Real Property Management Issues Facing GSA and Congress

Gao ID: T-GGD-92-4 October 30, 1991

With over 400,000 buildings that cost hundreds of billions of dollars, the federal government's inventory of real property is enormous. In the past, real property management stressed satisfying basic space needs at the least cost. Today, recognition is growing that quality workspace enhances agency performance and employee productivity. Also, changing work concepts and styles brought about by new information and telecommunications technology have changed federal workspace requirements. The General Services Administration (GSA) was established in 1949 to bring central direction to the government's essential housekeeping functions. GAO believes that GSA needs to concentrate on its envisioned central management agency role and leave operations up to tenant agencies. GAO has identified several reasons why GSA has not effectively fulfilled its intended central management role in the real property area or been successful in acquiring and managing such assets in a more cost effective, businesslike manner. Those factors under GSA's direct control are its predilection towards operations and its lack of a strategic approach to asset management. Those beyond GSA's direct control are the government's decentralized management of real property, funding shortfalls, the current federal budget structure, and the existing congressional authorization process.

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