General Services Administration

General Services Administration
General Services Administration
official seal
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1949
Headquarters U.S. General Services Administration Building
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
Employees 11,742 (2008)[1]
Annual budget $20.9 billion
Agency executives Martha N. Johnson,
Administrator of General Services
Susan F. Brita,
Deputy Administrator
Steve Kempf,
FAS Commissioner (acting)
Robert A. Peck,
PBS Commissioner

The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and develops government-wide cost-minimizing policies, and other management tasks.[2]



Former President Herbert Hoover was asked in 1947 by President Harry Truman to lead a commission to make recommendations to the President and Congress on how to improve the administrative activities of the federal government. One of the recommendations of the commission was the establishment of an "Office of the General Services." This proposed office would combine the responsibilities of the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Federal Supply and Office of Contract Settlement, the National Archives and Records Administration Establishment, the Federal Work Agency, and the War Assets Administration. GSA became an independent agency on July 1, 1949, following the passage of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. General Jess Larson, Administrator of the War Assets Administration, was named as GSA's first Administrator.

The first job awaiting Administrator Larson and the newly formed GSA was a complete renovation of the White House. The structure had fallen into such a state of disrepair by 1949 that one inspector of the time said the historic structure was standing “purely from habit.” Larson later explained the in depth nature of the total renovation by saying, “In order to make the White House structurally sound, it was necessary to completely dismantle, and I mean completely dismantle, everything from the White House except the four walls, which were constructed of stone. Everything, except the four walls without a roof, was finally stripped down, and that's where the work started.” GSA worked closely with President Truman and First Lady Bess Truman to ensure that the new agency's first major project was a success. GSA completed the renovation in 1952.[3] Its headquarters, located at Eighteenth and F Sts. NW, is in the historic U.S. General Services Administration Building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as Interior Department Offices.[4]

GSA today

GSA employs about 12,000 federal workers and has an annual operating budget of roughly $26.3 billion, approximately 1% of which is appropriated from taxpayer dollars. GSA oversees $66 billion of procurement annually. It contributes to the management of about $500 billion in U.S. federal property, divided chiefly among 8,300 owned and leased buildings and a 210,000 vehicle motor pool. Among the real estate assets managed by the GSA are the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, the largest U.S. Federal building after The Pentagon and the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center which had previously been the Battle Creek Sanitarium run by John Harvey Kellogg.

GSA's business lines include the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Public Buildings Service (PBS). Other divisions include the Office of Governmentwide Policy, and various Staff Offices, including the Office of Small Business Utilization, the Office of Civil Rights, and the Office of Citizen Services and Communications. The official U.S. government web portal,, and the Spanish-language web portal to U.S. government services,, are members of the Office of Citizen Services and Communication’s family of websites, which also includes (the Federal Citizen Information Center),,, and

The National Archives and Records Administration was also part of GSA until it was made an independent agency in 1985.

GSA recently completed early-outs and buy-outs to reduce staff. It reorganized in 2005 to merge the Federal Supply Service (FSS) and Federal Technology Service (FTS) business lines into the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).[5] Bush Administration political appointee Stephen A. Perry resigned as GSA Administrator on October 31, 2005. On May 31, 2006, Lurita Doan, also a Bush Administration political appointee, took the oath of office to become the 18th GSA Administrator and the first woman to hold the position. Lurita Doan resigned from office on April 29, 2008.[6] David Bibb was acting administrator from April 30, 2008 until September 1, 2008.

On June 25, 2008, the White House announced that Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner James A. Williams was nominated to be GSA's administrator, replacing Lurita Doan. Williams served as the first commissioner of FAS after the agency combined the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service. Williams is a career SES member, rather than a political appointee. The announcement came on the same day that acting administrator David Bibb announced that he planned to retire on September 1, 2008 to pursue work in the private sector.[7]

On April 3, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Martha N. Johnson to serve as Administrator. After a lengthy delay, the United States Senate confirmed her nomination on February 4, 2010.

GSA Schedule

GSA assists with procurement work for other government agencies. As part of this effort, it maintains the large GSA Schedule, which other agencies can use to buy goods and services. The GSA Schedule can be thought of as a collection of pre-negotiated contracts. Procurement managers from government agencies can view these agreements and make purchases from the GSA Schedule knowing that all legal obligations have been taken care of by GSA.

Core Concepts that Govern the Operation of a GSA Schedule

The GSA Schedule is awarded as a prime contract entered into by the federal government and a vendor that has submitted an acceptable proposal. At the core of the GSA Schedule contract lie two key concepts: 1) Basis of Award customer or group of customers and 2) Price Reduction Clause. The two concepts are applied in concert to achieve the government's pricing objectives for the GSA Schedule program. Namely, the government wants to ensure that when the vendor experiences competitive pressures to reduce its pricing, then the government can benefit from these and be extended reduced pricing as well.[8]

Basis of Award

The Basis of Award customer or group of customers represents the customer or group of customers whose sales are effected on the same terms and conditions as those with GSA, and whose pricing is used: 1) as the baseline during negotiations to establish discounts offered to GSA, and 2) as a price floor that, when breached, constitutes additional discounting that triggers the Price Reduction Clause.

Price Reduction Clause

The Price Reduction Clause ensures that vendor discounting practices and GSA Schedule prices maintain a fixed relationship. The vendor specifies in its GSA proposal, and during negotiations of GSA Schedule contract prices, the discounts to be given to Basis of Award customer(s). If the vendor then provides a larger discount to a Basis of Award customer than what was agreed upon in the GSA Schedule contract (i.e., if the price floor is breached), then the vendor's GSA price will be reduced proportionately and retroactively.[9]

Price Reduction Clause Compliance

Effective Price Reduction Clause compliance procedures will protect vendors if their discounting practices are fully and accurately disclosed in their original proposals to GSA and then are used as a basis for compliance over the term of the contract.

Although not ideal, a compliance system implemented after a contract has been awarded can bring a contract into compliance, although sometimes at the expense of profits. If implementing a system in the middle of a contract period, inaccuracies that turn up should be corrected immediately, and the GSA contracting officer should be made aware of them.

Price Reduction Clause compliance systems and procedures can range from the simple to the complex. A simple, manual system would be appropriate for a service contractor with standard labor rates that are not discounted. A complex system would be required for a reseller with thousands of products and discounting policies that differ among product groups.


GSA conducts its business activities through 11 offices (known as GSA Regions) throughout the United States, located in: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Missouri, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle (Auburn), and Washington, D.C.

Region # Region Name Complex Location
1 New England Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building Boston, MA
2 Northeast and Caribbean Jacob K. Javits Federal Building New York, NY
3 Mid-Atlantic The Strawbridge Building Philadelphia, PA
4 Southeast Sunbelt 77 Forsyth Street Atlanta, GA
5 Great Lakes Kluczynski Federal Building Chicago, IL
6 Heartland Bannister Federal Complex Kansas City, MO
7 Greater Southwest Fritz G. Lanham Federal Building Fort Worth, TX
8 Rocky Mountain Denver Federal Center Denver, CO
9 Pacific Rim 450 Golden Gate Avenue San Francisco, CA
10 Northwest/Arctic 400 15th St. SW Auburn, WA
11 National Capital 301 7th St. SW Washington, DC


  • On June 20, 2006, former GSA Chief of Staff David Safavian was found guilty by a jury in federal court on four of five felony charges. The charges were related to some of his work at the GSA as part of the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal. He was found guilty of lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, lying to a GSA ethics official, lying to the GSA's Office of Inspector General, and obstructing the work of the GSA inspector general. Safavian was cleared of obstructing the committee's investigation. On October 27, 2006, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • On December 2006, former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan proposed cutting the budget of GSA’s Office of the Inspector General for reviewing government contracts for fraud and waste (previous IG audits have allowed the agency to recover billions of dollars of fraudulent contracts). Doan has criticized GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller for not supporting her effort to implement simpler procedures for contractors. Some IG budget officials, however, viewed IG "streamlining efforts" as problematic. John C. Lebo, formerly with the GSA IG staff, described the changes as troubling and unprecedented. "The Administrator's Office wants to change the IG's overall approach from independently rooting out crime, fraud and abuse, to one in which the OIG is a team player working with GSA."[10]
  • GSA was involved in White House efforts to politicize non-partisan government agencies. Former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan attended GSA meetings involving presentation slides which mentioned GOP strategies and tactics for the 2008 Federal Elections (Government agencies are prohibited from engaging in political activities by the Hatch Act). An independent investigation by the United States Office of Special Counsel concluded that Lurita Doan had conducted "the most pernicious of political activity" and recommended that she "be disciplined to the fullest extent for her serious violation of the Hatch Act and insensitivity to cooperating fully and honestly in the course of our investigation" -- it recommended to President Bush that she be removed from office.[11] House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) also investigated former GSA head, Lurita Doan, regarding those meetings and presentations by GSA officials.[12] Doan testified that she had no knowledge of the origin of the presentation slides and she had no memory of what she said.[13][14] Although Republican committee members denounced the investigation as a "witch hunt" intending to smear the Bush administration and the GSA with the appearance of wrongdoing, nevertheless, Democrat Chairman Waxman urged Lurita Doan to resign. Lurita Doan resigned on April 29, 2008 at the request of the White House.[6]

Environmental record

As the government’s premier procurement agency, GSA:[15]

  • Offers some 10,000 green (energy-efficient and eco-friendly) goods and services
  • Makes eco-friendly procurement easier for federal agencies;
  • Has for many years helped agencies with energy-efficient, cost-effective recycling programs;
  • Has developed 14 telework centers;
  • Encourages workers to plant trees and to recycle at home.

GSA complies with Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.

Federal Buildings

Public Buildings Service provides workplaces for federal customer agencies and United States courthouses at good economies to the American taxpayer.[16]

PBS is funded primarily through the Federal Buildings Fund, which is supported by rent from federal customer agencies.[16]

GSA has earned a LEED rating for 24 buildings.[17]

Some of green offerings at new buildings includes green roofs (planted roofs that can substantially reduce rainwater run-off during storms and provide significant insulation for the buildings), underfloor air distribution (that delivers cooling and heating air at floor level instead of from the ceiling), purchasing and using renewable power from utility companies and light shelves (located outside of the building that reduce the amount of heat radiating into the building from the sun while increasing the amount of natural light and high ceilings that help direct daylight deep into the work environment).[15]

The Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program facilitates to the GSA the implementation, through project transaction services, applied technology services and decision support services, to deploy renewable energy technologies and cultivate change to embrace energy efficiency.[18]

In 2004 the GSA was presented with the Honor Award from the National Building Museum for "success in creating and maintaining innovative environments for the federal community as well as providing a positive federal presence for the public."[19]

Office of High-Performance Green Buildings

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has made available not less than $4.5 billion for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings, as defined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140).

Asset Management Policy

In accordance with Title 40 of the U.S. Code, GSA is charged with the responsibility of promulgating regulations governing the acquisition, use, and disposal of real property (real estate and land) and personal property (essentially all other property). This activity is centered in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. Policies promulgated by GSA are developed in collaboration with federal agencies, and are typically published for public comment in the Federal Register prior to publication as a Final Rule.

Federal vehicle fleet management

In the United States, Federal Vehicle fleets refers to vehicles of federal government.

GSA contributes to the management of U.S. Federal property, including a 210,000 vehicle motor pool.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $300 million to acquire energy-efficient motor vehicles for the federal vehicle fleet.

President Barack Obama announced that GSA will buy about 17,600 new, fuel-efficient vehicles from U.S. auto companies by June 1, 2009. The purchase will draw on funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be on an accelerated schedule to help support U.S. automakers. The GSA will spend $285 million to purchase the vehicles from General Motors Corporation, Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor Company. The purchase will include 2,500 hybrid sedans—the largest one-time purchase yet of hybrid vehicles for the federal government—and each new vehicle will yield at least a 10% fuel economy improvement over the vehicle it replaces. The GSA will also spend $15 million by the end of September to purchase a pilot fleet of advanced-technology vehicles, including all-electric vehicles and hybrid buses.[20]

Hybrids accounted for about 10 percent of the 145,473 vehicles the U.S. General Services Administration bought during the fiscal years 2009 and 2010, after making up less than 1 percent of government vehicle purchases in 2008. As for specific models, Obama took a buy-American stance. The administration accounted for about two-thirds of the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrids sold during the past two years, and almost a third of the Ford Fusion Hybrids. By comparison, the administration acquired 17 Toyota Prius hybrids and five Honda Civic Hybrid vehicles in total.[21] Ground Force One, so designated when transporting the POTUS, is one of two armored buses procured in 2010 for the transportation of dignitaries under protection of the Secret Service, at a cost of $1.1 million each. The coaches were assembled in Tennessee on frames made in Canada.[22]

Interagency Resources Management Conference

The Interagency Resources Management Conference (IRMCO) is the General Services Administration’s (GSA) leading federal executive conference, hosting over 300 federal and industry leaders each year. The 50-year-old conference features expert-led sessions focused on relevant, high-impact issues.

IRMCO 2011 features "50 Years of Performance Leadership" and is held in Washington, D.C. at the Kellogg Conference Center & Hotel on the campus of Gallaudet University.[23][24] IRMCO 2011 will have a tripartite focus:[23]

  • Sustainability Business Case & Data Center Consolidation
  • Performance Management
  • Acquisition Management and Workforce Training

IRMCO began in 1961 as the ADPCO conference. In 1979, the Department of Commerce, GSA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) jointly sponsored a conference for Senior Executive Service (SES) officials at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At the same time, the National Archives hosted a small records management conference for senior executives, also located in Gettysburg. These two conferences merged with ADPCO and became IRMCO. Over the years, the conference has evolved its focus from highly specialized to integrated. In 1996, when U.S. Congress mandated the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO), these new federal executives were invited to attend IRMCO.[25]

In recent years, roughly 75% of IRMCO attendees were GS-15s or members of the Senior Executive Service. From 2008 to 2010, IRMCO drew attendees from over 65 Federal agencies, and diverse disciplines including information technology, human resources, acquisition, management and finance.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ GSA mission statement. 
  3. ^ GSA - GSA Assists in Coordinated Effort To Transform White House Press Briefing Room
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  5. ^ GSA Releases Draft FTS/FSS Reorganization Plan, GSA News Release #10161, June 2, 2005.
  6. ^ a b Doan Ends Her Stormy Tenure as GSA Chief, Washington Post, 1 May 2008
  7. ^ Williams nominated as GSA administrator
  8. ^ GSA Schedule Price Reduction Clause (PRC) Compliance, Fedmarket
  9. ^ [1], General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM)
  10. ^ GSA Chief Seeks to Cut Budget For Audits, Washington Post, 2 December 2006
  11. ^ Report: Contracting head illegally political -
  12. ^ GSA chief grilled over potential Hatch Act violations, CREW (citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington), 28 March 2007
  13. ^ GSA reputation takes a hit amid contracting impropriety charges, PRWeek, 30 March 2007. "Doan was also grilled about partisan activities. She was questioned about a January 26 lunchtime meeting at GSA headquarters involving White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings, 40-plus Bush administration political appointees at the GSA, attending in person or via teleconference, and her (the Administrator). Democratic committee members and the IG characterized the meeting as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty."
  14. ^ White House Feels Waxman's Oversight Gaze -
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Robert Farley (25 August 2011). "Obama’s Canadian-American Bus". FactCheck. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links

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