U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) : Expediting Efficiency

Phoebe HarperTom Cullum
Phoebe Harper - Editor Tom Cullum - Regional Director
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Highlights
  • Since its foundation in 1949, the U.S. General Services Administration continues to pursue its vision of creating an effective and efficient government for the American people.
  • The U.S. General Services Administration provides workplaces through the management of commercial real estate, reaching over 371 million square feet of space in 8,600 buildings in more than 2,200 communities nationwide.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) delivers optimum customer experience and value across real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and American people.

EXPEDITING EFFICIENCY

Since its foundation in 1949, the GSA continues to pursue its vision of creating an effective and efficient government for the American people.  

The GSA operates as an independent agency of the US government and follows a vital mandate in supporting and managing the basic functioning of federal agencies. Primarily, this entails the supply of products and communications for government offices, the provision of office space and transportation for federal employees, and the development of government-wide cost-minimizing policies. This behemoth of an operation encompasses three major areas where the GSA seeks to deliver the best value: real estate, acquisition, and technology services.  

Elsewhere, the GSA supports and manages federal government activities across travel, policy and regulations, products and services, and shared services.  

SETTING THE STANDARD FOR REAL ESTATE 

With a diverse and expansive portfolio of leased and owned buildings across the US, the GSA provides workplaces through the management of commercial real estate, reaching over 371 million square feet of space in 8,600 buildings in more than 2,200 communities nationwide. This footprint mostly includes office buildings, courthouses, laboratories, post offices, data processing centers and land ports of entry.  

Complementing these efforts is the agency’s work in the construction, management and preservation of government buildings. As the body responsible for the majority of space requirements for federal agencies, the GSA plays an instrumental role in providing national leadership, policy direction and standards across historic preservation, fine arts, engineering, project management, architecture, construction services, urban development and sustainable design. The latter is furthered by GSA’s extensive expertise in providing policy and guidance for successful compliance with environmental laws and regulations – a field which has risen in prominence and necessity in recent years.  

The agency’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) team provides a host of environmental programs which are pivotal in this regard, simultaneously ensuring environmental best practices while providing productive workplaces, both of which are key aspects of GSA’s overarching mission.

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EVOLVING ACQUISITIONS 

The GSA’s involvement in acquisition services began with the critical assignment of stockpiling for emergency preparedness during wartime. Since then, this branch of the GSA has evolved with the consolidation of the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) in 2007 in order to best cater to the solutions called for in an ever-evolving business landscape.  

Furthering this mission, in 2016 the Acquisition Gateway was launched as a means to assist Federal Government buyers from various bodies in operating as one acquisition community, alongside the introduction of the ‘Making It Easier’ (MIE) initiative. The latter provides an invaluable portfolio of tools and sources of support for small businesses and new companies hoping to do business with the government.  

Complementing this emphasis on innovation, 2017 witnessed the inception of the Technology Transformation Services as part of FAS – an initiative designed to assist agencies in learning how to adapt to emerging technology solutions.  

Today, the GSA is the go-to resource for the sale or disposal of government property, to find products and services, and to explore various ways to buy or sell commercial products and services through a host of purchasing programs. This is best embodied by the Federal Marketplace (FMP) strategy, as the GSA’s plan to optimize the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and acquisition professionals.  

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY 

In a world increasingly defined by the adoption of digital technology, the GSA has risen to meet the challenge and incorporate digital evolution to support the US government’s innovation infrastructure.  

The agency is bolstered by a legacy of delivering innovations, from creating the government-wide intercity telephone system in 1960, to becoming the first federal agency to move email to a cloud-based system in 2010. In recognition of its technological prowess, the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program, launched in 2013, was officially made a part of the GSA in 2015 by President Obama. The PIF is a highly prestigious scheme, pairing technologists and innovators with changemakers and civil servants to address society’s greatest challenges.  

The GSA’s technological remit encompasses the purchase of information technology (IT) products and services, guidance on how to build easy-to-use websites and digital services, and best practice requirements for their effective management. In addition, the GSA is a guiding voice in learning about government IT through institutions such as the DigitalGov University, and in driving both agency and federal-wide IT initiatives. Meanwhile, the GSA’s technology teams are on hand with technology transformation services to accelerate solutions that deliver world-class IT across government.

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A MAMMOTH ENTEPRISE 

Serving the US in myriad ways, the GSA is wide-reaching and intrinsically woven into the very fabric of America – whether in the billions of dollars worth of products, services and facilities that it offers to federal agencies thereby enabling them to fulfil their vital public roles, or catering to the public through the dissemination of vital information guiding their interaction with government.  

Into the years ahead, the GSA will continue to be defined by its trifecta of values – service, accountability, and innovation – across its vast remit, adhering to and ensuring a high standard of excellence for the people of America.

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