I now understand that HII is dependent on sysprep so that is why it is failing to perform its step even though it is a configurable option in provisioning template. ER coming for that one...
So I have discovered why the NIC drivers are not being installed or, to be more specific, why ldprovision is failing to find the action file. Simply, it deleted the action file or failed to copy it to a directory that it could find post OS install during the winpe process while the network was present.
Proof of this is simple to find by reading the ldprovision.log file:
ldProvision.exe:going to add START:landesk.provisioning:C:\ldprovisioning\ldProvision.exe -c LDserver to C:\Program Files\LANDesk\Shared Files\\cbaroot\actions.ini
ldProvision.exe:Unable to load action configuration file; using default action configuration
If I install the nic driver, repopulate the c:\ldprovisioning directory and then run ldProvision.exe -c LDserver to C:\Program Files\LANDesk\Shared Files\\cbaroot\actions.ini, the script continues as expected.
Now, this might be a bug or by design. I haven't received a response yet.
Solutions are easy.
1. Don't cleanup during provisioning until the final step of the provisioning script (make it an actual option). Copy all files required to complete the OS installation to the target drive during the winpe steps. Reconfigure actions that require looking back to the core to look locally instead.
2. If 1 is not an option, stop all script actions from running if the network is not available or specifically, the LD core. Add an error to the ldprovision.log file that the script has stopped because the core is unavailable and suggest to run the above command after the networking is fixed.
3. (The most logical IMO) Remove the sysprep dependency from HII so the drivers can be installed pre OS configuration.
#3 would be the most ideal because storing multiples of images is storage consuming and if a change is required, every effected image must be loaded, modified and recaptured. A hardware independent OS installation makes more sense in the long run and uses far less space. We have multiples of hardware platforms and configurations and making images is not an option.