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The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and develops government-wide cost-minimizing policies, among other management tasks. Its stated mission is to "help federal agencies better serve the public by offering, at best value, superior workplaces, expert solutions, acquisition services and management policies."


Former President Herbert Hoover was asked in 1947 by President Harry Truman to lead a commission to make recommendations to the President and Congress on how to improve the administrative activities of the federal government. One of the recommendations of the commission was the establishment of an "Office of the General Services." This proposed office would combine the responsibilities of the Treasury Departmentmarker's Bureau of Federal Supply and Office of Contract Settlement, the National Archives Establishment, the Federal Work Agency, and the War Assets Administration. GSA became an independent agency on July 1, 1949, following the passage of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. General Jess Larson, Administrator of the War Assets Administration, was named as GSA's first Administrator.

The first job awaiting Administrator Larson and the newly formed GSA was a complete renovation of the White Housemarker. The structure had fallen into such a state of disrepair by 1949 that one inspector of the time said the historic structure was standing “purely from habit.” Larson later explained the in depth nature of the total renovation by saying, “In order to make the White House structurally sound, it was necessary to completely dismantle, and I mean completely dismantle, everything from the White House except the four walls, which were constructed of stone. Everything, except the four walls without a roof, was finally stripped down, and that's where the work started.” GSA worked closely with President Truman and First Lady Bess Truman to ensure that the new agency's first major project was a success. GSA completed the renovation in 1952.

GSA today

GSA employs about 12,000 federal workers and has an annual operating budget of roughly $26.3 billion, approximately 1% of which is appropriated from taxpayer dollars. GSA oversees $66 billion of procurement annually. It contributes to the management of about $500 billion in U.S. Federal property, divided chiefly among 8,300 owned and leased buildings and a 210,000 vehicle motor pool. Among the real estate assets managed by the GSA are the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centermarker in Washington, DC, the largest U.S. Federal building after The Pentagonmarker and the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center which had previously been the Battle Creek Sanitarium run by John Harvey Kellogg.

GSA's business lines include the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Public Buildings Service (PBS). Other divisions include the Office of Governmentwide Policy, and various Staff Offices, including the Office of Small Business Utilization, the Office of Civil Rights, and the Office of Citizen Services and Communications. The official U.S. government web portal,, and the Spanish-language web portal to U.S. government services,, are members of the Office of Citizen Services and Communication’s family of websites, which also includes (the Federal Citizen Information Center),,, and

The National Archives and Records Administrationmarker was also part of GSA until it was made an independent agency in 1985.

GSA recently completed early-outs and buy-outs to reduce staff. It reorganized to merge the Federal Supply Service (FSS) and Federal Technology Service (FTS) business lines into Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). Bush Administration political appointee Stephen A. Perry resigned as GSA Administrator on October 31, 2005. On May 31, 2006, Lurita Doan, also a Bush Administration political appointee, took the oath of office to become the 18th GSA Administrator and the first woman to hold the position. Lurita Doan resigned from office on April 29, 2008. David Bibb was acting administrator from April 30, 2008 until September 1, 2008.

On June 25, 2008, the White House announced that Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner James A. Williams was nominated to be GSA's administrator, replacing Lurita Doan. Williams served as the first commissioner of FAS after the agency combined the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service. Williams is a career SES member, rather than a political appointee. The announcement came on the same day that acting administrator David Bibb announced that he planned to retire on September 1, 2008 to pursue work in the private sector.

GSA Schedule

GSA assists with procurement work for other government agencies. As part of this effort, it maintains the large GSA Schedule, which other agencies can use to buy goods and services. The GSA Schedule can be thought of as a collection of pre-negotiated contracts. Procurement managers from government agencies can view these agreements and make purchases from the GSA Schedule knowing that all legal obligations have been taken care of by GSA.


GSA conducts its business activities through 11 offices (known as GSA Regions) throughout the United States, located in: Atlantamarker, Bostonmarker, Chicagomarker, Denvermarker, Ft.marker Worthmarker, Kansas City, Missourimarker, New York Citymarker, Philadelphiamarker, San Franciscomarker, Seattlemarker (Auburn), and Washington, D.C.marker

Region # Region Name Complex Location
1 New England Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building Boston, MA
2 Northeast and Caribbean Jacob K.marker Javits Federal Buildingmarker New York, NY
3 Mid-Atlantic The Strawbridge Building Philadelphia, PA
4 Southeast Sunbelt 77 Forsyth Street Atlanta, GA
5 Great Lakes Kluczynski Federal Buildingmarker Chicago, IL
6 Heartland Bannister Federal Complexmarker Kansas City, MO
7 Greater Southwest Fritz G. Lanham Federal Building Fort Worth, TX
8 Rocky Mountain Denver Federal Centermarker Denver, CO
9 Pacific Rim 450 Golden Gate Avenue San Francisco, CA
10 Northwest/Arctic 400 15th St. SW Auburn, WA
11 National Capital 301 7th St. SW Washington, DC


  • On June 20, 2006, former GSA Chief of Staff David Safavian was found guilty by a jury in federal court on four of five felony charges. The charges were related to some of his work at the GSA as part of the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal. He was found guilty of lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, lying to a GSA ethics official, lying to the GSA's Office of Inspector General, and obstructing the work of the GSA inspector general. Safavian was cleared of obstructing the committee's investigation. On October 27, 2006, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

  • On December 2006, former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan proposed cutting the budget of GSA’s Office of the Inspector General for reviewing government contracts for fraud and waste (previous IG audits have allowed the agency to recover billions of dollars of fraudulent contracts). Doan has criticized GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller for not supporting her effort to implement simpler procedures for contractors. Some IG budget officials, however, viewed IG "streamlining efforts" as problematic. John C. Lebo, formerly with the GSA IG staff, described the changes as troubling and unprecedented. "The Administrator's Office wants to change the IG's overall approach from independently rooting out crime, fraud and abuse, to one in which the OIG is a team player working with GSA."

  • GSA was involved in White House efforts to politicize non-partisan government agencies. Former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan attended GSA meetings involving presentation slides which mentioned GOP strategies and tactics for the 2008 Federal Elections (Government agencies are prohibited from engaging in political activities by the Hatch Act). An independent investigation by the United States Office of Special Counsel concluded that Lurita Doan had conducted "the most pernicious of political activity" and recommended that she "be disciplined to the fullest extent for her serious violation of the Hatch Act and insensitivity to cooperating fully and honestly in the course of our investigation" -- it recommended to President Bush that she be removed from office. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) also investigated former GSA head, Lurita Doan, regarding those meetings and presentations by GSA officials. Doan testified that she had no knowledge of the origin of the presentation slides and she had no memory of what she said. Although Republican committee members denounced the investigation as a "witch hunt" intending to smear the Bush administration and the GSA with the appearance of wrongdoing, nevertheless, Democrat Chairman Waxman urged Lurita Doan to resign. Lurita Doan resigned on April 29, 2008 at the request of the White House.

Environmental record

As the government’s premier procurement agency, GSA:

  • Offers some 10,000 green goods and services;
  • Makes eco-friendly procurement easier and easier for federal agencies;
  • Has for many years helped agencies with energy-efficient, cost-effective recycling programs;
  • Has developed 14 telework centers;
  • Encourages workers to plant trees and to recycle at home.

GSA complies with Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.

Public Buildings Service, Federal Buildings Fund and Green Buildings

Public Buildings Service provides workplaces for federal customer agencies and United States courthouses at good economies to the American taxpayer.

PBS is funded primarily through the Federal Buildings Fund, which is supported by rent from federal customer agencies .

GSA has earned a LEED rating for 24 buildings.

Some of green offerings at new buildings includes green roofs (planted roofs that can substantially reduce rainwater run-off during storms and provide significant insulation for the buildings), underfloor air distribution (that delivers cooling and heating air at floor level instead of from the ceiling), purchasing and using renewable power from utility companies and light shelves (located outside of the building that reduce the amount of heat radiating into the building from the sun while increasing the amount of natural light and high ceilings that help direct daylight deep into the work environment).

Office of High-Performance Green Buildings

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has made available not less than $4.5 billion for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings, as defined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140).

The new legislation requires GSA to:
  • Establish an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings and appoint a career Senior Executive Service official to lead the office;
  • Review current energy-reduction measures used in the lighting, heating and cooling of federal buildings;
  • Develop a process to ensure that any energy conservation measure employed in a major building renovation use the most energy-efficient designs, systems and equipment;
  • Ensure that all leases are in buildings that have earned the Energy Star level;
  • Incorporating ground source heat pump.
  • And ensure that all new buildings and major renovations are designed to reduce fuel consumption by 55 percent.

There is an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings within the Public Buildings Service, that will ensure all federal buildings are meeting sustainable design and energy-reduction targets, with Kevin Kampschroer, serving as acting head of the office. This office will work in conjunction with the Department of Energy’s office that will have the same responsibility for commercial buildings.

Federal Vehicle Fleet management

In the United States, Federal Vehicle fleets refers to the Federal Government vehicles.

GSA contributes to the management of U.S. Federal property, including a 210,000 vehicle motor pool.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $300 million to acquire energy-efficient motor vehicles for the federal vehicle fleet.

President Barack Obama announced that GSA will buy about 17,600 new, fuel-efficient vehicles from U.S. auto companies by June 1, 2009. The purchase will draw on funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be on an accelerated schedule to help support U.S. automakers. The GSA will spend $285 million to purchase the vehicles from General Motors Corporation, Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor Company. The purchase will include 2,500 hybrid sedans—the largest one-time purchase yet of hybrid vehicles for the federal government—and each new vehicle will yield at least a 10% fuel economy improvement over the vehicle it replaces. The GSA will also spend $15 million by the end of September to purchase a pilot fleet of advanced-technology vehicles, including all-electric vehicles and hybrid buses.

See also


  1. GSA - GSA Assists in Coordinated Effort To Transform White House Press Briefing Room
  2. Doan Ends Her Stormy Tenure as GSA Chief, Washington Post, 1 May 2008
  3. Williams nominated as GSA administrator
  4. GSA Chief Seeks to Cut Budget For Audits, Washington Post, 2 December 2006
  5. Report: Contracting head illegally political -
  6. GSA chief grilled over potential Hatch Act violations, CREW (citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington), 28 March 2007
  7. GSA reputation takes a hit amid contracting impropriety charges, PRWeek, 30 March 2007. "Doan was also grilled about partisan activities. She was questioned about a January 26 lunchtime meeting at GSA headquarters involving White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings, 40-plus Bush administration political appointees at the GSA, attending in person or via teleconference, and her (the Administrator). Democratic committee members and the IG characterized the meeting as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty."
  8. White House Feels Waxman's Oversight Gaze -

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