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February 20, 2013

Federal Agencies Need More Robust Facility Security Policy

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he requested on the security of federal facilities. The report, entitled "Facility Security: Greater Outreach by DHS on Standards and Management Practices Could Benefit Federal Agencies" (GAO-13-222), is an analysis of security policy at federal agencies for facilities which are not protected by the Federal Protective Service (FPS).

GAO found that federal agencies primarily used institutional knowledge and experience to craft security programs. Agencies also used standards from the Department of Homeland Security's Interagency Security Committee (ISC), an office which recommends security guidance and standards for a variety of facilities. However, agencies use the ISC as a secondary resource and only 11 of the 32 agencies surveyed use the ISC's standards for all aspects of their security policy. While GAO found that agencies develop proper oversight and performance measures, they trail behind in allocating resources properly and assessing risk. GAO recommends that the ISC would be an ideal forum to improve government-wide risk assessment.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement with the report: "This report shows that some federal agencies have a decentralized approach to securing their facilities across the country. Agencies that fail to follow ISC standards may be placing their facilities and occupants at risk. I urge DHS to better assert and expand its role as the provider of standardized security practices for federal agencies so these agencies can, in turn, manage resources and risk properly."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978