Contract Guard Oversight at Federal Facilities Gets Failing Grade

Sherry Harowitz

Investigators were able to pass through monitored security checkpoints and enter level IV federal facilities, such as congressional office buildings, without being stopped by guards, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Federal Protective Service's guard force oversight.

An earlier report examined physical security; this one focuses on the guard program, which is the largest item in the FPS budget, says the GAO.

FPS oversees security at 9,000 federal facilities. It has 13,000 contract guards deployed at 2,360 of those buildings.

In addition to reviewing files and observing FPS guard inspections, the GAO conducted covert tests at 10 level IV federal facilities, which the report says are not identified for security reasons. (A level IV facilities has over 450 employees, high volume public traffic, and houses high-risk law enforcement and intelligent agencies.)

The GAO found FPS was not adequately ensuring that guards had appropriate training to operate x-ray machines and magnetometers nor was it ensuring that guards had proper certifications for firearms, among other issues.

♦ Photo of Cannon House Office Building by cliff1066/Flickr






























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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