Yesterday, President Obama ordered agency heads to plan for significant cuts to travel, employee information technology (IT) devices, printing, executive motor vehicles, and promotional items in the FY2013 budget.  The executive order directs agencies to set FY2013 budget levels for these cost categories to at least 20 percent below FY2010.  Agency plans are due to OMB within 45 days.

Director Jacob Lew blogged on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website that the executive order “will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government.”

In budgeting for travel, the order encourages agencies to utilize alternative strategies to government travel, such as teleconferencing and video-conferencing.  The order directs agencies to use government-controlled space to “conduct business and host or sponsor conferences.  Agencies are also ordered to review permanent change of duty station (PCS) travel policies.

The order directs agencies to assess their use and inventories of employee IT devices.  Agencies are to “ensure that they are not paying for unused or underutilized IT equipment or software.”  The order requires agencies to limit the number of mobile phones, smartphones, and laptop and tablet personal computers. 

Agencies are urged to limit hard copy printing.  The order says agencies are to "presume that information should be provided in electronic form, wherever practicable.”  Agencies are also encouraged to utilize OMB's Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative to acquire printing devices or services.

The order directs agencies to limit the size of the executive motor vehicle fleet.  In planning for achieving efficiencies in managing the executive fleet, the order says agencies should follow the guidance provided in the Federal Fleet Performance memorandum.  This memorandum directs agencies to optimize the size of the vehicle fleet and improve its management. 

Agencies are also directed to limit the purchase of so-called “promotional items.”  These items, often referred to as “swag,” include plaques, coffee mugs, clothing, and other commemorative items that are given to participants in conferences or for other promotional reasons.  OMB Director Lew described these items as “non-essential” and “non-work related gadgets.”