Freeze the Footprint


FY 2012 marked the beginning the Freeze the Footprint policy (FTF) and agencies’ efforts to freeze their office and warehouse space to a fixed baseline. Since FY 2012, a total of 24.7 million square feet of office and warehouse space has been reduced from agencies’ real property baselines.  Approximately 10.2 million square feet (SF) were reduced in FY 2013, another 11.2 million SF were reduced in FY 2014, and in the final year of the FTF policy, FY 2015, 3.7 million SF were reduced. At the end of FY 2015, the total domestic federal inventory of office and warehouse space was 705.4 million SF, which is a 3.4% reduction from the FY 2012 office and warehouse baseline.


The FTF policy has expired.  It was written to freeze agencies’ office and warehouse baselines for three years, from FY 2012 to FY 2015. Federal agencies have exceeded the FTF policy’s objective by decreasing the government-wide office and warehouse baseline by 24.7 million square feet. Although the FTF policy has expired, the requirement for agencies to freeze their office and warehouse baselines to a set portfolio is continued through the Reduce the Footprint (RTF) policy.  The RTF policy is the successor to the FTF policy; it uses FY 2015 data to set a new office and warehouse baseline for agencies to adhere to.


On March 25, 2015, OMB released the National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property and its companion policy, the Reduce the Footprint (RTF) policy. The National Strategy, a three-step framework to improve real property management aims to freeze growth in the inventory, measure performance to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements through data driven decision-making, and ultimately reduce the size of the inventory by prioritizing actions to consolidate, co-locate, and dispose of properties.  Over time, application of the National Strategy will improve the utilization of government owned and leased buildings, lower the number of excess and underutilized properties, and improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the overall real property portfolio.

To aggressively make progress under this strategy, OMB issued Memorandum No.2015-01, the RTF policy, on March 25, 2015.  This policy requires agencies to submit annual Real Property Efficiency Plans (Plan) to OMB that:  (1) set annual square foot reduction targets for federal domestic buildings; (2) adopt space design standards to optimize federal domestic office space usage; and, (3) maintain their FY 2015 RTF office and warehouse baselines. Under the RTF policy, OMB has established government-wide policy to use real property as efficiently as possible and to reduce agency real property portfolios though annual reduction targets.  The policy is an impetus for real property management transformation that will provide value to the taxpayer.

The SF reduction targets that agencies have established in their FY 2016 – FY 2020 Plans are posted at {insert web page}.


The Federal Government owns or leases roughly 1.1 million real property assets, including land, buildings, and structures. Within this portfolio, there are opportunities for savings by reducing Federally-occupied space and using space more efficiently.  To achieve the goal of shrinking the Federal real estate inventory and reducing operating costs, the Administration has taken several steps to improve the management of Federal real property.  The Administration will continue to build on this progress by pursuing a long-term strategy of freezing growth in the portfolio, measuring the cost and utilization of real property to support more efficient use, and identifying opportunities to reduce the portfolio through asset disposal.


The Administration’s “Freeze the Footprint” policy for Federal real estate requires that agencies freeze the growth in their office and warehouse inventory or offset any new acquisitions with concomitant reductions.  Under the guidance to implement the Administration’s “Freeze the Footprint” policy, agencies develop and annually update three-year plans to restrict the growth in their office and warehouse inventories.  Agencies also developed internal controls to facilitate increased communication between agency Chief Financial Officer and Real Property Management offices.  The coordinated planning and communication has improved agencies’ internal management of Federal real property assets.


This effort supports the President’s Second-Term Management Agenda priority for Federal agencies to increase the quality and efficiency of their core administrative functions to enhance productivity.  The continued emphasis on controlling space growth also supports OMB, GSA, and the Federal Real Property Council’s efforts to improve the quality of real estate data.  More information on the President’s Management Agenda and the supporting Cross-Agency Priority Goal to benchmark the Federal Government’s core operations is available here.  More information on GSA’s annual real property data reporting guidance is available here


To ensure accountability and transparency on agency efforts toward meeting their individual “Freeze the Footprint” baseline, agency baseline and FY 2013 office and warehouse space inventory numbers are available within this section of The Federal Government’s overall progress against this goal is displayed below.  In FY 2013, the government-wide and individual agency totals exclude the effect of agency reductions due to reclassification of asset type.  To ensure consistency of the overall initiative, only actions that remove the actual asset from the agency’s inventory, or work to report the asset as “excess” to GSA, are credited as offsets.  The adjusted total is displayed on each individual agency page and in the government-wide graph below.

Agency “Freeze the Footprint” Baselines

In March 2013, OMB issued implementing guidance for the “Freeze the Footprint” policy, which directed CFO Act agencies to maintain the total size of their agency office and warehouse space to an FY 2012 baseline.

The chart to the right depicts the overall performance of the Federal Government through the FY 2012 to FY 2015 goal period against the initial FY 2012 baseline of 730.2 million square feet.  As of the end of FY 2014, the office and warehouse space in the inventory of the 24 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) agencies totaled just over 708 million square feet, representing a total reduction of 21.4 million square feet against the FY 2012 baseline.  The Government’s performance is measured by agency submissions to the Federal Real Property Profile and agency occupied space in GSA owned and leased buildings under Occupancy Agreements.

Freeze the Footprint Agency Breakdown

Total Domestic Office and Warehouse Square Feet

Agencies 2013 FTF Baseline 2014 FTF Total 2015 FTF Total 2016 FTF Total SF Change FY 2013 Baseline to FY 2016
Department of Agriculture35,928,77435,495,90835,373,76635,264,377-664,397
Department of Commerce11,837,10211,488,05611,553,82911,280,282-556,820
Department of Defense336,243,186328,566,841320,008,040320,131,364-16,111,822
Department of Education1,563,6411,567,9051,550,1581,548,425-15,216
Department of Energy35,733,81335,723,26735,235,40934,566,274-1,167,539
Department of Health and Human Services19,716,20319,924,63520,051,01220,346,775630,572
Department of Homeland Security48,392,55348,492,66048,837,76647,988,871-403,682
Department of Housing and Urban Development3,291,6363,267,8983,185,7543,110,469-181,167
Department of Justice48,472,79548,452,07948,246,27348,184,756-288,039
Department of Labor6,942,5096,979,8046,976,1716,929,749-12,760
Department of State6,837,6537,145,6127,467,8077,370,794533,141
Department of the Interior42,869,11242,079,37041,514,52040,971,105-1,898,007
Department of The Treasury29,992,02428,970,54328,428,47127,579,115-2,412,909
Department of Transportation12,975,74412,869,54012,754,24213,021,42545,681
Department of Veterans Affairs28,868,20929,527,07929,586,30829,825,104956,895
Environmental Protection Agency5,906,8475,815,3215,671,7945,657,993-248,854
General Services Administration6,665,6846,002,0685,641,8575,235,101-1,430,583
National Aeronautics and Space Administration15,714,44715,476,09215,407,56715,518,888-195,559
National Science Foundation1,192,5441,200,4901,227,4891,260,59268,048
Nuclear Regulatory Commission1,170,2421,410,8771,283,2141,134,068-36,174
Office of Personnel Management1,329,1811,319,0491,298,8591,282,947-46,234
Small Business Administration1,374,6441,352,1621,319,7311,362,527-12,117
Social Security Administration26,367,25326,031,62625,241,80624,956,355-1,410,898
U.S. Agency for International Development786,259789,634834,417909,001122,742