The History of the GSA

In 1947, Harry Truman hatched an idea to reorganize the operations of the Federal Government. At the time, the Federal Government purchasing process was a disaster. Every agency was in need of organization. 

The first step in this new process was to establish the “Office of the General Services.” The proposed office would combine the responsibilities of numerous Federal agencies, including: 

On July 1, 1949, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act was passed, and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) was born.

The First Job

General Jess Larson was head of the War Assets Administration before 1949. The GSA was quick to name him the first Administrator of the agency. Soon after, the Federal Government handed the GSA Administrator his first job — rebuilding the White House

In 1949, the White House was somewhat in ruin. The structure had fallen into such disarray that many inspectors didn’t understand how it was still standing. So, the first task that President Truman saw fit to be handled was the fixing of his current home. 

To make the White House Structurally sounds, it was necessary to completely dismantle everything from the building except four walls. Throughout the process, the GSA worked closely with President Truman and First Lady Bess to ensure that the first project would be a success. 

They had no idea just how successful the GSA would one day be. 

Real Estate

Initially, most jobs were based in the realty and property management category. In the late 1980s, this was the most needed project throughout the nation.

In 1985, the GSA began to provide governmentwide policy guidance for federal properties. 

Ten years later, all of “the GSA’s functions had been merged into the Office of Government-wide Policy, which sets policy in the areas of personal and real property, travel, transportation, information technology (IT), regulatory information, and use of federal advisory committees.”

Throughout the years, the GSA continued to make strides in Federal property management and completed work on over 500 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects in all 50 states by 2010. 

The GSA’s ARRA program covered a variety of work aimed at transforming aging structures into high-performing buildings, including mechanical upgrades, new lighting, on-site renewable energy, and everything in between. 

Making it Easier

Above all else, the goal of the General Services Administration was to make purchasing and procurement easier for Government agencies. Over the years, that is exactly what the agency did. 

In 2007, the GSA consolidated the Federal Telecommunication Service into the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) to better align the delivery of its solutions in an ever-changing business world.

In early 2016, GSA launched the Acquisition Gateway as a way of helping Federal Government buyers from all agencies act as one acquisition community. By September 2016, the Acquisition Gateway surpassed 10,000 registered users.

In 2019, when more ease-of-use was needed, the GSA released the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation. MAS Contracts through the GSA are long-term governmentwide, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts that provide federal, state, and local government buyers commercial products and services at a fair price. 

Businesses and organizations interested in selling products and services to government agencies through the General Services Administration (GSA) do so using the Multiple Award Schedules Program.

The goal of all the “Making it Easier” consolidations is an attempt to purchase goods that the government uses on a daily basis in the simplest way possible. 

The GSA Today

Today, the GSA operates the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. Everything from horseshoes to hand grenades is bought by the Government and procured by the General Services Administration. These products and services are broken down into 12 categories:

  • Facilities
  • Furniture & Furnishing
  • Human Capital
  • Industrial Products & Services
  • Information Technology
  • Miscellaneous
  • Office Management
  • Professional services
  • Scientific Management & Solution
  • Security & Protection
  • Transportation & Logistics Services
  • Travel

Through the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), the GSA provides contracting opportunities to businesses of all sizes that meet professional standards and deliver high-quality products and services to the United States Government. 

If you have any questions or want to learn more about getting on the GSA/MAS Schedule, visit our website today. GSE has decades of experience in expanding small businesses through Federal spending.