Fedweek

The IG’s office at the GSA has again raised concerns about security in the 8,600 federal buildings owned or leased by that agency, saying it has “repeatedly pointed out that GSA’s security clearance process for contractors needs improvement.”

“Unauthorized access to federal facilities increases the risk of a security event such as an active shooter, terrorist attack, theft of government property, or exposure of sensitive information,” a report said.

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Prior reports have found “significant deficiencies” in GSA’s process for personal identity verification cards to contractors and for ensuring the completion of contractor employee background investigations. They also have recommended ensuring that all contractor employees accessing the facilities have the proper security clearances and that background check information be shared with contract and project management staff, it said.

Although GSA management has taken some actions in response, the IG said GSA still has not done all that is necessary to prevent contractor employees from working on construction projects in federal buildings or from gaining access to sensitive government information, systems and facilities without appropriate security clearances.

Also, while the GSA has put more emphasis on assessing the security of facilities, GSA did not have such reports for most of the facilities in a recent sample and further needs to “ensure staff understand their responsibilities regarding the use of the reports and the implementation of countermeasures.”

The IG made its comments in a report on management challenges facing GSA that also touched on issues involving procurement, management of real property, cybersecurity and turnover as increasing percentages of agency employees reach retirement eligibility.