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Spending Less, Spending Smarter

The Campaign to Cut Waste has already achieved $4 billion dollars in savings in 2012, well on track to meet and exceed President Obama's goal of $8 billion by the end of FY 2013.

Under the Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste, we are scrutinizing every dollar of Federal spending to make sure that funds are spent efficiently and effectively.  As part of the campaign, last fall, in Executive Order 13589, “Promoting Efficient Spending,”the President charged Federal agencies with tightening their belts to find efficiencies and savings in areas such as printing, fleet, and travel.  That effort is paying off.  Federal agencies are hard at work executing on plans to achieve administrative cost savings in these areas. Agencies achieved over $2 billion in reduced costs in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period of time in 2010, and we’re announcing today that agencies achieved another $2 billion in savings in the second quarter.  That puts us at $4 billion dollars in savings – well on track to meet and exceed our goal of $8 billion by the end of FY 2013. 

But perhaps just as important as the savings themselves is the fact that they are indicative of innovative management practices Federal agencies are implementing to get the most out of every dollar.  We are spending less money, and we’re spending it smarter in order to get the most bang for our buck.

For instance, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is consolidating its cell phone contracts.  An analysis of USDA’s cellular inventory showed that USDA had over 700 plans and about 36,000 lines of service.  The number of plans has been reduced considerably, and about 1,700 unused and obsolete lines have been discontinued, resulting in savings of approximately $4.7 million this year alone. 

In addition to identifying savings by rethinking our technology footprint, Federal agencies are using technology to work smarter.  For example, the Department of the Air Force is putting processes in place to move from an analog world to a digital world – using digital document sharing and collaboration, and E-form and E-publishing.  These changes, from paper to electronic, are eliminating printing costs with an estimated savings of over $80 million over the next 5 years.

Another example of an agency using technology to achieve savings and efficiencies is the Department of the Interior’s increased use of technology to conduct meetings.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has increased its use of teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webinars, shared web sites and other real time communications that enable shared access to documents remotely and electronically to reduce travel for meetings.  This push to reduce travel is one that is evident government-wide. 

We are also right-sizing our fleet to reduce costs.  For instance, the Social Security Administration is reducing the number of vehicles in their fleet and reducing the cost of petroleum consumption and vehicle leasing expenses.  Concurrently, they are making initial investments to modernize their fleet with “green” alternative-fuel vehicles.

The Federal government is dotted with numerous examples just like these, where agencies are spending less and spending smarter.  And we anticipate more savings and more examples next quarter.  President Obama and Vice President Biden have been clear: We must and will continue to improve our operations and ensure we provide efficient and effective services to the American people.