The January 6 riot at the Capitol Building “has again renewed the federal government’s interest in building security activities,” according to a new report for Congress, which says that federal agencies “still have issues with assessing and monitoring” threats.
“The security of federal government buildings and facilities affects not only the daily operations of the federal government but also the health, well-being, and safety of federal employees and the public . . . Federal facilities, employees, and the visiting public face a variety of threats, including assault, illegal weapon and explosive possession, robbery, riots, civil disturbances, homicide, and arson,” says a Congressional Research Service Report.
However, it says that the riot and other incidents such as shootings at federal buildings in recent years “indicate that issues remain” 25 years after the government launched a series of security initiatives in the wake of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
Those efforts have included establishing security standards and improving information sharing through channels such as the Interagency Security Committee, created after that bombing.
One issue, it says, is that “the approach to federal building and facility security is decentralized and numerous federal entities are involved” across more than 100,000 buildings and other facilities. “Approximately 30 federal law enforcement agencies provide security for 45% of federal facilities and their occupants. The remaining 55% of federal facilities are owned and occupied by military, intelligence, and national security entities with their own facility security force such as the Pentagon’s uniformed police,” it said.
“Security of federal facilities is as diverse as the number of law enforcement agencies securing them due a facility’s security level rating, location, and known threats. One law enforcement agency may secure individual facilities under their purview differently based on specific security needs and threats,” it said.
While the CRS does not make policy recommendations, the report said that Congress “may wish to address how federal law enforcement agencies coordinate their response to attacks at and on federal facilities.”