Guarding America: Security Guards and U.S. Critical Infrastructure Protection [November 12, 2004]   [open pdf - 283KB]

"The Bush Administration's 2003 'National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets' indicates that security guards are 'an important source of protection for critical facilities.' In 2003, approximately one million security guards (including airport screeners) were employed in the United States. Of these guards, analysis indicates that up to 5% protected what have been defined as 'critical' infrastructure and assets. The effectiveness of critical infrastructure guards in countering a terrorist attack depends on the number of guards on duty, their qualifications, pay and training. Security guard employment may have increased in certain critical infrastructure sectors since September 11, 2001, although overall employment of U.S. security guards has declined in the last five years. Contract guard salaries averaged $19,400 per year in 2003, less than half of the average salary for police and well below the average U.S. salary for all occupations. There are no U.S. federal requirements for training of critical infrastructure guards other than airport screeners and nuclear guards. Twenty-two states do require basic training for licensed security guards, but few specifically require counter-terrorism training. State regulations regarding criminal background checks for security guards vary. Sixteen states have no background check regulations."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32670
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