Skip to main content

Obama Orders federal agencies to cut back on mobile devices, vehicles, and printing

Image used with permission by copyright holder

President Obama has signed an Executive Order to cut how much government agencies spend on technology devices, printing, swag, and vehicles by 20 percent. This new Order builds on the “Campaign to Cut Waste” that the President stated back in June. According to a White House press release, this campaign has already saved about $3.5 billion in real estate costs and $5 billion on “no bid contract” spending. Obama’s goals for technology saving are quite ambitious as well. Federal agencies will have 45 days to come up with a plan that will reduce their costs by 20 percent by 2013. 

Here are some of the ways Obama’s staff are suggesting agencies cut costs:

  • Lower spending on travel and conferences: By utilizing teleconferencing, webinars, and other forms of communication (we suggest Google Hangouts), the IRS will cut its travel budget by 27 percent in 2012. Other agencies will have to make similar cuts. 
  • Get rid of duplicate and unnecessary cell phones, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs: Apparently, many agencies purchase devices but then never use them. The Order forces agencies to limit the number of devices employees have to only those they absolutely need. The Department of Commerce is cutting 2,648 wireless lines, for example.
  • Stop printing so much: The plan is to put more information online and not print things that are available online unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, the Department of the Treasury expects to save $500 million over five years and 12 million pounds of paper by increasing paperless transactions. 
  • Use less vehicles: Agencies need to improve the efficiency of the Federal vehicle fleet. The Department of Commerce plans to cut the number of vehicles and drivers it has to save as much as $100,000 per year. For reference, the Federal Government spends $9 million each year on transportation around Washington DC alone. 
  • Cut the swag: Agencies need to stop ordering so many promotional items like mugs, pens, and non-work related gadgets that have their logo on it. The Department of the Treasury has taken a lead in this, issuing a directive to avoid purchasing any frivolous or unnecessary items. It’s sad that this has to be a directive.

This is a good first step in reducing the inefficiencies that have built up in the U.S. Gov’t, but it definitely won’t be enough in the long term. Hopefully, further steps will be taken to cut back on spending and reorganize the bureaucratic nightmare that is our federal government.

(Image via Chicago Sun-Times)

Jeffrey Van Camp
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
Another excellent laptop challenges the MacBook Pro and falls short
The keyboard and trackpad of the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro 16 remains undefeated as the best 16-inch laptop you can buy. From the incredible battery life to the impressive performance, the M3 Max MacBook Pro has become an unstoppable force.

Still, plenty of competitors have come along to potentially challenge it, and when I came across the updated HP Spectre x360 16, I wondered if it might make a worthy rival. As impressive as it is, though, it still doesn't have what it takes to dethrone the MacBook Pro.
Specs and configurations

Read more
How to install Windows on a Chromebook
The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook rear view showing lid and logo.

The Google Chromebook is an excellent alternative to traditional PC setups, but some users may miss the look and feel of a Windows machine. If you’re the proud owner of a Chromebook, and yearn for the Microsoft OS experience, you’re in luck. Using a few simple tools, a couple of installs, and some patience, it’s actually not too difficult to get Windows 11 or 10 onto a Chromebook.

Read more
How to build a PC from scratch: A beginner’s guide for building your own desktop computer
Installing RAM in a desktop PC.

Building a PC from scratch might seem like a daunting task. From motherboards and CPUs to GPUs and cooling systems, there are a lot of moving pieces to consider. But despite all these fancy components, building a desktop computer is surprisingly simple. In fact, if you know how to handle a screwdriver and aren't afraid of connecting a few cables, it's possible for beginners to build a PC that's powerful enough to handle even the most demanding games and software.

Read more