strategic e-Business Solutions or SeBS, which conducted a review of SSA's site selection process on our behalf. They found that SSA, working with GSA, had developed ``a highly sophisticated set of selection criteria which was used to evaluate general areas of consideration and prospective individual properties.'' However, they also found that questions remained concerning the process SSA used in creating a short list of priorities and properties. They recommended that SSA look more closely at the following factors: prospective energy costs, better methodology documentation, and early involvement of power providers and telcom providers. After SeBS completed this report, we asked that they take a closer look at the on-campus versus off-campus dichotomy. We were informed yesterday that they agree with two of our most significant concerns. First, there appears to have been confusion starting with the Lockheed Martin report as to purported six-year delays for land acquisition and zoning issues if an on-campus site was selected. While there may be some community-based issues if this option is chosen, there are no actual zoning issues and delays should be short-lived. Second, SeBS shares our concern that the comparison of the on-campus and off-campus options may not fully take into account how different each project is from the other. Comparing these two undertakings is much like comparing apples to oranges, and we remain unconvinced that many differences have been fully taken into account. The Office of the Inspector General looks forward to continuing to monitor SSA's efforts to use sound planning and due care in replacing the NCC. We will keep these Subcommittees fully informed of SSA's progress. I thank you again for your invitation to be here today, and I will be happy to answer any questions. Chairman TANNER. Thank you all for again being here and for testifying. We do have some questions. How did we arrive at this urgency that we are told that exists and that I believe exists where the time line is this tight? The North Carolina facility, I am told, still cannot function as a back-up for any sort of construction. We have been given a whole menu of reasons why the on- campus site is not acceptable, some of which changed. I must tell you I am upset about the situation we find ourselves in here. I want somebody to explain exactly where we are and how we got here and why we are having so much trouble when even 48 hours ago we got another reason why we cannot build on-campus. This thing is very, very loose in my opinion in terms of the way it is being handled. Who wants to try to respond? Mr. Gallagher? Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir. I think you raised a couple of different questions. I will try to take them in order. We began our deliberations on replacing the National Computer Center back in 2007, and that resulted in a report that Mr. O'Carroll referenced concluding that the NCC is a 30 year old building and needed to be replaced. We began discussions with GSA at that point and started to engage in the normal process for appropriations where we would get the prospectus and such working with GSA to replace that building, and I believe GSA actually had contracted with a firm called EYP to take a look at a possible lease issue, looking at various alternatives. We did receive, as Mr. O'Carroll said, two Booz Allen Hamilton reports. Then the passage of the stimulus bill gave us the $500 million, and we started in earnest to assemble the team to get things started, and on a rather aggressive schedule. As somebody mentioned before, we expect that later next month we actually will select a site for the National Support Center (NSC). In March 2010, we will purchase the site. In March of 2011, we will start the design and build construction. That alone, the design/build approach will help to accelerate the timeliness in the sense that there are pieces of it that we can start to build while also doing some of the design work. By October 2011, we will start the general construction on it. By October of 2013, we will be substantially complete on the construction of the facility. By November 2013, we will finish up the final commissioning and that will be completed in January 2014, and then the transfer of data from the current National Computer Center to the new facility will be completed in or about July of 2015. I believe we are on a rapid schedule to get that done. Chairman TANNER. I am told that the existing NCC is supposed to reach its electrical capacity in 2013, and you say 2015 is when we will be functional. What about that 24 month gap? Mr. GALLAGHER. Sir, let me address that. Actually as early as the Lockheed Martin report, we looked at the fact that we were at the greatest risk starting about 2012 and going forward. We saw actually a couple of different contemporaneous items to mitigate that risk while we are building the new National Support Center. One of our biggest issues that we identified was our uninterrupted power system. That is we need to be able to take the wholesale power we get from the electric company and clean it up so we can go ahead through generators and switching gears and to make it into useable electricity. In addition, we recognize that the current NCC contains old pieces of equipment and that we were running out of spare parts, and our maintenance contract was going to end at the end of 2012. One of the things we did is we bought all the spare parts we could to have them on hand. We were able to extend the maintenance contract through 2015 so we could keep that going. We actually did replace a number of feeder cables and some of the panels that actually handle the transfer of cables up to the data center area so we would have that in place. We did some other things as far as updating and retrofitting some of the other electrical cables so we could mitigate the risk we would have, so we would have confidence that we would be able to get to that 2015 date. I would say that the North Carolina facility also plays a part in that mitigation in the sense that it will be up and running in phases to take on additional workloads, to take that off the campus location, so we could reduce the ever increasing demand for power, we could actually lessen that, and that was part of risk mitigation as well. That combination of North Carolina being up and taking on some of those workloads plus some of the continual maintenance that we were doing to get things updated would help us mitigate that risk. Chairman TANNER. I want to give the other members of the panel time. Tell me again how you went about determining that an on-campus site was not feasible. We have been told various things for over a year now it seems. In fact, we were told that at one time there was a zoning problem out there, which is almost ludicrous. Where are we on that? Why? Mr. GALLAGHER. With respect to the campus, we looked at the campus and actually made a presentation to the Commissioner back on or about the first of August 2008 on various possible sites. He actually pushed back on us about not putting it on- campus. We talked about the areas that we were looking at for the campus. Our view was that the topography and the actual envelope did not present itself as a good site for it. There were two pieces that really led to that. One, sir, we made an error on the zoning issue. We had deliberated that it could take up to 72 months for zoning. That was set forth in the contract reports. That was an error. We should not have relied upon a 72 month period for zoning. Zoning and land use actually is part of the study that will go on as far as an assessment on it, but we did make a mistake there. The other issue we had is that we looked at the building envelope. Our thought that the best place based upon the topography was a place on the large parking lot that houses thousands of spaces for our employees. In order to do that, we thought we would have to build a parking garage before we would be able to begin digging for the computer center. That could take 18 to 24 months. It was our view that this was a project that needed to be shovel ready, that we needed to act with all the speed we could. We wanted to eliminate risk to any delay in getting that built, so we made the recommendation to the Commissioner and he did push back on us, so our initial thought back in 2008 was the campus was not the right place for it. Last month, as a result of some questions from the Committee, GSA and SSA revisited that issue, and GSA took a thorough look, re-look, at the viability of the campus for that location. I heard as well as I think some of your Committee staffers heard this past Friday about their review of the usefulness of the campus location. With your permission, perhaps Mr. Hewell could address the assessment of that. Chairman TANNER. I am a business guy. If I was in business and I had a campus like this, I think I could figure out how to utilize it. Mr. Hewell? Mr. HEWELL. It is difficult to figure out where to start. There have been a number of studies done on this campus and on this project. They have been used in different ways. Some of the early ones were intended for a lease solution which produces different issues than a federally owned solution. Relying on contractors sometimes produces impressions that are wrong such as the zoning one. There is clearly not a zoning issue on federally owned land. Chairman TANNER. Who was the contractor? This is almost ludicrous as a reason for not proceeding because of a zoning problem. Mr. HEWELL. I bring it up just to say that it is clear mistakes have been made. We went back after our last meeting with the Committee and we were asked how the existing site compares to the site criteria that we were using for the site selection. We went back and took the campus and ran it through the same process that we have used to evaluate over 150 sites. We briefed Committee staff last week on this for four or five hours, and I do not propose to take that much time today. I would just like to offer you sort of a summary of it. Our conclusions--we did a number of things. We looked at the topography of the site, the land use around the site, the incoming electrical service, the needs for other things, the associated spaces including parking associated with the data center. We did several test fits in different places on the site to see how well the data center would fit there. It is incorrect to say that the data center cannot be built on the existing campus. It clearly can be. In our opinion, it is not the best solution. I think there is a presumption that using the existing campus would save so much money in land costs that we should do it for cost reasons. There is no identifiable cost advantage to being on the campus. It will probably cost more because of the need to create parking garages or structured parking of another kind, which will actually cost more than the cost of acquiring a site. There is clearly an increased complexity both in design and in construction that will add to the schedule. It is much easier to design and build a project on a green field site that is leveled, that does not have the surrounding complications of the campus. There are topography issues on the site that will clearly limit what we can do. It is not impossible to build it there. It will be quicker and cheaper to build it somewhere else. Chairman TANNER. How many cars are you talking about in this parking garage? Mr. HEWELL. Offhand, I do not know, if you will give me just a second, I can get you an answer. Chairman TANNER. You are telling me a parking garage is the problem? They built parking garages for every football and baseball stadium in this country. They built a big stadium right beside the old one in Atlanta. You are telling me you cannot build because it is so expensive to build a parking garage out there that you have to move? Mr. HEWELL. No. It is not impossible to build. It will be more expensive to build those garages than it will be to---- Chairman TANNER. How many cars are you talking about? Mr. HEWELL. To do surface parking on a flat site. Chairman TANNER. How many cars are you talking about? Mr. HEWELL. Just one second. The existing NCC has 760 parking spaces. The NSC will require an additional 300. That is over 1,000 parking spaces. The construction cost for that is roughly $20,000 per square foot--per space. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. Mr. O'Carroll, would you comment, please? Mr. O'CARROLL. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Our biggest concern has been the documentation. Part of the job of an Inspector General is to be able to examine documents and then provide feedback. This has been a fairly confusing issue over the last few months because we have gotten information from four different contractors with costs ranging anywhere from about $200 million to $800 million. We are talking buildings without computers, buildings with computers, et cetera. It has been very confusing for us to sort through these apples and oranges estimates. What we are looking at is the decision process that was made first on not considering the current NCC property and instead looking at other properties. We have been trying to compile that information. We have hired a contractor, SeBS, who has been requesting these documents. It has been enlightening, as they are asking for these different documents, and we are getting some documents months after decisions are made. We are sorting through them all right now. We are really just waiting to get our report back from the contractor. We got an initial report back yesterday with some preliminary information. I have to say our contractor at this point has found the offsite solution could be viable. We are looking very closely at that. We are still skeptical and we are still waiting for all the documents. Chairman TANNER. One final thing. Mr. Hewell, could you give us the analysis for the record that you have gone through of this parking garage and the on and off-campus proposals? Do you have one? I assume you have some sort of analysis about why one is better than another. Can you submit that for the record? Mr. HEWELL. The cost analysis is fairly straightforward. The cost of acquiring land, our current estimate for that is about $12 million. The cost of structured parking for the number of spaces that we need to deal with would be a little bit more than twice that. Chairman TANNER. Do you have an analysis of that we could see, or are you just telling me? Mr. HEWELL. We will prepare it for you, sir. Chairman TANNER. All right. Thank you. Ms. Holmes Norton, you are recognized. Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, first I want to say I thank you for your line of questions because I am perplexed, and Mr. Hewell, you know there is a strong presumption of building on Government owned land, a commonsense presumption, it is a presumption that can be overcome but not very easily. Your Agency is about to build on the old St. Elizabeth campus. It is not an optimum site. It is not in the middle of Washington. It is not close to the Capitol. Guess what? The Government of the United States owns that land. Uncle Sam owns this land. We are going to build on land we own. I listened carefully to Chairman Tanner's questions for how you overcame the presumption, a very strong presumption, in favor of building on your own land with by the way considerable land, I understand, at the site, rather than as you seem to believe should happen, going and buying land to build near the site. I think you have to explain to us and to the Ways and Means Committee why this is a rare instance where given existing land, where there is room to build, you are asking the taxpayers to buy you some more land and then build a new facility. Mr. HEWELL. Thank you for the question. There were several reasons why we came to the conclusion that a new site would be preferable to building on the existing campus site. Ms. NORTON. Excuse me, I have to stop you there. It is preferable for me to build a house on land I do not own because I like that land, because I could do it more easily. I want to know given all of the considerations, particularly the strong consideration of existing federally owned land, how you overcame that. Not what is preferable. It might be preferable to build it anywhere, but comparing building on-site, on land you owned, how did you overcome the presumption that you were well aware of, Mr. Hewell, from your GSA experience, how did you overcome that presumption? We spend our lives preferring one thing over another, but that it was essential to build off site and to acquire land in order to do so. Mr. HEWELL. The conclusions that we came to, let me just run down those really quickly. Any savings in land cost is overcome by additional project costs created by building on the site. Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I am going to ask that a detailed analysis based upon those conclusions be given to this Committee and to our Subcommittee. I have seen no analysis, Mr. Chairman, to indicate that it flies in the face of the usual situation where the opposite is the case. I am aware of the topography there. I am also aware that GSA knows how to build on all kinds of topography. Look at what you are going to be doing at the old St. Elizabeth's site where the topography is anything but made to be built upon. Mr. HEWELL. We are not contending that it is impossible to do it. We are contending that it will cost more and take longer. Ms. NORTON. I will end this line of questioning by saying if a detailed analysis---- Mr. HEWELL. We will be happy to provide that analysis. Ms. NORTON. Some of the issues that arise in building would certainly not arise if you built on the site. Public transportation. I take it public transportation is near a site you are considering? Mr. HEWELL. There is limited public transportation at the majority of sites that were offered to us. Ms. NORTON. I have a GSA estimate here of $396 million. Why is that so much higher than the Lockheed Martin estimate of $172 million? Mr. HEWELL. I am sorry, Madam Chairman. I do not understand. Ms. NORTON. We understand that GSA estimated a cost of $396 million and Lockheed Martin's study was very much lower. Mr. HEWELL. The Lockheed Martin study was preliminary. Ours is much later and much more comprehensive. Ms. NORTON. What LEED rating will this building have? Mr. HEWELL. We are seeking a minimum of a silver rating. Ms. NORTON. That is good. What about the old discussion, if you really want to get into controversy when you are building, you mess with the delineated area. Is that straightened out, so that we are not carving out part of what would be a natural area and saying wherever we build, that area cannot be considered the old redlining technique that the GSA is famous for? Mr. HEWELL. As far as we know, the delineated area is a 40- mile radius of the campus. Ms. NORTON. On our own Subcommittee, we have been doing hearings in order to see whether or not one of the major points of the money you have received--you probably would not have gotten this money except for the collapse of the economy and the need to stimulate jobs. When are we going to get to the point where you can report to those committees that jobs are in fact being created, are they being created? You say you are on time and on budget. How much money has been spent and obligated? Mr. HEWELL. I would have to get back on you on to how much money has been spent to date. It has been mostly on the cost of doing studies and doing planning. Ms. NORTON. You see the problem, the administration and this Committee is going to be held accountable for whether or not there will be jobs produced. What does ``on time, on budget'' mean? When are you going to be making jobs? Mr. HEWELL. The substantial portion of the jobs that are created by this project will begin on or around October 2011 with the start of general construction. There will be obviously other people employed before that in the design process, but the numbers will be much smaller than the construction. Ms. NORTON. When will the building be completed? Mr. HEWELL. From our perspective, before IT migration, it will be completed by October 2013. Ms. NORTON. Finally, the design/build option, you need to explain why GSA has chosen the design/build option as opposed to the advantages and disadvantages as opposed to other ways that GSA builds, because GSA does not usually build/design build. Mr. HEWELL. The primary reason for using design/build in this case is that---- Ms. NORTON. Explain what ``design/build'' is. Mr. HEWELL. I am sorry. In the traditional construction project, we contract for design separately. We get a complete design and then we compete that design for construction. In a design/build project, we hire one contractor to do both the design and the construction. It saves us time in procurement because we do one procurement instead of two, and in general, because the contractor can start construction before design is complete, we often find the design/build produces a shorter schedule. That was the primary reason for using it in this case. Ms. NORTON. That is certainly understandable. Finally, the GSA isn't very good in my experience in keeping public controversy from developing around projects. Have you a program of public outreach so as to avoid public controversy? Mr. HEWELL. Absolutely. One of the criteria that we are using in the site selection is to try and find a site that we believe would not cause much public disruption in order to make the environmental process easier and quicker. Ms. NORTON. We certainly know on-campus would not cause much public disruption or much public controversy, since you would be building on your own land, sir. Mr. HEWELL. In order to build on our land, there are some private properties that are sprinkled around the campus that would probably have to be acquired. Ms. NORTON. What does that mean? You are talking about you would have to build on land you do not own as well? Mr. HEWELL. Most of the potential test fits of the facility would require the acquisition of individual homesteads that are sprinkled throughout the eastern side of the campus. There would be some issues with respect to acquisition. Ms. NORTON. Again, as part of your analysis, I think you need to submit that analysis to the Chairman and to our Subcommittee. Mr. HEWELL. We will be happy to do that. Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. Mr. Johnson. Mr. Diaz-Balart, welcome. We have asked unanimous consent that any opening statements be submitted to the record in their entirety. Mr. Johnson. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, following that line of questions, what would be the cost of condemning or buying those houses that are private on that property as compared to what you are doing now or thinking about doing? Mr. HEWELL. I do not know what the cost of acquiring those---- Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. You have not looked at it yet; is that correct? Mr. HEWELL. Yes, we would need to do appraisals and that kind of thing. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Tell me who makes the final decision regarding the location. Is it GSA, SSA, OMB or all three? Mr. HEWELL. The correct answer is probably all three. The project team, which is primarily both SSA and GSA, will come to a conclusion and make a recommendation to the Commissioner of SSA who will, I guess, do thumb's up or thumb's down, and if it is thumb's up, he would report that decision to OMB and ultimately to Congress. I have been asked that question before and I do not actually know the answer. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. If you have been asked the question before, you ought to go find out the answer. Mr. HEWELL. The authorities seem to be multiple. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Then you need to deal with all those agencies; is that true? Mr. HEWELL. Yes, that is true. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Would it cost less to buy up those houses and put the building on that property than what you are talking about? Mr. HEWELL. The site acquisition costs for those properties at the existing campus would I am sure be less than the cost of acquiring a new site. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. That is interesting. Mr. HEWELL. The cost of developing the existing campus for this project would exceed the cost of developing that in an open green field site with flat topography. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I am not sure that we can guarantee that thing will be built on time and on budget. Can you guarantee that? Mr. HEWELL. We are very confident about that, sir. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Are you? Mr. HEWELL. Yes. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. We have not been able to do that in the past. Mr. HEWELL. If I may speak for my regional office, sir, we have a long history of being on time and on budget. We are very proud of it. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. That is why you stick it way out there to 2015, you can make that. Mr. Gallagher, you say next October you will have the infrastructure in Durham to recover and run the entire operations through the computer center. Why did you decide to build a new computer center instead of using Durham as a primary site? Mr. GRAY. Mr. Johnson, maybe I can answer that for you. The reason that we cannot just move our workloads to Durham while we are building a new data center to replace our current one is that if we did that, we would be in exactly the same situation that we are in today where, if we had a disaster, we would have to back-up at our commercial hot site, which is inadequate for a disaster. If we can maintain two data centers throughout this entire effort, we can make sure that if we have a disaster, we can recover all of our workloads at either one. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I understand that idea. Why can you not make Durham the primary center and the one up here a back- up? Mr. GRAY. Because neither one is a primary and a back-up. Both of them are co-processing centers today. Half of our workloads run at Durham. Half of our workloads run in the National Computer Center. In the event of a disaster, either one would take over for the other. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Is the Durham center modernized? It doesn't use COBOL; is that true? Mr. GRAY. Yes, sir. It is modernized. The workload that is there is on modern computers. There is some code that we run that is COBOL code that runs both in the National Computer Center and in North Carolina. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Why has it taken us 13 years or more to get off that COBOL system? Mr. GRAY. Well, first of all, the issue here is that you could just hire someone to convert that COBOL code---- Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I think Microsoft could do it overnight. Mr. GRAY. I do not know if they could do it overnight but certainly they could do it much faster. The issue here is that if we did that, if we just converted the code to another, we would maintain the same problems in our systems that we have today. Let me give you an example. You are very familiar with the fact that today, we are replacing 54 COBOL systems that run in our DDS', independent systems. If we were to just convert that code, we would end up with 54 web based systems all independent, all hard to change, all the problems that we have today. Instead, as we are going forward and replacing the COBOL code, we are modernizing our systems, we are redesigning them so that we really have more flexibility, for example, in the DDS systems, not only will there be one single web based system that can be changed overnight, but in addition to that, we will be able to integrate health information technology. It will be able to integrate case analysis tools. We will really have a more robust system serving us for the 21st Century than if we were just to convert that code from one language to another. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Do you agree with that, Mr. O'Carroll? Mr. O'CARROLL. Mr. Johnson, our concerns are with the speed with which the Agency is moving forward with conversion of the COBOL. As it stands now, it is in the plans, and as Bill just mentioned with the DDSs, but when you are looking at the major systems of SSA, we are seeing no major progress in converting that COBOL language. Our concern, and what I think should be the concern of everyone, is as we are building this new computer center, wherever it is built, that we look into the future and do some long range planning, and look out 20 years and see what type of technology is going to be needed, and take that into consideration. I use the example of buying a brand new limousine and putting a golf cart engine in it. We should be making sure that the best of technology is being used in the location as well as in the data systems. Mr. GRAY. Mr. Johnson, I agree that we ought to be looking ahead to the best technologies that are available. I would just say to you that over the last several years, we have made a lot of progress in moving into modernized systems. Our databases that house information, benefit data, two-thirds of that data has now been moved into a modern industry standard database. Forty percent of the COBOL code we had is now running in modern languages. I think we are making progress as we move along. I just think it is more difficult in some cases as we redesign our systems. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. It is awfully slow. I think today's computers all over the world share information with each other and yours do not seem to want to. Let me ask Mr. Hewell, did you analyze and concur with Social Security's rationale for a 40 mile radius or did you just accept it? Mr. HEWELL. I guess the quickest answer to your question is that we accepted it. We looked at their rationale for it. It seemed to make sense. The rationale was a technical one. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Yes, but it would not be a problem if we put it on the current site, would it? Mr. HEWELL. That would not be a problem. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I think that is another reason for doing that. Are you saying, Mr. Gallagher, let me ask you, that by October, Durham is going to be able to recover all the systems? Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. October of this year? Are you telling me it is going to be until October next year before we can recover all the systems? Mr. GRAY. Sir, maybe I can help you. In January, in a couple of weeks, the North Carolina site will be able to recover all of our critical production systems, which are the payment systems. In October, we will also be able to recover the non- critical systems, which are some of the regional workloads, some of the management information, some of the forecasting workloads that are not as time sensitive to bring up. In reality, the systems that this country relies on to be available will be able to be recovered in North Carolina starting in just a couple of weeks. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. In October of next year? Mr. GRAY. In January. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. That is only a couple of weeks away, you know. Mr. GRAY. Yes, that is what I am saying. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. By January, we have full capability on our Social Security system and we will not lose anything except what you just talked about? Mr. GRAY. Yes, sir. All critical production systems we would be able to recover in North Carolina. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. We would not have to stop Social Security checks or disability checks; is that true? Mr. GRAY. That is true, sir. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I am glad to know that. Mr. Gallagher, you also talk about the strengthened role of your Chief Information Officer is to ensure that you have a long term vision and a process in place to make use of leading edge technologies. Is this position that you are talking about a political appointee, and if that is such an important thing, why is he not testifying here today? Mr. GALLAGHER. The new Chief Information Officer is a political appointee, but is not in a position that requires confirmation by the Senate. We have only three Senate-confirmed positions which are the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and then we have the Inspector General as well. Mr. Baitman joined us earlier this year. He is actually seated behind me. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Has he signed off on your decisions concerning the national support center, the new location? Mr. GALLAGHER. He has been involved in meetings. I believe he attended the meeting on Friday. He has raised some questions which is rightly so, because we look for him to be a critical thinker. I met with the Commissioner last night where we expressed to him or I expressed to him along with the chief of staff the results of Mr. Hewell's study, and the Commissioner has decided that we need to have this shovel ready. He wanted to proceed as we initially had outlined about moving forward. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. How many GSA staff are assigned to you for help in this deal? Mr. GALLAGHER. Sir, I actually do not have that number. In a project that is a joint project, I guess I am hesitant to use the word ``assigned.'' I would defer to Mr. Hewell about how many folks are actually from his shop that are working on the project, if that would answer your question. Mr. HEWELL. In one capacity or another, we have about a dozen people from GSA assigned to the project, and then of course, there are additional contractors assigned. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. How many consultants and contractors have been involved in the process so far and did you hire them or did somebody else hire them? Mr. HEWELL. The consultants we are using we hired. Let me just get a number for you. We have two consulting firms working for us. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. You coordinate with them every day? Mr. HEWELL. Several times; yes. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Okay. What do they think about the location? Mr. HEWELL. They were part of the study. They are in full agreement that it should be off site. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Can you give us about ten reasons why you cannot use the existing site? Mr. HEWELL. As I said earlier, sir, I would not tell you that you cannot use it. I would tell you there are reasons why it makes more sense to use a different one. Those reasons are-- -- Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. I think Ms. Holmes Norton was right on when she asked, ``What are we doing buying more property for the Federal Government when we have a site that large?'' Mr. HEWELL. If I may, sir, the actual developable area of the site is smaller than it looks. What is developable is fairly critically sloped which makes development on the site more expensive and more complicated. Most of the flat area on the existing campus is currently developed. As we expand construction on the campus, we would be building on existing parking lots and creating structured parking in other places at the expense of that. It also requires that we phase construction which affects schedule on the site of anything that we do. If we do something for the computer center on the existing site, we would be taking away some of the possibility of further developing the site in the future for additional office related space, like what is on the campus now. That actually in our opinion would be a mistake because we already have a lot of leased square footage in buildings that kind of ring the campus, and for long term, we would like to see that become Government owned because this is clearly a facility that will be around. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. One of the questions that has not been asked is what do you intend to do with the existing building? Are you going to demolish it? Mr. HEWELL. The existing building would probably be ultimately converted to office space. We need to do further study on it. There is a chance it would be torn down. The likelihood is that it would end up being converted. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Are you going to get rid of all that wiring that is in there right now? Mr. HEWELL. We would certainly have to get rid of some of it; yes. Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Ms. Holmes Norton. Ms. NORTON. I just wanted to say in light of both Mr. Johnson's questions and your questions, for the record, on the St. Elizabeth's site, we do have something to compare with here, that is the biggest construction going on in the United States today. We own the land. The Chairman was concerned about the parking lot, about parking, and whether or not you needed to have a flat surface. I just want to say that at the old St. Elizabeth's site, they simply dug into a hill and they are putting parking right on that site. Again, in keeping with the presumption in favor of building on land you own. Your notion that you have to have a flat site in order to park---- Mr. HEWELL. Most of the construction that is going on at St. Elizabeth's is office space, which can be---- Ms. NORTON. I am talking about the parking lot. I am talking about the parking. There is parking. This is a sloped area. This is an area full of historic buildings and still the Government is so concerned that we build on existing land that we are re-using the historic buildings rather than taking the whole facility off site. That is how strong there is a presumption of building on your own land, even using--these are old, old buildings, not only old buildings, buildings that we used for everything from clinics to dormitories. Because they are historic, the Government is willing to spend some money to in fact re-use them because they are on land we own. Again, Mr. Chairman, I have not heard in your call for specific analyses, particularly given the fact that we have some time, it is very important before we do what frankly -- I will ask you, Mr. Hewell, do you know of any other instance where the Government has owned land but has decided to buy land instead of using land it owned? Mr. HEWELL. The answer to that is surely yes, but I can't give you---- Ms. NORTON. You are going to have to--I do respect precedent. If you give me examples given GSA's long history of building, I think it would be---- Mr. HEWELL. We will look for some precedence. Madam Chairman, I ask you to realize also that we are talking about a computer center and not office space here. The construction needs of a computer center are different. This is a big flat building. We are also talking about a need for speed. I have heard that from all of you today. Building on the campus will present difficulties that we will not experience elsewhere that will affect the schedule. Chairman TANNER. How many acres are out there on the campus? Mr. HEWELL. 270. Chairman TANNER. You said earlier that it was not cost effective to build there because you had to build a parking garage. You have surface parking now, and you cannot find in 270 acres other surface parking if you use the campus? Mr. HEWELL. The large majority of the space in that 270 acres that is flat, the easiest to build on, is either covered currently with buildings or parking lots. Chairman TANNER. You are saying you cannot build a surface parking lot on a hill? Mr. HEWELL. You can certainly build parking on a hill. It requires excavation and foundation work. Chairman TANNER. Would that be cheaper than a parking garage? Mr. HEWELL. Structuring parking whether it is a garage or not is comparably priced. The area to the north of the existing data center, as an example, has something like a 60 foot elevation on it, between where the current data center and the property line is, which is roughly six stories. We are dealing with some significant topography. Chairman TANNER. Mr. Diaz-Balart? Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am from Florida. I do not have a dog in this fight as far as one place or another. I am concerned obviously about making sure that the safety issue has to be paramount. Also, regardless of what has happened in the past or what will happen, safety is paramount. I think you all will agree with that. You mentioned speed. Speed is important because of costs. I know it is also part of job creation which is supposed to be a stimulus. Also, cost is paramount in my opinion. Let me ask you the following, which is less expensive, to keep it on-site or to move it to a new location? Number two is which is safer for everything that it entails to keep it on- site or to move it to a new location, and third, which is related to the expense, which is faster, to keep it in this location or to move it to a new location? Mr. HEWELL. My answer to those three questions would be the outside solution in all three cases. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. The off site solution is less expensive? Mr. HEWELL. We believe it would be less expensive. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Any idea how much less expensive? Mr. HEWELL. I do not believe our studies are developed enough to give you that answer specifically. We know the cost we would incur to go off site as opposed to stay on-site would be the cost of acquiring land. That cost is roughly $12 million. The additional cost we will incur on the existing campus to deal with the things that we have been talking about will in our opinion exceed that. I am a little afraid to throw out any numbers because I do not know that we have developed them that much. The cost of dealing with the topography to build either a building or parking will exceed that $12 million cost. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. In your opinion, it would be less expensive to build elsewhere than on the current site? Mr. HEWELL. We believe so. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. It would be great if you could give us something regarding that. Mr. HEWELL. We will develop that analysis. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. That is crucial. Again, we should not be talking about theories here. We should know. Again, we would like to see and I think the Committee would like to see that, as the Chairman has just said off microphone, an analysis of price differences between off-campus and on the current location. Number two is speed. I would also like to see, Mr. Chairman, if possible, an analysis of which one would happen quicker, if that is at all possible. Mr. HEWELL. It is possible and we will produce that. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. The third one which is paramount, obviously--I said I do not have a dog in this fight except for the fact that we all need to make sure that safety is paramount. We need to make sure people continue to get their checks and that information is not lost or whatever. Do you have an analysis on what the impact on safety of the information would be, the potential risk of putting it on- campus versus off? Mr. HEWELL. The analysis would go something like this. If we build a facility off site, we will not run any risk of a backhoe running into existing wiring or something like that which we may or may not know about. If we build on-site, we will certainly do everything we can with respect to the plans that we have for what is underground and that sort of thing already, but the risk exists for something to happen. It happens on construction jobs all the time. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Particularly with an old facility where-- -- Mr. HEWELL. Where the plans from 30 years ago are not necessarily up to date or findable. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, what I would like is as much as possible if you could get us answers to those three questions as specific as possible, as accurate as possible. Mr. HEWELL. We will take a shot at it. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Great. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. NORTON. Mr. Diaz-Balart, you asked a question that was very important here about safety. In the analysis they are getting to the Committee on safety, an analysis of the kinds of offsets that would be required. Once you acquire new land, which is not already protected as this land is, you then will have to erect a whole new set of security procedures which have to be figured into the cost. It raises costs and certainly for the Social Security system raises real safety issues in security terms. Mr. HEWELL. The offset for the perimeter security will actually not be a great deal less because that same security would need to be done on the campus. The campus itself is not secured to the level that the data center area needs to be. There are setbacks and things that are associated just with that facility. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. If I may, Mr. Chairman. Chairman TANNER. Yes. Mr. DIAZ-BALART. I think my Chairwoman had a very important point. I think we need to have some answers and we need to have those as specific as possible and as timely as possible. I appreciate if you could do that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. Ms. Brown-Waite? Ms. BROWN-WAITE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Hewell, I travel back and forth in my District every week, and sometimes at the airport, I meet some of the most interesting people. Are you aware that GSA actually has contracted with an organization that has expertise in putting up commercial buildings and has sought their advice? Are you aware of such a contract? This is a consulting contract on how GSA can build better, faster and cheaper. Are you aware of such a contractor? Mr. HEWELL. I have to say no, I am not. My purview is the regional office. What you are describing sounds to me like a national office contract. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. If I could make a suggestion. I have seen this person several times at the airport, and I am naturally interested in saving taxpayer dollars. This consultant has come up with a plan. They believe that various buildings could be constructed in half the time at half to two-thirds of the current cost. Obviously, GSA was amazed at this. It seems to me as if in private industry, there is a deadline, and cost overruns are very seldom allowed because they hold the feet of the contractors to the fire and get the construction done very quickly. I strongly advise you to follow up and get the information that has been supplied to GSA. Government workers, we are shocked, tried to shoot holes in the proposal, but were really unsuccessful because it works. I would really strongly suggest that you follow up on this with the main office. The other question that I have is how do you think other than this private contractor that Congress could help you speed up this process? The whole building process. Mr. HEWELL. For all of the 35 years or so that I have worked for GSA, we have continuously looked for ways to do that, and we have actually made significant improvement. We do over 95 percent of our business in terms of dollars spent through contractors. We talk to them all the time about many things. I would like to take this opportunity to say that in terms of dealing with the SSA issue at hand, Congress has certainly helped us a lot already by appropriating the funds for this project as quickly as they did. If I might get the name of this contractor that you were talking about after the hearing, I would like to do that. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. I have a briefing I have to go to but I will make sure my staff gets it to you. Mr. HEWELL. Thank you very much. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. I have a question for Mr. O'Carroll. Mr. O'Carroll, what do you think is the most important lesson that can be learned from the building of the secondary data center in Durham, and how can we apply this lesson to the new construction of the National Computer Center? We were originally told that the building would take six years. It took eight years. Should we really believe that the building that we are discussing today will be constructed on time? Mr. O'CARROLL. Congresswoman, that is a very good question. All of these questions are interesting. One of the responsibilities of being the Inspector General is remaining independent. With all the discussions of the tour on Friday, we are usually not invited to those events. We do not go along, but we review the documentation afterwards. It is sort of the same thing that happened with the Durham Support Center. We took a look at the overruns, and we went down there twice. Once, we went down with the Agency to do a walk-through. Afterwards, our auditors went down and we took a look at the pitfalls that occurred as they were building the Durham Support Center. We identified those issues and wrote a report that is available. We are optimistic that a lot of the mistakes and a lot of the issues on the overruns in Durham, now that they are known, should be avoided in any of the planning going forward. I have to say we are impressed with the way that Durham has progressed. We were impressed with the flexibility, because nine months ago, it did not have the capability of redundancy that it now will have. That is partly a result of our report in which we noted on the disaster recovery that not enough resources were put into Durham. They are included now and we are looking at that for the future. I think the mistakes that were made and valuable lessons learned, Durham should help going into the future. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. Mr. Chairman, if I could ask one followup question to Mr. O'Carroll. Mr. O'Carroll, when you say not enough resources, could you elaborate a little bit on that? Not enough staff? Help me out here. Mr. O'CARROLL. Yes. Having made the visit down there, we found the facility is in a rural area. It was away from a lot of the resources that were needed. I think in terms of, as we discussed here, the infringing area, they needed a lot of real estate development. It was initially interesting. When Durham was first selected, it was going to be for redundancy, but with funding and other issues, it became a secondary site as opposed to being a redundant site. I have to say in some ways, it was probably a reduction in funding, why the decision was made to make it a secondary site as opposed to a redundant site. Now, with more resources devoted to it, it is now redundant, so it is going to have that capability in January that Mr. Gray mentioned, being able to replicate many of the same processes that are done in Baltimore. On resources, it means you are going to have to make sure there will be enough power generators. One of the issues that was addressed in the last year is they doubled the amount of generator power down there so it could be redundant. That is a resource that needs to be looked at in advance. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. Are you concerned that all of the facilities are along the East Coast? Mr. O'CARROLL. We are looking at that. One of our concerns, of course, when we heard about a 40 mile range, we thought that immediately took off the table the ability to go into other states, other areas, other parts of the country. It, of course, is a concern that everything is East Coast located. However, we are feeling more comfortable that there is going to be redundancy in at least a couple of different locations, which in a sense is doubling the sense of security that there was a few years ago. It would be nice if geographically it could be in a completely different location, but I have to say, given the resources and the opportunities that SSA had, just the fact that there are eventually going to be two redundant sites, we are less concerned with geographical location. Ms. BROWN-WAITE. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your understanding, and I yield back the balance of my time. Chairman TANNER. Thank you. Does any Member have further questions? [No response.] Chairman TANNER. We want to again thank you all. Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sure that Mr. Hewell and Mr. Gallagher understand that in light of the questions of the Committees, before you move forward on buying land, one, the analyses need to be presented to the Committees, and two, the Committees need to have fair notice in advance if the decision is made to buy land. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman TANNER. Thank you, Ms. Holmes Norton. There is a concern here. We need to see some data, some analyses here. I think you all would agree this is a big deal. It is extremely important. It is critical to the Social Security delivery system. The concern here is that we have access to the analyses about what we are doing so that you all and these two Committees who have jurisdiction can comfortably face any questions about it that we might receive. We will be looking forward to your submission. Do any of you all have any closing comments? [No response.] Chairman TANNER. If not, we thank you and the hearing is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 11:03 a.m., the Subcommittees were adjourned.] [Questions for the Record follow:] Questions from Chairman John Tanner to Mr. Michael Gallagher [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.012 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.013 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.014 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.015 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.016 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.017 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.018 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.019 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.020 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.021 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.022 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.023 [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] T3031.024 Questions from Sam Johnson to The Honorable Michael J. 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