State Department's Management of Real Property

T-NSIAD-89-1: Published: Oct 5, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Department of State's Office of Foreign Buildings Operations' (FBO) management of 7,500 U.S.-owned or leased properties overseas and its efforts to resolve previously identified real estate problems. GAO found that: (1) although FBO made progress in establishing a framework for better management, it had not effectively used it for needed improvements; (2) key FBO technical personnel had limited experience in specific real estate activities; (3) although FBO established a board at each post to manage and control housing assignments, the boards generally did not give high priority to concerns for controlling costs or enforcing space standards; and (4) most of the 5,000 short-term leased properties overseas were housing units, which cost the U.S. government about $193 million a year. GAO also found that FBO: (1) established space standards to limit the size of housing units, but the overseas posts either ignored or misinterpreted the standards; (2) did not enforce its required approval of all leases that exceeded cost or square footage limits; (3) did not develop plans for each country to determine what real estate needs existed or how to best satisfy them; (4) lacked qualified maintenance inspection personnel and preventive maintenance criteria; and (5) developed a management information system in 1982, but had not completed installation in most posts.

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