DHS Announces New Enhancements To Protect Federal Facilities
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced two enhancements to federal facility security -- initiatives that further strengthen the Department’s ability to protect thousands of government buildings across the United States one week prior to the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
The DHS-led Interagency Security Committee (ISC) released new standards establishing baseline physical security measures for all federal buildings and facilities -- bolstering protection against terrorist attacks and other threats based on ongoing risk assessments.
“Protecting our federal facilities against evolving threats requires setting and implementing robust, risk-based security standards,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These standards leverage over a decade of collaboration and research by experts across the federal government to establish adaptable security measures that will better secure our federal infrastructure.”
ISC was created on Oct. 19, 1995 -- six months after the Oklahoma City bombing -- to enhance the quality and effectiveness of efforts to secure and protect the more than 300,000 civilian federal facilities across the United States. The committee, led by the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection, includes high-level security representation from 45 federal agencies.
The standards announced today include the Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities, which establishes comprehensive standards to address site, structural, interior and system security, as well as security operations and administration; and the Design-Basis Threat Report, designed to inform these customizable standards with current threat-based intelligence.
The Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities also provides for the customization of security measures to address unique risks at every U.S. building and facility occupied by federal employees for non-military activities -- ensuring the flexibility necessary to adapt to the circumstances surrounding individual facilities.
The Design-Basis Threat Report complements the Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities by utilizing timely and reliable intelligence information, Intelligence Community reports and assessments, and current crime statistics to help calculate estimated risks to federal facilities and appropriate levels of protection.
The new standards will undergo a 24-month validation period of field testing and implementation by the federal security community. The ISC will publish final editions of the standards following this period.
The Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities supersedes physical security standards in the ISC Security Standards for Leased Space, ISC Design Criteria for New Federal Office Buildings and Major Modernization Projects, and the 1995 DOJ Report.
In addition, DHS’ Federal Protective Service (FPS) today announced the next deployment phase for the new Risk Assessment and Management Program (RAMP) -- a computer-based tool that enhances access for FPS Inspectors to information about security threats and risks associated with more than 9,000 facilities owned and leased by the General Services Administration (GSA).
“Our Inspectors and Protective Security Officers provide law enforcement and security services to more than one million tenants and daily visitors to GSA-owned and leased federal facilities throughout the United States,” said FPS Director Gary W. Schenkel. “RAMP makes our work processes more efficient by reducing the time FPS Inspectors spend on repetitive, manual tasks and allowing them to focus on threat awareness and customer service.”
RAMP is a secure and comprehensive computer-based tool developed by FPS to improve and standardize collection and management of information at every step of the federal facility security planning and oversight process. The system allows FPS Inspectors to access, review, revise and upload facility information using ruggedized mobile computers on a single platform and produce complete reports at any time and location.
A critical component of RAMP’s development was a series of town hall meetings between the FPS workforce and leadership, which provided a forum for FPS personnel and stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of the program in the field, provide recommendations to improve RAMP, and lay the groundwork for additional enhancements to future iterations of the program.
To date, 750 rugged mobile computers have been issued for field operations; more than 56,000 documents, images and other files related to federal facility protection have been entered into RAMP; and more than 1,000 inspections have been conducted using the system.