How Safe are our Federal Properties and Employees?

On May 21st, the Government Accountability Office (GAFPS VanO) released the testimony of Mark Goldstein, Director of Physical Infrastructure Team, which informed on the work of the Federal Protective Service (FPS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Goldstein’s remarks constitute one of four testimonies heard at the May 21, 2014 hearing entitled “Examining the Federal Protective Service: Are Federal Facilities Secure?” held before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.

This testimony alleges that the FPS is so inept that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer use its own agency for protective services. The FPS’ mission is “to render federal properties safe and secure for federal employees, officials and visitors in a professional and cost effective manner by deploying a highly trained and multi-disciplined police force. […] The FPS has also established a physical security program to provide protection to federal facilities. From the installation of alarm systems, x-rays, magnetometers and entry control systems, to monitoring those systems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing uniformed police response and investigative follow-up, FPS is organized to protect and serve.” However, Goldstein argues that this has not been the case.

Rather, it has become apparent that some security guards hired to protect federal buildings and employees cannot operate screening devices such as X-ray machines, are not certified to handle firearms and are untrained in dealing with an active shooter situation. This indicates that the security of federal properties and employees is at serious risk.

The GAO report concludes that “FPS has limited knowledge of the risks facing about 9,600 federal facilities around the country.” To read the full report as well as the recommendations provided by the GAO, click here.  


Article formerly posted at