Federal agencies are on track to achieve more than the $8 billion projected for real estate savings in FY2012. According to Danny Werfel, Controller of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), at the end of the first quarter of FY2102, agencies had saved $5.6 billion in real estate savings: $3.25 billion from Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and $2.4 billion from non-BRAC actions.
For the year, the administration has set a goal of $5 billion in BRAC savings and $3 billion in non-BRAC savings, Werfel said. He predicted that based on the first quarter results these goals will be exceeded.
Werfel said the administration has made eliminating wasteful spending on federal real estate on high priority. He stressed that agencies have been achieving savings through a variety of cost saving activities: selling or consolidating properties; cancelling leases; and better managing space by reducing and consolidating office space, expanding telework, and providing alternative workspace.
The latest administration effort to reduce federal real estate costs was included in direction from OMB last month to make further reductions to operating costs. OMB directed agencies to freeze their civilian real estate inventory. If agencies want to acquire new civilian real estate, they are required to offset the square footage increase by consolidation, co-location, or disposal of existing inventory.
The administration has proposals for the Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian agencies it says is needed to achieve more real estate savings in the future. A proposal (not yet submitted in legislation) for two more BRAC rounds for DoD facilities has achieved little if any support in Congress so far. In fact, DoD FY2013 authorization and appropriations legislation moving through Congress includes firm prohibitions against spending funds to plan or implement additional BRAC rounds.
Last year, OMB proposed the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA) to establish a BRAC-like process for civilian federal properties. Under this proposal, an independent board of experts would identify “opportunities to consolidate, reduce, and realign the Federal civilian real estate footprint.” Werffel said the CPRA would establish fast-track congressional procedures, streamlined disposal and consolidating authorities, and a fund to support disposal of redundant high-value properties. The House passed its version of CPRA bill earlier this year, but the Senate has not yet acted on it. Werfel urged Congress to complete action on this legislation.