All Federal Agencies Will Need to Trim Real Property, under New OMB Policy

Federal agencies, including the Defense Department, will be required to craft plans to reduce their real property footprint over the next five years, under a memo the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is scheduled to issue today.

The memo, titled “National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property: Reducing the Federal Portfolio through Improved Space Utilization, Consolidation and Disposal,” is a follow-on to the agency’s “Freeze the Footprint” policy issued in 2013.

For the Pentagon, the policy means reducing excess space without relying on a BRAC round to shed large chunks of its real estate portfolio. DOD, along with civilian agencies, will need to assess their mission needs and develop a plan to reduce office and warehouse space, and other real property, OMB Controller David Mader told Federal News Radio.

The effort includes military bases, Mader said.

“DOD is drawing down its forces overseas and bringing them back to the U.S., so it’s important to capture what their needs are. We may see savings, but they may come from outside of the continental United States,” he said.

“We do want to emphasize this is a strategic view of how we manage property,” Mader added.

Overall, the new policy calls for agencies to establish an annual target for slashing space and to adopt space design standards for office space acquired in the future.

“What we learned in two years is that every organization has a unique set of circumstances, so what the policy says is we want you to continue to reduce your total real property footprint, but based on the uniqueness of your mission come back to OMB every year to reset the baseline to further reduce real property, which also includes consolidations and disposals of underutilized and excess property,” Mader told Federal News Radio.

The 2013 memo barred agencies from expanding their real estate footprint, requiring them instead to find ways to reduce or consolidate their holdings.

“We are going from ‘freeze it’ to being more proactive, establishing standards and working with the General Services Administration to consolidate offices and look for innovative ways to shrink overall footprint,” Mader explained.

Dan Cohen
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