Letter from the Administrator
I am proud to present the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Agency Financial Report (AFR) of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The AFR highlights key accomplishments in our programs and financial management for the past year.
In FY 2011, GSA received another unqualified “clean” audit opinion from our independent auditors. The audit opinion and financial results reported in the AFR verify that GSA financial operations comply with federal financial regulations, Department of the Treasury guidance, and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). GSA’s AFR provides taxpayers and our customers with confidence that we manage our operations with the same stewardship that they apply to managing their own funds.
The GSA mission is to use our expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions and by so doing, foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people. GSA has three strategic goals to help us achieve our mission: Innovation, Customer Intimacy, and Operational Excellence. The results reported in the AFR reflect our commitment to these goals and to our mission.
GSA is an innovation engine for the government. Historically, we have leaned towards innovative solutions. This year, however, as we have broadened and deepened that capacity, we have made innovation a core and repeatable competency. Thanks to our wide scope of expertise and breadth of activities, GSA is the frequent first mover in testing and adopting agile technologies and leading-edge processes.
Because of our positioning as the acquisition and workspace experts within the government, GSA is empowered to take smart risks and bold steps to introduce next-generation tools to government work. As a result, customer agencies look to us for guidance on finding innovative, cost-effective solutions for their operational needs.
One example of this is GSA’s work around the open government initiatives, a government-wide effort to push information out to the public and invite the public in to solve government challenges. In support of this initiative, GSA has set up two websites, Data.Gov and Challenge.Gov. Data.Gov is a forum for agencies to open their information and data to the public. It allows citizens to harness and peruse vast amounts of government data ranging from seismic activity trends to energy usage. Challenge.Gov is a venue for agencies to tap into the collective wisdom of the public and draw out the best and brightest ideas for solving the nation’s challenges. With the promise of monetary rewards for winning solutions, agencies post challenges that they face online and the public, private individuals as well as academic institutions and research organizations, provide their solution to the problem. Since its beginning one year ago, over one hundred challenges have been issued on Challenge.Gov with awards in excess of $36 million. Individually, these websites represent the next chapter in government transparency and openness. Together, they offer our customer agencies an unprecedented suite of innovative tools for solving their greatest challenges through citizen engagement.
In the past year, we honed our expertise along a broad range of innovative building technologies including geothermal, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy sources. We shifted the balance in the federal fleet toward more efficient vehicles, used green criteria to select business partners, and played a significant role in putting the government’s stake in the ground on e-waste management. Our solid performance gives credence to the possibilities of the green economy of the future, and to the notion that we stand at the front of the government’s innovation agenda.
Customer Intimacy requires a deep understanding of the business of our clients, the federal judiciary, agencies, and government at all levels; and openness to new ideas and solutions from our industry partners. GSA’s position within the government is therefore unique, as we support the government while partnering closely with businesses. In this respect, GSA acts as a membrane between government and industry, passing customer preferences and operational challenges to the private sector and relaying market messages and innovative solutions back to government. For customers, we offer unparalleled expertise and best value in everything from IT to travel to buildings to disposal of property. For industry, we provide clear business opportunities, encourage innovation, and support and invite good ideas. Understanding the challenges that our customers face now, as well as those they will face in the future, is the hallmark of GSA customer service.