2. Introduction

GSA touches the lives of nearly every person in this country. We celebrated our 60th anniversary in 2009 and are probably best known in our unofficial capacity as the nation’s landlord. Our Public Buildings Service acquires space on behalf of the Federal Government through new construction and leasing, and acts as a caretaker for Federal properties across the country. We provide office space to more than a million Federal employees across the nation and oversee the preservation of almost 500 historic buildings. GSA also influences the management of $500 billion in Federal assets. GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service is the lead organization for procurement of products and services (other than buildings and land) for the Federal Government.

Agencies across the government are able to fulfill their individual missions because of our delivery of superior workspaces, acquisition services and expert business solutions. Nearly all Federal activities are conducted using furniture, computer equipment and office supplies procured through us. We help keep the nation safe by providing tools, equipment and nontactical vehicles to the U.S. military. We also provide state and local governments with firefighting and rescue equipment, and law enforcement and disaster recovery products and services.

Our priorities and significant efforts for the coming year demonstrate our commitment to increasing our sustainability while laying the groundwork for a zero environmental footprint. This plan showcases initiatives that make up an unprecedented effort to cut the Federal environmental footprint, increase performance and position the government as leaders in sustainability. We will do this by aggressively pursuing high-impact improvements in a transparent and collaborative way with government colleagues and industry partners. Our zero environmental footprint goal provides a single, unifying purpose to align private-sector incentives with public policy.

President Obama highlighted his administration’s commitment to open government when he unveiled the U.S. National Action Plan on Sept. 20, 2011, at the United Nations. We are proud to highlight some of the ways that we have advanced America’s domestic open government agenda and created a more efficient and effective government through greater transparency, participation and collaboration. To support these efforts and those of our customer agencies, we have led a number of the U.S. National Action Plan open government projects, including the open government platform, national dialogue on improving Federal websites and performance.gov.

Data.gov, Challenge.gov, USAspending.gov and Business Breakthrough go hand in hand as powerful tools to support the administration’s open government efforts. Data.gov helps Federal agencies open their information and data to the public. It allows the public to harness 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. So far, 41 agencies have issued 159 challenges that have helped make buildings greener, prepare communities for disasters, create mobile applications and better deliver humanitarian relief. And this year, USAspending.gov was updated to include new features and functionality that improve public transparency about Federal spending and allow taxpayers to see exactly how their money is being spent.

In addition to GSA’s online open government efforts, we are committed to increasing our outreach efforts to small businesses, partnering with more than 260 small firms through our Business Breakthrough Program conferences. In seven major cities across the country, attendees have learned firsthand from our subject-matter experts from the Public Buildings Service and Federal Acquisition Service about the intricacies of our procurement culture and how to successfully compete for government contracts.

We will demonstrate our commitment to open government through continued public engagement. We continue to use innovative technologies to solicit ideas from the public, and we use challenges as incentives for the public to provide good ideas.

Figure 1 shows the process we used to develop our open government plan. Using Federal agency guidance, the plan used ideas we received from the public, and feedback from internal and external working groups. This plan includes more extensive information about our current programs, initiatives and ongoing mission activities that fulfill the administration’s open government goals.

Figure showing development process for Open Government plan starting with open government guidance, then public dialogue then GSA working group. Figure is an arrow arching up to the right with bullet points pointing to a box with GSA's Open Government Plan.

Figure 1. GSA’s Open Government Plan Development Process

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