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Statement for the Record of Federal Protective Service Director Leonard E. Patterson, National Protection and Programs Directorate, before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, "Securing Federal Facilities: Challenges of the Federal Protective Service and the Need for Reform"

Release Date: 
July 13, 2011

Cannon House Office Building

Thank you Chairman Lungren, Ranking Member Clarke, and the distinguished members of the Subcommittee. My name is Eric Patterson, and I am the Director of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) within the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

I am honored to appear before you today to discuss the actions that FPS has undertaken to secure thousands of federal facilities across our country and protect millions of federal workers, contractors, and visitors who pass through FPS security portals on a daily basis to conduct business in these facilities.

FPS Background

This year, FPS is celebrating its 40th year of service to the nation under its current name. Although our service functions and law enforcement authorities can be traced much further back in time, FPS has been part of the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and most recently, NPPD.

FPS is responsible for the safety of more than a million people who pass through our security portals each day. More than 700,000 dangerous objects and contraband, including weapons, are confiscated each year at FPS screening posts. Our FPS officers complete hundreds of building security assessments, cover more than 1,000 demonstrations and disturbances, and make more than 1,600 arrests annually.

FPS's security mission extends to the approximately 150 congressional offices housed in federal facilities located across the country. FPS is responsible for risk assessment and mitigation, physical security, and federal law enforcement for more than 9,000 GSA-owned and leased federal government facilities in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. In addition, we provide law enforcement and security services to numerous non-GSA federal properties throughout the country.

FPS coordinates incident responses through four MegaCenters. Each MegaCenter monitors multiple types of alarm systems, closed circuit television, and wireless dispatch communications within federal facilities throughout the nation. These centers – located in Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Maryland – are equipped with state-of-the-art communication systems and are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

FPS is divided into 11 regions nationwide and employs more than 900 Federal Law Enforcement Officers supervising approximately 14,000 contract Protective Security Officers (PSOs). FPS includes contract management, budget, and other administrative staff billets, providing law enforcement and security mission support.

FPS currently employs a variety of measures to train PSOs in order to ensure our officers on the frontlines have the tools they need to do their jobs. For example, in November 2010, FPS updated the orientation training provided by FPS to all newly hired PSOs. This training incorporates locality-specific information, scenario-based activities, and general procedures. During this training, FPS stresses the importance of obtaining building specific information in order to appropriately respond to occupant emergencies (for example, active shooter, Code Adam, Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place).

Priorities

I have set priorities for our Service that are challenging but realistic. I continue to closely monitor performance and hold service providers accountable to ensure that they are performing in full compliance with the requirements and standards set forth in our contracts. Additionally, I work closely with our customer agencies, their leaders, and the committees responsible for the safety at the local, metropolitan, state, and national levels.

The transfer of FPS from ICE to NPPD, which was included in the FY 2010 DHS Appropriations Act, is close to completion. Transitioning FPS to NPPD unified the security of the government facilities sector into a single component, enabling DHS to provide a comprehensive infrastructure security program under the guidance provided by the Interagency Security Committee (ISC), as well as other oversight and regulatory bodies.

FPS has received several Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports in the recent years with an upcoming report expected to be released later this month. Addressing GAO recommendations is a top priority that we monitor closely. I am happy to make our experts available to you and your staff to provide additional briefings as requested.

Countermeasures

In addition to its daily law-enforcement, investigative, and protection duties, FPS continues to measure the effectiveness of its countermeasures and related efforts. Through Operation Shield, we conduct unannounced inspections to evaluate the effectiveness of contract PSOs in detecting the presence of unauthorized persons or potentially disruptive or dangerous activities in or around federal facilities. Operation Shield also serves as a visible, proactive, and random deterrent to disrupt the planning of terrorist activities. Working in conjunction with state, local, and federal law enforcement organizations, FPS has expanded Operation Shield to include exercises that blanket a federal facility with a significantly increased law enforcement presence. We have also increased testing of FPS response to suspicious packages and launched the Department's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign at more than 9,000 federal facilities. Since deploying this program in December 2010, our MegaCenters have received and coordinated responses to more than 2,400 suspicious activity reports related to the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign.

Finally, immediately following the incident in FPS Region 5 at the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building in Detroit, Michigan, FPS dispatched a mobile training team to the Detroit area to provide eight hours of weapons-detection training, including x-ray and magnetometer training, to all of the 85 PSO and supervisory PSO employees working at the McNamara Federal Building. Subsequent to the refresher training in Detroit, FPS headquarters conducted an audit of all Region 5 PSO training records maintained in vendors' files to assess compliance with the terms of the contract. This team discovered deficiencies in training and certifications records, which are now being addressed. Additionally, FPS took action against the contract company as a result of this incident, including a contract deduction.

Risk Assessment Management Program

The development of the Risk Assessment Management Program (RAMP), which was designed to provide FPS personnel with a centralized source of information for Federal facilities they protect, has been under way for nearly four years. Yet, after careful consideration and review, FPS has determined that RAMP development – as it was being pursued – was not cost-effective and has not fulfilled its original goals. However FPS has a continuing need for elements of RAMP and its basic functionality.

FPS has carefully assessed alternative programs to RAMP, including the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's recommended Integrated Rapid Visual Screen solution and Bridge and Tunnel Risk Assessment Program and the Infrastructure Survey Tool (IST), which is used by NPPD's Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP). A version of IST was selected as the interim RAMP solution, while FPS completes the development, testing, training, and implementation of RAMP 2nd Generation, also based on IST. The interim solution will enable FPS to continue processing credible Facility Security Assessments, which are a cornerstone of the protective services provided to the federal community and FPS's other efforts, such as patrol and response, tenant awareness training, and countermeasure testing.

There are many advantages to using the IST, as the next generation of RAMP is developed and implemented. The IST can be used as a security assessment tool when conducting market research of new facility leasing options with GSA as well as special security assessments, such as temporary leased facilities for FEMA disaster response operations. IST will enable field-based inspectors to complete and file their assigned assessments electronically as well as provide supervisors the ability to approve or comment on the assessments electronically. The IST approach will also allow FPS to leverage the development done to date on RAMP and ultimately gain efficiencies by improving RAMP capability based on the NPPD/IP gateway.

The development of RAMP 2nd Generation will address specific recommendations the GAO has provided to FPS. For example, RAMP 2nd Generation will ultimately improve the PSO certification validation process. Effective July 1, 2011, FPS requires security vendors to send PSO certification data directly to their respective contracting officer in their regions for review and validation. FPS regions are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date data for their region and submitting it to FPS headquarters on a monthly basis. With RAMP 2nd Generation, FPS headquarters will be able to analyze this data monthly and provide metrics to track trends and deficiencies as well as address and correct identified issues.

In addition, FPS is revising the post inspection process to focus on contractor performance more closely. This new PSO inspection process will concentrate on assessing the PSOs' knowledge of the post orders, emergency preparedness, and response measures specific to the facility they protect (e.g., Active Shooter, Code Adam, Occupant Emergency Plans, Shelter-in-Place, response to suspicious packages and bomb threats, and so forth). Additionally, FPS administers an Agency Technical Representative program, which serves as a force multiplier allowing tenant agencies to assist FPS in providing important oversight of the PSO Program. With RAMP 2nd Generation, FPS will analyze the data collected from PSO inspections and use results to identify opportunities for remedial improvements in PSO training, procedures, post order revisions, and updates.

FPS is also taking advantage of its transition to NPPD by leveraging mission-enhancing synergies; the plan to have the Critical Infrastructure Protection program engineering team conduct the work to re-engineer RAMP demonstrates FPS's intention to capitalize on these synergies at every opportunity. The partnership between FPS and IP has the potential for significant cost and time savings, as well, because RAMP re-engineering efforts will leverage the existing risk assessment tools already developed and deployed for IP.

Additionally, the data collected via the interim IST will ultimately be available in the shared risk assessment database. NPPD plans for the completed facility assessments to become a part of the national critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) database, allowing NPPD the capability to view and share all CIKR assessments.

NPPD leadership joins me in my commitment to actively address the challenges posed in the process of developing RAMP and remain engaged as solutions to these challenges are successfully implemented.

Conclusion

FPS remains committed to its mission to prevent, deter, mitigate, and defeat terrorist and criminal acts against anyone working in, visiting, or passing through the federal facilities we protect. I commend the thousands of FPS employees who ensure the safety and security of our clients and customers every day throughout the country.

Chairman Lungren, Ranking Member Clarke, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss FPS with you today, and I am pleased to answer any questions you might have.

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