How the GSA Benefits the Public

While the world has changed in the nearly seven decades since GSA was founded, the need for an efficient and effective Federal Government remains critical. GSA was established on July 1, 1949, to consolidate many administrative functions across Government into one organization. The agency was charged with eliminating wasteful duplication, reducing costs, streamlining acquisition and distribution of supplies, generate more competition for American business and centralizing the management of Federal buildings. For more information on GSA please see 2Celebrating 69 Years of Carrying Out GSA's Vision.

During the last 69 years, GSA’s responsibilities have grown exponentially, often leading change and championing new, fresh and dynamic ideas. GSA’s expertise, ideas and innovation are wide-ranging and touch nearly every aspect of the Federal Government’s operation.

What has not changed is GSA’s commitment to supporting Federal customers and partners by providing cost-effective, high-quality services. GSA provides the physical space, supplies, technical innovation and products and services essential to operating the Federal Government. As described in 3GSA's 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, the agency mission of delivering value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology and other mission-support services across Government is at the core of our work. Every day, GSA helps agencies buy smarter and create a more agile Government to help make a difference in communities across the country.

In short, GSA strives for the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness so the Federal Government can better serve the American people.

Well Managed, Cost Effective Real Estate

Under the National Historic Preservation Act of 2000, GSA, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service has managed the conveyance of 79 Federally-owned historic light stations to qualified new stewards.

GSA’s first strategic goal is to save taxpayer money through better management of Federal real estate. With more than 368 million rentable square feet (RSF) in over 8,700 active assets, GSA administers one of the largest and most diversified real estate portfolios in the world. The agency supports safe, productive workplaces by managing and preserving Government buildings, as well as leasing and managing commercial real estate. GSA manages assets throughout 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to meet the varied missions of our many Federal agency partners.

In addition to providing workspace to customer agencies, GSA is responsible for promoting effective use of Federal real property assets and the adopting of innovative workplace solutions and technologies. Through lease and purchase transactions, GSA delivers the workspace necessary to meet the varied missions of its customer agencies. In FY 2018, GSA disposed of 140 assets on behalf of the Federal Government generating more than $123.2 million in proceeds; these disposals resulted in a reduction of more than 4.92 million gross square feet and 2,735 acres of land from the Federal inventory. Many of these former Federal properties found new uses fueling local economic development and community revitalization efforts.

In FY 2018, GSA made data from the Federal Government’s 2017 4real property inventory available to the public for the first time through the Federal Real Property Profile Management System. The FRPP Management System lists an inventory of Federal properties under the custody and control of executive branch agencies. This database improves transparency in the Federal Government’s real property footprint and assists agencies by making it easier to identify and dispose of underutilized property.

GSA helped Customs and Border Patrol restore and install this plaque that was damaged in the World Trade Center terrorist attack
GSA helped Customs and Border Patrol restore and install this plaque that was damaged in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. The installation is part of a 9/11 remembrance in the One World Trade Center Federal offices.

GSA does work beyond acquisitions and rent. Sometimes customer service requires taking an extra step. In 2018, GSA helped the U. S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) recover a plaque dedicated to customs service members who served in the First World War, Second World War and the Korean War. The plaque, damaged during the 9/11 attacks, was recovered from a landfill, refurbished and is now installed inside the One World Trade Center after GSA worked with CBP to create space for 9/11 remembrance. 5This video talks about GSA's role in preserving 9/11 artifacts.

Easy, Efficient and Modern Acquisition

GSA’s second strategic goal is to serve as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across the Federal Government. Our acquisition solutions offer private sector professional services, equipment, supplies, telecommunications, and information technology to Government organizations and the military. In 2018, GSA leadership focused on simplifying and streamlining access to the Federal marketplace for buyers and vendors, making operations more efficient, and modernizing systems and processes.

GSA utilizes the buying power of the Government which facilitates $55 billion a year in the procurement of goods and services in support of Government agencies. At the same time, GSA's acquisition tools and programs reduce wasteful contract duplications and allow customer agencies to focus more resources on fulfilling their missions to the American people. One example of GSA’s efforts to streamline services across the Government is the signature City Pairs travel program. Led by the Federal Acquisition Service, City Pairs is the largest negotiated contract and managed airline program in the world. The contract delivers savings to all Federal agencies through pre-negotiated and firm-fixed-price rates, offering a 49 percent discount on comparable commercial fares. The discounted fares result in approximately $2 billion in savings annually to the American taxpayer over the cost of full price commercial fares.

GSA's City Pairs Program Graphic

Additionally, GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization manages programs designed to increase small business contracting opportunities with the Federal Government. GSA works diligently to ensure contracting opportunities are available to small disadvantaged businesses, businesses owned by women and service disabled veterans and those operating in historically underutilized geographic areas (HUBZones). In 2018, GSA awarded or maintained contracts with this vendor community valued at $1.8 billion for goods and services.

Access to and Use of Innovative Information Technology (IT)

GSA’s third strategic goal is to improve the way Federal agencies buy, build and use technology. The modernization of the Federal Government’s IT infrastructure and applications is an important priority of the Administration.

6Technology Transformation Services (TTS) is part of the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). Its mission is to improve the public’s experience with the Government by helping Federal and state agencies build, buy and share technology that allows them to better serve the public.  One of the TMF’s first awards was $10 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Experience Portal - providing America’s farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and private foresters with seamless service across USDA agencies.

In partnership with the White House Office of American Innovation, GSA introduced IT Modernization Centers of Excellence (CoE) in FY 2018 to make it easier for the American people to interact with their Government. Working side-by-side with tech leaders at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, GSA is helping assess the state of both agencies IT resources and needs -- not just hardware, but people, time and project scope -- to determine the smartest way to identify and address these needs while also helping them deliver on their missions.

GSA also supports the operation and administration of the 7Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). The TMF is an innovative funding vehicle that enables Federal agencies to invest in modernizing aging technologies through loans to deliver services to the American public more quickly, better secure sensitive systems and data, and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently.

Improved Operations through Shared Services

The fourth strategic goal is to implement expanded shared services across the Federal Government to improve performance and save taxpayer money.

Administrative services constitute the infrastructure necessary for an agency to execute its primary mission. In order to improve the way Government serves the American public, Government is transforming the way it does business internally. The bottom line: sharing systems and people that support administrative functions makes good business sense - it will allow agencies to direct more resources toward their core missions.

According to the 8President's Management Agenda Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal Action Plan for FY 2018 Q2, Federal agencies spend more than $28.6 billion every year on administrative services such as processing hiring transactions, managing finances, closing contracts, and processing payroll. In many cases agencies have addressed their needs by creating unique systems and processes resulting in duplication across Government. For example, there are currently more than 100 systems to track time and attendance.

GSA is leading the effort to adopt quality shared services, where appropriate, across the Government through the PMA. To begin this work, GSA, in partnership with the Office of Management and Budget, consulted with agencies to gather information on questions like, “What processes are most common within your agency today?” and “Are there ways we can realize significant cost savings and increase efficiency by taking an enterprise approach to services?”

Through this process, GSA will create new standards defining which services make the most sense to share, as well as the technology needed to support the services, while ensuring that GSA meets agency needs in a standard, uniform way.


Around the globe and at every level across the agency, the people of GSA understand and take immense pride in meeting our Federal customers’ needs, as well as those of the American people. Wherever GSA is present, there is a passion for delivering actionable solutions that will have a lasting, positive effect on the agency customers we serve. We look forward to continuing to deliver value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology and other mission-support services across the Federal Government.

Last Reviewed: 2021-02-05