The Defense Department and the General Services Administration (GSA) do not routinely share information about opportunities to move non-DOD federal agencies onto military installations to take advantage of unused and underutilized facilities, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
GSA does not routinely contact installations to find out whether space is available when it is trying to support federal agencies with new workspace requirements. Similarly, DOD waits for non-DOD agencies to inquire about opportunities to move onto an installation and does not generally reach out to GSA or agencies that may be looking for space, the congressional watchdog agency found.
To help federal agencies reduce their reliance on commercial leases and reduce rental costs, and at the same time help the Pentagon use its real estate more efficiently, GAO calls for the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment to carry out a plan to enhance routine information sharing between DOD and GSA about the availability of facilities on installations.
GAO said the department should establish recurring processes to:
- share information about non-DOD federal agencies seeking workspace; and
- ensure DOD and GSA share appropriate points of contact within their organizations at the regional and local levels.
“Without actions to share information at the regional and local level, GSA offices working with non-DOD federal agencies may risk missing opportunities for clients to use available underutilized or unused federal space at lower cost than commercial leases. In addition, DOD may be missing opportunities to leverage resources with GSA to enhance utilization of its unutilized and underutilized facilities and reduce costs associated with maintaining these facilities,” the report stated.
Both agencies concurred with GAO’s recommendations, with GSA outlining several actions it would take. They include convening a working group with DOD to understand the department’s national land holding portfolio and identify unutilized and underutilized space at installations; and collaborating with DOD to establish a shared real property inventory database.