Greater Coordination on Building Security Sought

Although the Federal Protective Service is no longer one of its subagencies, the GSA still has responsibilities for the physical security of federal buildings under its control and needs to be better informed about weaknesses that the FPS detects, an IG report has said.

The report points out a continuing issue of coordination arising from the creation of DHS in 2003 out of some two dozen prior independent agencies and components of agencies including the GSA.

The FPS is responsible for identifying and analyzing security risks at GSA-owned and leased buildings. Its “facility security assessment” reports can include for example recommendations for the installation of closed circuit video and intrusion detection systems, physical barriers, additional lighting around perimeters, installation of card readers, upgraded metal detectors and more.

While the GSA’s role is now primarily limited to that of a landlord, it still has “protection responsibilities include installing building-related fixtures such as fencing, lighting, vehicular barriers, guard booths, blast resistant windows and door locks,” the report said. However, it said that of 45 buildings sampled, the GSA property managers had the latest FPS security assessments for only 11.

The auditors said that since their work, the GSA and FPS have clarified their responsibilities with regard to reviewing and carrying out recommendations. However, it said that GSA “still must take additional steps to monitor and track the receipt of the reports and ensure that GSA staff receive training on their responsibilities.”