Priority Open Recommendations: General Services Administration

GAO-21-495PR Published: May 19, 2021. Publicly Released: May 26, 2021.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 4 priority open recommendations for the General Services Administration (GSA) as of May 2021.

For example, two of these recommendations could improve decision-making related to the Department of Homeland Security's headquarters consolidation.

Since our previous letter in May 2020, GSA implemented 4 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In May 2020, GAO identified eight priority recommendations for the General Services Administration (GSA). Since then, GSA has implemented four of those recommendations by, among other things, seeking authority to loan agencies funds for tenant improvement costs that would otherwise be financed as part of new leases, developing a tool to evaluate design choices, and taking steps to ensure consistent implementation and oversight of cybersecurity risk-management activities and ensure an effective agency-wide view for managing risk.

In May 2021, GAO noted four remaining priority recommendations for GSA, which fall into the Federal Real Property Management area. These recommendations involve:

  • improving decision-making related to the Department of Homeland Security's headquarters consolidation by completing a comprehensive needs assessment and cost and benefits analysis and updating cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the consolidation project and viable alternatives,
  • addressing the accuracy of publicly available street address information in GSA's real-property database, and
  • addressing the reliability of information used to calculate reported cost savings for GSA's broker program.

GSA's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in federal real property management—a high-risk area that GAO has identified as needing transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact David Trimble at (202) 512-2834 or

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