Management Matters: Creating a 21st Century Government

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Statement of the Honorable Dan Tangherlini As Prepared for Delivery

Before The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

United States Senate

 

March 12, 2014

 

Washington, DC – Chairman Carper, Dr. Coburn, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

Before I go any further, I am glad I have the opportunity to share this panel with Beth Cobert and Gene Dodaro, both of whom have done so much to address the important issues we are discussing today.

This Administration is committed to providing the American people with a government ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  During the last five years, we have made great progress toward meeting that goal, but there is still more work to be done.  The President’s Management Agenda looks to continue this progress with a focus on four key areas: efficiency, effectiveness, economic growth, and people and culture.

As a provider of real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the Federal government, the U.S. General Services Administration is uniquely positioned to help agencies in all four of these areas.  Today, I will discuss GSA’s common sense efforts to support this management agenda.

GSA encourages efficiency across government through a variety of common sense initiatives, which help agencies buy smarter and reduce their real estate footprint.

The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) is an integral part of this effort. This program creates significant savings by having agencies collectively commit to purchasing certain commodities at the best value. Since we began using this program in 2010, we have saved more than $300 million for Federal agencies, while increasing the participation of small businesses and reducing duplication across government.

At GSA we have the ability to offer innovative technologies and digital services to our partners that reduce duplication, increase transparency, and improve efficiency. One example is the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which eases the adoption of cloud computing for all agencies by providing a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for these services.  

Additionally, GSA maintains the Prices Paid portal.  This tool is intended to provide greater visibility of the prices paid by government agencies for commonly purchased goods and services.  Through programs and initiatives such as these, GSA is doing its part to encourage economic growth throughout the country.

We are not just supporting the President’s management agenda through improving acquisitions.  GSA is also encouraging efficiency by helping agencies to reduce their real estate footprint.

One of the most important ways we are supporting the Administration’s agenda is by assisting agencies in using their space more efficiently through our Total Workplace Initiative. This program provides resources and expertise to assist federal agencies in reducing their office space, fostering collaboration, better managing IT spending, and increasing energy efficiency. GSA has recently transformed our headquarters in Washington, DC into a mobile, open work environment and it serves as model for what Total Workplace can do for our partners. This transformation has allowed us to collapse six leases into a single building, resulting in more than $24 million in savings. A meaningful opportunity exists for significant savings that can be directed towards fulfilling agency missions and better serving the American people.

The President’s FY 2015 budget also includes another tool that will enable us to make valuable upgrades to our partners’ facilities: Zero Net Budget Authority. This will enable GSA to invest the rent it collects from partner Federal agencies into repairs and upkeep for our nation’s buildings. Supporting GSA’s budget request for the Federal Buildings Fund will allow us to continue to make these cost-saving investments.

However, when facilities either cannot be sufficiently repaired, better utilized, or it is not cost-effective to do either, GSA helps agencies dispose of excess property.  In FY 2013, GSA disposed of 213 properties, generating $98 million in proceeds.  We will continue to work with other agencies to remove more properties from the federal inventory.

GSA is committed to driving down prices, delivering better value, and helping reduce costs so that our partner agencies can focus their resources on their own important missions.

GSA is also working to provide the tools and services our partners need to serve the American people as effectively as possible. In support of our fellow agencies, the Office of Government-Wide Policy is working toward improving government by developing evidence-based policies that are designed to lead to better Federal mission delivery.  GSA’s FY15 budget request will enhance, data, analysis, and policy efforts to drive progress in right-sizing the Federal fleet; developing the civilian acquisition workforce; and enhancing cyber security efforts, among others.

Another way in which GSA is supporting the President’s Management Agenda is Data.gov. This website is the flagship open government portal, which enables easy access to and use of hundreds of thousands of data sets from over 180 government agencies. This website supports businesses throughout the country with valuable information that is unavailable anywhere else. By creating an open environment, GSA allows anyone, whether an individual or a business, to take public information and apply it in new and useful ways.

GSA is committed to ensuring that we have the most capable individuals supporting government efforts. Through initiatives such as the Presidential Innovation Fellows, we are working to attract exceptional talent to solving the toughest challenges of Government.  Developed in conjunction with White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, this program assigns some of our Nation’s brightest women and men to specific agencies to quickly and effectively address some of their most difficult and persistent problems. This expedited approach is one that GSA is using in support of additional projects, and we anticipate expanding moving forward.

Finally, GSA is also doing its part under the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act to assist agencies in achieving Cross-Agency Priority Goals.  These efforts include programs that range from Cybersecurity to Sustainability to Data Center Consolidation.

One particularly crucial priority that Beth and I are co-leading focuses on Benchmarking Mission-Support Functions. This effort will establish common metrics for common administrative functions. By establishing benchmarks, the Federal government will be able to assess the effectiveness and cost of similar functions. This effort will allow for the identification of best practices and services to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

At GSA, we are working to use the size and scope of the Federal government to drive down costs and increase efficiency in support of the President’s Management Agenda. I believe that our agency’s work, which is supported by our FY15 budget request, will be invaluable in furthering the Administration’s efforts.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and I am happy to answer any questions you have. Thank you.

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