Eliminating Waste by Getting Rid of Unneeded Federal Real Estate

The Federal Government is the largest property owner and energy user in the country, with an inventory that includes 1.2 million buildings, structures, and land parcels. This includes 14,000 building and structures currently designated as excess and 55,000 identified as under- and not-utilized. Currently, Federal agencies operate and maintain more real property assets than necessary, unnecessarily raising costs to the taxpayer.  
That is why today the President signed a Memorandum directing agencies to accelerate efforts to remove excess and surplus property for a savings of $8 billion by FY 2012. The Department of Defense anticipates achieving $5 billion in real property cost savings through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process by the end of Fiscal Year 2012. In addition, government agencies will achieve $3 billion in cost savings through reducing annual operating costs, cutting square footage through expanding telework, undertaking other space realignment efforts (such as consolidating existing space within owned buildings), and selling buildings.
In addition, the Memorandum requires agencies to reduce waste by: 
  •  Eliminating lease arrangements that are not cost effective;
  • Streamlining current processes to accelerate the identification of excess assets and disposal of surplus assets; 
  • Pursuing consolidation opportunities within and across agencies in common asset types (such as data centers, office space, warehouses, and laboratories);
  •  Increasing occupancy rates in facilities through innovative approaches to space management and alternative work arrangements, such as telework; and
  • Combining acquisition of new space with a corresponding reduction in existing space.
The Memorandum also requires more efficient use of remaining real property assets, through saving energy and water, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Presidential Memorandum on Real Property is part of the Administration’s broader effort to modernize and reform government. Earlier this week, I spoke about this critical topic in an address at the Center for American Progress. The steps outlined in this Memorandum will help us spend taxpayer money wisely and create a more efficient and effective government.

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