When President Obama took office in 2009, he made a commitment to provide the American people with a government ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century. During the last four years, the federal government has made great progress towards meeting that goal, but there is still a great deal of work to do. Earlier this week, President Obama held a meeting with his Cabinet and senior officials to discuss how we can build on that progress and deliver even more effective and efficient government to the American people during his second term. During that meeting, the President encouraged us to redouble on our efforts to improve public service and make government more accessible to the American people.
GSA is uniquely positioned to help the entire government do exactly that. Our job is to support our partner agencies so that they can focus their energy and funding on their own important missions, such as securing our borders, keeping our food safe, or protecting air quality–missions that are critical to the well-being of our country and its people.
At GSA we are helping agencies buy smarter, reduce their real estate footprint, and innovate, helping to create a better, smarter, faster government.
GSA has the unique capability to leverage the federal government’s buying power to use taxpayer dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible through programs such as the Strategic Sourcing Initiative. Since we began using this program to make purchases in 2010, we have saved more than $300 million for federal agencies, while increasing the participation of small businesses and reducing duplication across government. As we continue to add more agencies to this initiative, we will be able to generate more savings.
We are also able to use the size and scope of the government to better manage federal buildings. Thanks to the buying power of GSA and the federal government, we are able to negotiate leases that, on average, are more than 11 percent below market rates. This has created annual savings of $30 million in realized cost avoidance. In addition, we work aggressively to ensure that the facilities we own are being used as optimally as possible. Nationally, GSA’s vacancy rate is 3.1 percent, far below the private sector average of 17.4 percent. If our vacancy rate was as high as the private sector, it would cost the taxpayers an additional $1 billion this year alone.
By offering innovative technologies, we have been able to reduce duplication, deliver more effective services and create a more transparent government. For example, FedRAMP provides a single security authorization for cloud technologies for all participating agencies. By serving as a single point of authorization, FedRAMP saves cost, time, and staff once needed to conduct redundant security assessments. In addition, GSA has worked across government to develop and incubate many of its most innovative projects, including two which were specifically mentioned by the President: Data.gov, which has eased access to more than 75,000 government data sets, and the MyUSA platform, which will save significant time filling out government forms.
At a time when shrinking agency budgets are affecting missions, our work at this agency is more important than ever before. In the coming months, we will be redoubling our efforts to demonstrate to our partner agencies how GSA’s existing resources and expertise can support the President’s management goals and allow them to focus their staff and their funding on their important missions.
GSA knows how to use the size and the scope of the federal government to drive down costs, increase collaboration and efficiency. We are committed to building the kind of responsive and effective government that President Obama has challenged us to create.