Technology enables USDA office closures

The Agriculture Department credits technology for allowing it to close 259 offices to save costs.

As reported in Federal Daily, the department announced the closures on Jan. 9, saying that many of the targeted facilities are unstaffed or have only one or two people working at them, or are close to other USDA facilities. The agency estimated $150 million a year in cost savings once the closures are complete.

Communications technologies and technology-enabled service improvements are part of the reason the agency can do without the offices, officials said.

Other recommendations from the closure plan, called the Blueprint for Stronger Service, are:

  • Consolidate more than 700 cell phone plans into about 10;
  • Standardize civil rights training and purchases of cyber security products;
  • Ensure more efficient and effective service to employees by moving toward more centralized civil rights, human resource, procurement, and property management functions.

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