OMB instructs agencies to further cut travel and conferences

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Acting Budget Director Jeffrey Zients on Friday instructed all agency heads to step up efforts to economize through more selective employee travel and conference planning, as well as through improved management of vehicle fleets and disposal of unneeded federal properties.

In a memo, Zients directed agencies to build on cost-containment strategies in the works since President Obama’s Nov. 9, 2011, executive order on efficient spending. Zients noted the president’s 2013 budget identifies $8 billion in reduced costs as a result of that order.

“From his first days in office, President Obama has led a concerted and aggressive effort to streamline government and cut wasteful and inefficient spending wherever it exists so that we can focus our resources on serving the American people,” Zients wrote in an accompanying blog post. “From slowing the uncontrolled growth of federal contracting to getting rid of excess real estate held by agencies and reining in spending on federal employee travel, this administration has already cut billions in inefficient spending across the federal government.”

He added, “these efforts and others have already produced more than $280 million in reduced costs in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to the same period in fiscal 2010.” In the area of travel, every agency is to spend at least 30 percent less in fiscal 2013 and maintain that level through 2016.

On conferences, the memo requires deputy secretaries to review any such event if it could cost an agency more than $100,000. It requires department secretaries to personally sign a waiver for conferences costing more than $500,000. It also requires agencies to post publicly each January on the prior year’s conference spending, including descriptions of agency conferences that cost more than $100,000.

On fleets, agencies will use existing General Services Administration fleet services, or initiate a replacement and renewal schedule that is consistent with requirements spelled out in a May 2011 presidential memorandum and the Federal Management Regulation.

On property ownership, agencies are barred, as of Friday, from increasing the size of their civilian real estate inventory, except under specified conditions.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.