GAO has called on GSA to issue government-wide guidance for agencies to assess the property they have in their warehouses, saying that three agencies it reviewed “did not systematically assess their property for ongoing need and in some cases, retained unneeded property” including obsolete computers and related hardware dating to the 1990s, in one case.
GAO said that as of 2018, agencies operated nearly 18,000 warehouses that take up over 90 million square feet of space, and that under OMB guidance agencies are to reduce their footprints, including in warehouse space. Also, the Federal Personal Property Management Act enacted in that year requires agencies to regularly assess certain types of property under their control.
GAO examined the FAA, Bureau of Prisons and the Energy Department’s Office of Science—which collectively spend about $50 million a year on warehouse rent and operations—which store items ranging from vehicles to furniture and from scientific instruments to prisoner clothing—and found that they “did not systematically assess their property for ongoing need and in some cases, retained unneeded property.”
GSA concurred with a recommendation that it issue guidance for assessing ongoing need for property, such as periodic retention justifications, use of data analytics, and utilization reviews.