Federal Real Property: Views on Real Property Reform Issues

GAO-02-622T Published: Apr 18, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 2002.
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The Federal Property Asset Management Reform Act of 2002, will enhance federal real and personal property management and bring the policies and business practices of federal agencies into the 21st century. Available data show that the federal government owns hundreds of thousands of properties worldwide, including military installations, office buildings, laboratories, courthouses, embassies, postal facilities, national parks, forests, and other public lands, estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Most of this government-owned real property is under the custody and control of eight agencies--the Department of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, the Interior, and Veterans Affairs; General Services Administration; the Tennessee Valley Authority; and the U.S. Postal Service. Federal property managers have a large deferred maintenance backlog, obsolete and underutilized properties, and changing facility needs due to rapid advances in technology. It is important that real property-holding agencies link their real property strategic plans to their missions and related capital management and performance plans; ensure that senior real property officers have the knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to effectively perform their duties; are accountable for the reliability, usefulness, and timeliness of their data; and adopt an effective process to monitor and evaluate any management tool authorized by the bill. It is equally important that GSA provides written guidance to agencies on the development of their business and asset management plans and that Congress provide appropriate control and oversight of intended and actual use of the funds retained from real property transactions.

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