The Federal Government owns or leases roughly 1.1 million real property assets, including land, buildings, and structures. Within this portfolio, there are opportunities for savings by reducing Federally-occupied space and using space more efficiently. To achieve the goal of shrinking the Federal real estate inventory and reducing operating costs, the Administration has taken several steps to improve the management of Federal real property. The Administration will continue to build on this progress by pursuing a long term strategy to: freeze growth in the inventory; use data to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of the real property inventory; and establish a framework to support disposal and consolidation of real estate assets.
Efforts have already been underway to freeze growth in the real estate inventory, laying the groundwork for the Administration’s overall long term strategy on real property. In May 2012, the Office of Management and Budget issued OMB Memorandum M-12-12: “Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations,” which created the “Freeze the Footprint” policy and directed agencies to freeze the growth in their real estate inventory. In March 2013, OMB released the implementing guidance for this policy.
The “Freeze the Footprint” policy requires Federal agencies to halt growth in their real estate inventory, while encouraging them to consolidate, co-locate, better utilize space, and employ 21st century workforce strategies such as telework. Under the implementation guidance for “Freeze the Footprint,” all agencies subject to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (“CFO Act Agencies”) are required to develop three-year plans to document how agencies will restrict the growth in their office and warehouse inventories. Agencies are also required to develop internal controls related to square footage growth and facilitate increased communication between agency Chief Financial Officer and Real Property Management offices. These changes will further improve the management of the Federal Government’s real property assets.
To implement the “Freeze the Footprint” policy, one component of the overall strategy, the Administration has established clear metrics for success. Agencies will be held accountable for maintaining their FY 2012 office and warehouse space square footage, which across all CFO Act agencies totals roughly 730.2 million square feet. Beginning December 2013, Performance.gov provides the public with an FY2013 update of agencies’ office and warehouse space footprint, as compared to FY 2012 baselines. In the coming months, individual Federal agency pages will provide specific examples of efforts made in compliance with the “Freeze the Footprint” policy. Complementing the Freeze the Footprint policy, the Administration continues its work, in collaboration with the Federal Real Property Council, to develop key performance metrics and identify opportunities to not only freeze but reduce the Federal real property footprint.