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Opening Remarks by U.S. General Services Administrator Emily Murphy December 12, 2017

Thank you Mick and Tim for the warm introductions.  Thank you Tim for the exceptional work you have done as our acting administrator.  Your leadership has allowed GSA’s work to continue seamlessly over these past 11 months.

It’s truly an honor and a privilege to serve as the administrator of General Services.  I have known many of you since my previous time here when I served as the inaugural chief acquisition officer.

I am grateful to have my parents, Jim and Mimi Murphy, here to hold the same family Bible they did the last time I was sworn in at GSA.  I can’t believe that was more than a dozen years ago - none of us have aged at all.  I’m also glad to have my sister Anne and brother Joey join me here.  

I came to Washington, D.C. to intern for my Member of Congress, who shortly thereafter hired me to work for him at the House Committee on Small Business.  As the newest kid on the block, I was assigned an issue that most people shy away from: federal procurement policy, and I loved it.

I quickly realized I could make a difference by saving taxpayers’ money, improving competition, and helping other agencies deliver their missions.  All of my prior experience has contributed to my tremendous appreciation for the important work GSA does.  

Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked on procurement policy from many different angles:

  • as a lawyer representing clients navigating the federal procurement system,
  • at SBA,
  • on Capitol Hill,
  • working with prime and subcontractors,
  • and of course, here at GSA.

Given this experience, I can’t think of a better place to maximize value for taxpayers and make a difference in government than with the incredibly talented and hard-working team at GSA.

So how do we maximize that value?  As administrator, the first priority you can expect from me is a focus on ethical leadership.  I believe that the citizens we serve demand confidence in the integrity of their government.

I will strive to earn that trust every day by creating a culture that puts the taxpayer first, encourages a diversity of opinions, values the contributions of all employees, and promotes a safe culture for reporting misconduct.

My second priority is to reduce duplication.  Progress has been made since I previously served at GSA, but we have opportunities to strengthen our role as a mission-enabler.  

For example, fixing our underlying systems will reduce barriers to entry for small and innovative contractors.  It will reduce barriers to access for our customer agencies, allowing them to devote their resources to their missions.  

Systems modernization will also reduce the risk inherent in managing outdated systems, which will save money and improve our security posture.

Furthermore, the recent merger of the Technology Transformation Services with the Federal Acquisition Service will help streamline and improve our efforts to ensure agencies can buy, share, and build technology through Government-wide platforms, as well as promote the use of agile, user-centered development practices.

To truly reduce duplication, GSA should also facilitate the adoption of shared services.  

Third, it is critical that we look for additional ways to increase competition.  There are opportunities to do so at both the contract award level, at the task order level, and in our real property portfolio.

For example, in the next five years, leases for about 100 million square feet of office space are set to expire.  This gives us an incredible opportunity in the Public Buildings Service to work with Congress and our tenant agencies to get better deals.  

Improving transparency is central to our work.  Whether this means providing taxpayers access to the Federal Real Property Profile database, working to make more data available at, or improving the integration and usability of the System for Award Management, increased transparency will instill confidence, lead to increased competition, cost savings, informed policy making and accountability.

Ethical behavior, reduced duplication, increased competition, and improved transparency are guiding principles that I believe must be applied to every facet of GSA’s mission.

They will provide a framework for inspiring confidence in the agency:

  • first from the tremendous talent we employ here
  • and also from Congress,
  • From the agencies we support and those who do business with GSA
  • and from the American taxpayer.

Thank you again for being here today, I look forward to working together as we achieve great things for our nation.