(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E147-E148]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                        HON. BENNIE G. THOMPSON

                             of mississippi

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing 
legislation to improve the level of security provided by the Federal 
Protective Service, FPS.
  Formed in 1971 as the uniformed protection service for the General 
Service Administration, GSA, the Federal Protective Service's mission 
is to safeguard the Federal buildings that Americans access every day 
across the country. FPS is charged with protecting over 9,000 Federal 
facilities, including many of our own Congressional district offices.
  Since FPS was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in 
2003, a series of government audits have uncovered major breaches in 
the security services FPS provides and attributed these lapses, in 
large part, to slipshod oversight by the agency of its contractor 
  One glaring example of FPS's lapses in providing security occurred in 
February 2011 when contract guards failed to detect explosive material 
that was left undetected inside the Patrick V. McNamara Federal 
building in Detroit for 21 days.
  Testifying on July 13, 2011 about this incident before the Committee 
on Homeland Security, the Government Accountability Office, GAO, stated 
that FPS needs to undertake a stronger role in overseeing contractor 
performance, to reevaluate its hiring and training practices for 
contract guards, and to implement a comprehensive risk assessment 
  On July 24, 2012, at a subsequent Committee on Homeland Security 
hearing, FPS's lack of a comprehensive risk management strategy was 
identified as a major obstacle to FPS' ability to safeguard Federal 
facilities and effectively serve as the lead agency charged with 
coordinating infrastructure protection government-wide.
  Both hearings addressed the Federal Protective Service's pressing 
need to replace the failed Risk Assessment and Management Program, 
RAMP, to monitor the hours and duties performed by contract guards--
which has cost of over $41 million--with an effective tool to implement 
risk assessment. As an interim step, FPS has since developed the 
Modified Infrastructure Survey Too, MIST.
  Since May 2007, the Committee on Homeland Security has held five 
oversight hearings of FPS. Additionally, since 2008, GAO has issued 
seven oversight reports, at my request, on the agency that identified a 
wide range of challenges FPS faces in protecting Federal facilities. 
Among the areas for reform identified in these reports are the need for 
increased oversight of the contract guard program; the need for FPS to 
implement a risk management strategy to improve facility security; 
enhanced schedule and cost estimating practices to facilitate the 
transition of management functions; and a comprehensive approach to 
human capital management.
  The legislation I am reintroducing today: (1) seeks to increase 
security at Federal facilities by adding 500 more Federal Law 
Enforcement Officers; (2) directs FPS to intensify its monitoring of 
contract guards; (3) requires national minimum standards for the 
training and certification of contract guard staff; (4) requires that 
security standards for Federal facilities established by the 
Interagency Security Committee be implemented; (5) directs FPS to 
conduct a 1-year pilot program to assess whether a Federal Security 
Guard that is a Federal employee would do a better job protecting the 
highest risk Federal facilities than a contract guard; (6) requires a 
law enforcement presence at the highest risk Federal facilities; and 
(7) directs the Government Accountability Office to investigate the 
adequacy of the fee-based funding system utilized by FPS and determine 
whether it prevents the agency from fully executing its security 
  Under my legislation, the FPS' inspector corps would be increased to 
1,350, thereby elevating the Federal law enforcement presence inside 
Federal buildings by offering ``boots on the ground'' security 
  I strongly believe that a more robust inspector workforce would, for 
the first time, provide FPS with a core of specialized security 
personnel with the training and authority required to create long-
overdue change within the entire organization.
  My legislation also calls for dedicated contract oversight staff to 
oversee the performance of contract guards; this would allow FPS 
inspectors focus on their security and law enforcement duties and not 
be bogged down in contract-management concerns.
  Similarly, my legislation would require a law enforcement presence at 
the highest risk Federal facilities, which directly addresses a gap in 
the current system, where contract guards, who lack arrest authority 
are charged with protecting high-profile Federal facilities.
  I introduced similar legislation in the 111th and 112th Congresses to 
ensure that the Federal Protective Service fulfills its responsibility 
to coordinate infrastructure protection across the Federal government, 
and to make certain that effective management procedures are 
implemented to hold contractors accountable for the hiring, training 
and certification of security guards who are charged with protecting 
Federal facilities.
  It has been 18 years since the Alfred P. Murrah building was attacked 
in Oklahoma City. We have been fortunate that an attack of this 
magnitude has not occurred against a

[[Page E148]]

Federal building in the intervening years. That said, we must do more 
to ensure that Federal buildings are secure and that the Federal 
Protective Service can effectively fulfill its mission.
  Enactment of my legislation will bring about long-overdue and 
necessary reforms and help FPS become the agency that Congress 
envisioned and the American people deserve.