"Net Zero Real Estate" or the 11th Commandment: "Thou Shall Not Grow"

In a memo release on May 11, 2012, the President reinforced the policies laid out by Executive Order 13589 (November 9, 2011) and the June 10, 2010 Real Estate related Memorandum on disposing of unneeded Federal real estate, targeting $3B in cost savings by the end of FY2012. In essence, this latest directive provides insight into the expected outcomes of budget planning. It focuses on four areas for cost savings, including:

  1. Travel: spend 30% less than the FY2010 levels from FY2013 to FY2016.
  2. Conferences: conference expenses should be appropriate, necessary, and managed in a manner that minimizes expense to taxpayers.
  3. Real Estate: aggressively dispose of excess properties and make more efficient use of existing assets.
  4. Fleet: maintain a consistent acquisition and replacement schedule to save costs.

For our purposes, we will focus on real estate. The brief section in the memo reiterates the language from the June 2010 memo that led Agencies to establish a Cost Savings and Innovation Plan (often referred to as the CSIP, pronounced "SEE-sip"). In addition, the memo required that Agencies:

"shall not increase the size of their civilian real estate inventory, subject to exceptions as described below.  Acquisition of new Federal building space ... that increases an agency's total square footage of civilian property must be offset through consolidation, co-location, or disposal of space from the inventory of that agency."

An important clarification to this requirement stated that Agencies can, in fact, construct that baseline inventory including the excess or disposed space from the June 2010 exercise. Expect a follow-up from OMB to help Agencies better understand the specific requirements for planning and implementation.

You can find the actual memo here:

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