How GSA benefits the public
In the face of a changing world, we strive to make government work better. We’re leading in a number of ways: preparing for the workplace of the future, making access to federal contracting more equitable, and much more. Our focus, every day, is on delivering an effective and efficient government for all Americans.
We continue to evolve and adapt, leveraging our expertise and innovative thinking at every turn. Over the past year, our talented and diverse workforce continued to develop and implement human-centered, data-driven solutions — including those that address challenges like climate change and the global pandemic — and deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services.
Ensuring federal workplaces evolve to meet the needs of the future
Our Public Buildings Service manages one of the nation’s largest and most diverse real estate portfolios. As agencies across government continue to adjust to a world transformed by COVID-19, PBS is helping shape the workplace of the future. We offer workspace services and solutions that allow agencies to more quickly respond to their current and emerging workplace needs. We also use the buying power of the government to shape market trends and directly support the economic activity of local communities. This helps our partner agencies focus on their core missions and accelerates the federal government’s transition to modern, efficient, and carbon-pollution-free facilities.
Recently passed legislation further supports our efforts. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides us $3.4 billion for upgrades to dozens of border stations and land ports of entry. This will enhance border security, strengthen commerce and supply chains, and facilitate the efficient transportation of people and cargo. The Inflation Reduction Act provides us with an additional $3.4 billion in funding for GSA to invest in low-carbon materials for federal construction projects, to support emerging technologies, and to convert more facilities into high-performance green buildings.
Our real estate activities provide a wide array of cost-saving, job-creating benefits across the country, for example:
- Supporting local communities. We completed a new $144-million federal courthouse in San Antonio, which serves the needs of a fast-growing region. We also modernized a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Massachusetts, which can now serve and provide care to more veterans each year.
- Realizing cost savings for the American people. In Denver, we converted a 150,000-square-foot vacant warehouse into a highly efficient, modern work environment for the U.S. Department of the Interior, saving taxpayers nearly $6 million a year. We also avoided nearly $6 million in future lease costs by reducing the rental footprint of the Internal Revenue Service in the Pacific Rim Region.
- Facilitating public-private partnership. We worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to manage more than a dozen public-private donation projects to improve the facilities at border stations.
Modernizing the federal marketplace
Our Federal Acquisition Service uses the collective buying power of the federal government to provide agencies with valuable and innovative products and services, which enable them to deliver on their missions. One of our most important acquisition-related efforts is modernizing and simplifying the buying and selling process for agencies, acquisition professionals, and suppliers, especially our small businesses partners.
We also leverage federal buying power to address big challenges, such as climate change, working alongside industry partners and the federal community to find new ways to reduce the government’s carbon footprint. This includes offering agencies a growing number of zero-emission and clean technology vehicles. We also support the development of electric vehicle infrastructure, helping the government lead the way toward a greener, more fuel-efficient future.
Beyond cross-cutting governmentwide priorities, there are many agency-specific examples of how we provide value to the public through procurement-related activities, including:
- Improving critical IT infrastructure. We executed a complex IT data center network acquisition, supporting a $750 million exchange partnership with the Department of Transportation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, known as the Volpe Exchange Project.
- Giving small businesses equitable access to the federal marketplace. We created more opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses through the STARS III contract vehicle.
- Supporting cybersecurity. We supported the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency DEFEND portfolio, which protects more than 40 federal agencies.
- Providing assistance during crises. We supported natural disaster emergency relief by awarding 18 agreements to streamline acquisition support in times of crisis. These agreements give small businesses preference and provide a means of rapidly and efficiently awarding orders within hours. We also developed a new agreement with the Centers for Disease Control to provide rapid and direct access to our Multiple Award Schedule for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for products and services they need in public health emergencies.
Making government work better through technology
We lead the way on federal technology. Our Technology Transformation Services and IT portfolios improve the public’s digital interactions with government by providing solutions that make agencies’ services more accessible, equitable, efficient, and effective for the American people.
A major part of our efforts in this area centers on making sure government websites are human centered and deliver what people need when they need it. For example, we provide governmentwide guidance for web design, supporting pages the public visits billions of times each month.
Other examples of how our work improves how the public engages with government include:
- Advancing digital government. We administer Digital.gov, which helps the federal community learn, build, deliver, and measure digital services; we provide services such as the U.S. Web Design System that help websites meet Section 508 standards; and we offer cybersecurity products and services that enhance security, improve resilience, protect information, and more.
- Simplifying federal purchasing. We’ve streamlined how the federal government purchases products and services with the launch of buy.gsa.gov, a one-stop-shop for buying through GSA.
Additional benefits to the public
In addition to the above, GSA provides benefits to the public in many ways. A few examples include:
- Developing key governmentwide policies. We implement policies and programs that guide the government. For example, we help tackle climate change through strengthening requirements in acquisition planning for all agencies.
- Supporting public art. We commission public art for federal building construction projects, engaging with artists from communities across the country who want to contribute to the vibrancy of federal architecture.
- Serving as a model employer. We continue to lead the government in developing new paths to public service, offering workplace flexibility and support, and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility principles to support our workforce and the millions of people they serve.
In these extraordinary times, GSA is no ordinary agency. Our expertise, commitment, creativity, and productivity are readily apparent. Our drive to succeed puts us among today’s top-performing federal agencies, as evidenced by our rise to fourth overall among midsize agencies in the 2021 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings.
As the nation contends with climate change, public health challenges, and other major concerns, we’re sharing our expertise, developing innovative solutions, and working with our many partners across all levels of government to meet the moment and to deliver on our mission for the American people.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
Federal technology equity and accessibility
Inequities in technology design and delivery disproportionately harm those from historically and socially marginalized communities. This means that those who most need government services will often have the most difficulty accessing them.
We are dedicated to actions that prioritize equitable and inclusive user experience, mitigate bias, improve digital accessibility, and modernize the delivery of digital government services to the American people. We are laser focused on advancing equity and accessibility in federal technology and have:
- Expanded language inclusiveness and access to government services through platforms like Vote.gov and USAGov en Español, which provides Spanish-language information in a user-friendly way.
- Launched an equity study to assess the impact of identity verification technologies commonly used by the public when accessing government websites for services and benefits.
- Provided guidance to federal customers on how to advance digital accessibility while implementing DEIA-related federal workforce strategies.
Federal real estate equity and sustainability
GSA is responsible for a nationwide real estate portfolio of more than 360 million rentable square feet. With our vast physical footprint, we are committed to taking actions that help us better track our impact, support economic recovery, improve sustainability and climate resilience, strengthen community engagement, advance equity and diversity in the real estate and construction industries, and improve community and customer experiences within GSA-controlled federal facilities across America. We have:
- Established partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and updated the Art in Architecture program to expand public access and artist representation in the millions of dollars of commissioned artworks installed in federal facilities.
- Partnered with the National Organization of Minority Architects to expand career opportunities for underserved communities in the architecture, engineering, design, and construction industries.
- Sourced DEIA best practices from architecture and construction industries to inform design decisions that can improve accessibility and equity in the built environment.
- Increased the agency’s emphasis on environmental justice through the Environmental Justice and Equity in Federal Sustainable Buildings Task Group [PDF - 1 MB], which engaged external community stakeholders and generated a set of recommendations to advance equity impacts in federal real estate.
- Developed engagement strategies to advance community development goals by leveraging large-scale federal infrastructure projects — including courthouses, office buildings, and border stations — through GSA’s Good Neighbor Program.
Federal contracting diversity, equity and access
Small disadvantaged businesses are disproportionately vulnerable to compounding obstacles and negative impacts while competing for federal government contracts and obligations — including the approximately $87.5 billion in annual contracts we oversee. The complex web of challenges facing SDBs impedes their success and ultimately exacerbates systemic economic disparities in the federal marketplace. Our plan to advance equity in federal procurement coordinates a holistic approach to reduce barriers and improve SDB outcomes at critical stages of the federal contracting lifecycle, with the goal to increase overall contract dollars awarded to underserved and disadvantaged communities. We have advanced DEIA in federal contracting by:
- Increasing FY 2022 spending goals for Small Disadvantaged Businesses and the AbilityOne program from 5 percent to 21 percent.
- Establishing the Polaris contract vehicle that makes it easier for small businesses, historically underutilized business zones, women-owned small businesses, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses to offer innovative IT solutions to the government.
- Committing to a post-award engagement strategy to support disadvantaged and socioeconomic small businesses, which often still face challenges in successfully earning sales after being awarded a GSA contract.
- Developing a supplier diversity plan and establishing new partnerships with organizations like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, to support economic advancement and increased participation of disadvantaged communities in the federal marketplace.