Adam’s Summer with the Coast Guard

Discussing unit requirements with Lieutenant Commanders in Arlington, VA
Photo Credit: Adam Rubin

For the summer I interned for the US Coast Guard in their Portfolio Management Branch. My projects largely resulted from President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security directives to reduce the footprint of the government. The directives were put in place for two reasons:

1)The costs for the Coast Guard’s leased portfolio have ballooned over the past few years beyond a sustainable level and

2)It is the believed that if the federal government vacates leased spaces it can open up new facilities for private sector use to spur more economic activity.

The internship was a great experience into how military/federal planning works in the United States. On a daily basis I worked with my boss, senior planners, and space planners with regards to the projects at hand. Most days consisted of meetings with my coworkers about the projects in addition to teleconferences with individual Coast Guard units.

In addition to the day to day work schedule, I was also sent on a business trip for 7 days to Washington D.C. and Norfolk for my main summer project. The project consisted of a Coast Guard relocation project to move 300 Coast Guard personnel and redesign Coast Guard spaces as part of a larger effort to save $31 million in leases costs (to be implemented in 2013). I was involved in all aspects of the relocation, from drafting/assessing alternatives, creating memos presented to Headquarters, and developing cost estimates for the chosen course of action. The business trip I was sent on consisted of numerous meetings with individual Coast Guard unit Captains as well as several Lieutenants and Captains within the Coast Guard’s Headquarters.

In addition to my main project there were several smaller projects I worked on for the Coast Guard. While I was involved in numerous projects, the three main additional projects consisted of a post occupancy evaluation for a newly redesigned Coast Guard facility, drawing and compiling demolition and furniture plans for a new project in Oakland, and writing reports about eliminating several Coast Guard facilities in order to reduce costs.

Overall I had a great summer internship with the Coast Guard. It was a unique experience within the planning sector and not only provided an excellent test of personal skills but also established new interests within the real estate side of planning. Plans are being made between my boss and I to continue working with the Coast Guard during the upcoming school year in addition to after school.

– Adam Rubin, 2nd Year MPL, Concentration: Design and Preservation of the Built Environment

Discussing unit requirements with unit Captain in Washington D.C.
Photo Credit: Adam Rubin

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3 responses to “Adam’s Summer with the Coast Guard

  1. Are you going to take more real estate development courses this year to continue the interest that your internship sparked? Let us know if you recommend any!

  2. Hey Adam, maybe this warrants a longer discussion- but could you expand on the point that vacating leased space will spur economic activity? Is this because of the construction of new facilites?

    • Hey Sarah,

      Thanks for the question! You’re on the right track for what I think are one of layers that vacating leased space can spur economic activity. Before I go forward I’m including the link for the memorandum Obama issued on June 10th, 2010 regarding this issue:

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-disposing-unneeded-federal-real-estate

      The main benefit in reducing the leased space is the huge economic savings the federal government will have by being more efficient and using newer technologies to get work done. Obama is aiming to save $3 billion by 2012. Keep in mind this is also coinciding with Obama’s initiative to reduce DoD bases for almost $10 billion in savings by 2012 as well. All of that money can be used by the federal government for other initiatives (which one could argue can be used in an economic stimulus plan or some other form to spur economic activity).

      The other potential benefit is creating a more competitive market for businesses to begin leasing spaces. The federal government is the largest property owner in the United States. One could argue by simple economics that such a large increase in the supply so quickly will incentivize property owners to give more favorable rates to the private sector to fill up those spaces, freeing up money that would normally be spent on operational costs for economic activity.

      The last benefit (which is the one you mentioned) is the economic benefit the private sector will get from this initiative. Someone is going to have to build the new facilities, upgrade existing ones, provide the products the federal government wants. The federal government does not have these available and will have to go through the private sector to do so.

      I’m sure there are other potential benefits but those are the ones I can think of right now. Let me know what you think about the memorandum.

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