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GAO: FPS Lagging Behind In Progress of Securing Gov Facilities

Press Conference

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced the release of two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports he requested on the Federal Protective Service (FPS).

The first report, entitled "Federal Real Property Security: Interagency Security Committee Should Implement a Lessons-Learned Process" (GAO-12-901), found that the Interagency Security Committee (ISC), which sets the standards for protecting all federal property (350,000 assets in total), does not have a robust lessons learned approach to its infrastructure protection as GAO recommends. This is partly due to the ISC deriving its authority from an executive order and does not have the authority to mandate government agencies share information.

The second report, entitled "Critical Infrastructure: DHS Needs to Refocus Its Efforts to Lead the Government Facilities Sector" (GAO-12-852) found that the Department of Homeland Security is falling behind in its management and reorganization of FPS. For example, FPS has not implemented a risk management approach to protecting government facilities. It has, again, not gathered enough information on the facilities to properly manage risk and has not conducted the proper risk assessments. Also, GAO found that once again, FPS has not built the proper partnerships with its federal, state, local, and private partners and does not take advantage of organizational partnerships currently in place. GAO found that many of these problems stem from FPS' lack of a dedicated funding source.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement with the report:

"These reports show that ISC and FPS are lagging behind in their mission to effectively secure and protect government facilities. Despite reorganization and aggressive oversight it is clear that many challenges remain. Numerous recent reports show systemic problems -- poor communication with its federal, state, local, private partners; a lack of up to date facility information; a lack of a dedicated funding source and uncertain legal authority -- needlessly hamper our ability to ensure the safety and security of Federal facilities. I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that the people who work in and visit Federal facilities are safe, sound, and protected from known threats."

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