This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-10-341 
entitled 'Homeland Security: Federal Protective Service's Contract 
Guard Program Requires More Oversight and Reassessment of Use of 
Contract Guards' which was released on April 14, 2010. 

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as 
part of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. 
Every attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data 
integrity of the original printed product. Accessibility features, 
such as text descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes 
placed at the end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, 
are provided but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format 
of the printed version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an 
exact electronic replica of the printed version. We welcome your 
feedback. Please E-mail your comments regarding the contents or 
accessibility features of this document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

Report to Congressional Requesters: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

April 2010: 

Homeland Security: 

Federal Protective Service's Contract Guard Program Requires More 
Oversight and Reassessment of Use of Contract Guards: 

GAO-10-341: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-341, a report to congressional requesters. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

To accomplish its mission of protecting about 9,000 federal 
facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) currently has a 
budget of about $1 billion, about 1,225 full-time employees, and about 
15,000 contract security guards. FPS obligated $659 million for guard 
services in fiscal year 2009. 

This report assesses the challenges FPS faces in managing its guard 
contractors, overseeing guards deployed at federal facilities, and the 
actions, if any, FPS has taken to address these challenges. To address 
these objectives, GAO conducted site visits at 6 of FPSs 11 regions; 
interviewed FPS officials, guards, and contractors; and analyzed FPSs 
contract files. GAO also conducted covert testing at 10 judgmentally 
selected level IV facilities in four cities. A level IV facility has 
over 450 employees and a high volume of public contact. 

What GAO Found: 

FPS faces a number of challenges in managing its guard contractors 
that hamper its ability to protect federal facilities. FPS requires 
contractors to provide guards who have met training and certification 
requirements, but 7 of 7 guard contractors we reviewed were not in 
compliance with this requirement. Specifically, we reported in July 
2009 that 62 percent, or 411, of the 663 guards employed by 7 of FPSs 
38 contractors and deployed to federal facilities had at least one 
expired certification, including those showing that the guard has not 
committed domestic violence, which make the guards ineligible to carry 
firearms. As of February 2010, according to FPS data, 435 of the 663 
guards are now fully certified, 167 are not fully certified, and 61 
guards are no longer working on the contract. FPSs guard contract 
also states that a contractor who does not comply with the contract is 
subject to enforcement action. FPS did not take any enforcement 
actions against these 7 contractors for noncompliance. In fact, FPS 
exercised the option to extend their contracts. FPS also did not 
comply with its requirement that a performance evaluation of each 
contractor be completed annually and that these evaluations and other 
performance-related data be included in the contract file. 

FPS also faces challenges in ensuring that many of the 15,000 guards 
have the required training and certification to be deployed at a 
federal facility. In July 2009, we reported that since 2004, FPS had 
not provided X-ray and magnetometer training to about 1,500 guards in 
one region. As of January 2010, these guards had not received this 
training and continued to work at federal facilities in this region. X-
ray and magnetometer training is important because guards control 
access points at federal facilities. In addition, once guards are 
deployed to a federal facility, they are not always complying with 
assigned responsibilities (post orders). For example, we identified 
security vulnerabilities when GAO investigators successfully passed 
undetected through security checkpoints monitored by FPS guards with 
components for an improvised explosive device concealed on their 
persons at 10 level IV facilities in four cities in major metropolitan 
areas. Since July 2009, FPS has conducted 53 similar tests, and in 
over half of these tests some guards did not identify prohibited 
items, such as guns and knives. 

In response to GAOs July 2009 testimony, FPS has taken a number of 
actions that once fully implemented could help address challenges it 
faces in managing its contract guard program. For example, FPS has 
increased the number of guard inspections at federal facilities in 
some metropolitan areas. FPS also revised its X-ray and magnetometer 
training; however, guards will not all be fully trained until the end 
of 2010, although they are deployed at federal facilities. FPS 
recognized that its guard program has long-standing challenges and in 
2009 contemplated a number of changes to the program, including 
assuming responsibility for all guard training and/or federalizing 
some guard positions at some federal facilities. However, FPS has not 
taken any actions in pursuing these ideas. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends, among other things, that the Secretary of the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) direct the Director of FPS to 
(1) identify other approaches that would be cost-beneficial for 
protecting federal buildings, and (2) increase contract guard program 
oversight and step up enforcement when noncompliance occurs. DHS 
concurred with seven of GAOs eight recommendations. DHS did not fully 
concur with GAOs recommendation to issue a standardized record-
keeping format to ensure that contract files have required 
documentation. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-341] or key 
components. For more information, contact Mark Goldstein at (202) 512-
2834 or goldsteinm@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Scope and Methodology: 

Background: 

FPS Faces Challenges Managing Its Guard Contractors That Hamper Its 
Ability to Protect Federal Facilities: 

FPS Faces Challenges with Overseeing Guards That Raise Concern about 
Protection of Federal Facilities: 

Recent Actions Taken by FPS May Help Improve Oversight of the Contract 
Guard Program: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Table: 

Table 1: Guard Training and Certifications Required by FPS Contracts: 

Figure: 

Figure 1: Number of FPS Guards and Federal Facilities with Guards, by 
Region: 

Abbreviations: 

CCG: Consolidated Contracting Group: 

CERTS: Contract Guard Employment Requirements Tracking System: 

COTR: Contracting Officer Technical Representative: 

CPARS: Contractor Performance Assessment System: 

CPR: cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 

DHS: Department of Homeland Security: 

DVD: digital video disc: 

FAR: Federal Acquisition Regulation: 

FPS: Federal Protective Service: 

GSA: General Services Administration: 

ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement: 

IED: improvised explosive device: 

NPPD: National Protection and Programs Directorate: 

RAMP: Risk Assessment Management Program: 

[End of section] 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

April 13, 2010: 

Congressional Requesters: 

Over 1 million government employees work in federal facilities, and 
members of the public visit such facilities each year. Protecting 
these facilities from a potential terrorist attack or acts of violence 
remains a daunting challenge. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is 
the primary agency with responsibility for providing law enforcement 
and related security services for the nearly 9,000 facilities that are 
under the control and custody of the General Services Administration 
(GSA). To accomplish its mission of protecting federal facilities, FPS 
currently has a budget of about $1 billion,[Footnote 1] about 1,225 
full-time employees, and about 15,000 contract security guards 
(guards) deployed at about 2,360 federal facilities across the 
country.[Footnote 2] In fiscal year 2009, FPS obligated $659 million 
for guard services, which represents the single largest item in its 
budget. 

FPS's contract guard program is the most visible component of its 
operations as well as the first public contact for individuals 
entering a federal facility. FPS relies heavily on its guards and 
considers them to be the agency's "eyes and ears" while performing 
their duties. Guards are primarily responsible for controlling access 
to federal facilities by (1) checking the identification of government 
employees who work there as well as members of the public who visit, 
and (2) operating security equipment, such as X-ray machines and 
magnetometers to screen for prohibited materials, such as firearms, 
knives, explosives, or items intended to be used to fabricate an 
explosive or incendiary device.[Footnote 3] Guards do not have arrest 
authority but can detain individuals who are being disruptive or pose 
a danger to public safety. 

You requested that we evaluate FPS's oversight of its contract guard 
program. We provided you with testimony on our preliminary findings in 
July 2009 in which we specified a number of our concerns with FPS's 
management of its contract guard program.[Footnote 4] This report 
provides additional information and analysis on the challenges FPS 
faces in managing its guard contractors and guards, and it describes 
what actions, if any, FPS has taken to address these challenges. 
During our review, FPS transferred from the Department of Homeland 
Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the 
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) on October 28, 
2009. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To determine the challenges FPS faces in managing its guard 
contractors and guards, we conducted site visits at 6 of FPS's 11 
regions. To select these 6 regions, we considered the number of FPS 
guards, contractors, and federal facilities, and the geographic 
dispersion of the regions across the United States. At each region, we 
observed FPS's guard inspection process and interviewed FPS's regional 
manager, contract guard program managers, inspectors who are 
responsible for conducting guard inspections; guards, and contractors. 
We also interviewed officials at GSA headquarters and regional 
security officials in all 11 FPS regions, to identify any concerns GSA 
has with FPS's contract guard program.[Footnote 5] We also met with 
representatives of the National Association of Security Companies to 
learn about the contract security guard industry. In addition, we 
reviewed and analyzed FPS's contract requirements and training and 
certifications requirements, and reviewed the Security Guard 
Information Manual. We also randomly selected 663 out of approximately 
15,000 guard training records that were maintained in FPS's Contract 
Guard Employment Requirements Tracking System (CERTS) and validated 
them against the contractual requirements that were in effect at the 
time of our review. To assess the reliability of the CERTS data, we 
interviewed agency officials about data quality, reviewed relevant 
documentation, and performed our own electronic testing of the data. 
Because CERTS was not fully reliable for our purpose of determining 
the extent to which there were guards with expired certifications or 
training records, we corroborated our findings using FPS regional 
spreadsheets and information provided by the contractors, or the 
actual guard files. 

To determine what actions, if any, FPS has taken against contractors 
for not complying with the terms of the contract, we reviewed the 
contract files for 7 of FPS's 38 guard contractors. We selected these 
7 contractors because our previous work showed that they had contract 
compliance issues. In addition to reviewing FPS's contract files, we 
interviewed contracting officials in these locations to learn about 
what information should be included in the contract files. We also 
requested all contract evaluations for January 2006 through June 2009. 
We estimate that the number of guard contracts requiring a performance 
evaluation during this period would have totaled approximately 375. 
[Footnote 6] We analyzed a random sample of 99 FPS contractor 
evaluations to determine how FPS evaluated the performance of its 
contractors on an annual basis. We conducted covert testing at 10 
judgmentally selected level IV facilities. The facilities were 
selected from FPS's most current listing of federal facilities by 
security level. The criteria for choosing these facilities include 
public access, location in a major metropolitan area, and level IV 
facility security level. The results of our audit work are not 
generalizable. However, almost 54 percent of FPS's 15,000 guards and 
52 percent of the 2,360 facilities that have guards are located in the 
6 regions where we conducted our audit work. Because of the 
sensitivity of some of the information in our report, we cannot 
provide information about the specific locations of the incidents 
discussed. 

To determine what actions, if any, FPS has taken to address challenges 
with managing its contract guard program, we reviewed new contract 
guard program guidance issued since our July 2009 testimony. We 
conducted follow-up site visits at 3 of the original 6 FPS regions 
that we visited and interviewed FPS officials, contractors, and guards 
who are responsible for implementing FPS's new contract guard program 
guidance. We also observed guard inspections and covert testing done 
by FPS in August and November 2009. 

We conducted this performance audit from July 2008 to February 2010 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe 
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Background: 

Since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 
Oklahoma City, FPS has relied on a substantial contract guard force to 
help accomplish its mission of protecting federal facilities. The 
level of security FPS provides at each of the 9,000 federal facilities 
varies depending on the building's security level.[Footnote 7] While 
the contractor has the primary responsibility for training and 
ensuring that the guards have met certification requirements, FPS is 
ultimately responsible for oversight of the guards and relies on about 
752 inspectors located in its 11 regions to inspect guard posts and 
verify that training, certifications, and time cards are accurate. It 
is also responsible for providing X-ray and magnetometer training to 
the guards. Figure 1 shows the location of FPS's 11 regions and the 
number of guards and federal facilities with guards in each of these 
regions, as of July 2009. 

Figure 1: Number of FPS Guards and Federal Facilities with Guards, by 
Region: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustrated map of the U.S.] 

(1) New England Region: 
Guards: 4443; 
Federal facilities with guards: 101. 

(2) Northeast & Caribbean Region: 
Guards: 1,050; 
Federal facilities with guards: 185. 

(3) Mid-Atlantic Region: 
Guards: 1,356; 
Federal facilities with guards: 259. 

(4) Southeast Region: 
Guards: 1,801; 
Federal facilities with guards: 385. 

(5) Great Lakes Region: 
Guards: 1,396; 
Federal facilities with guards: 301. 

(6) The Heartland Region: 
Guards: 571; 
Federal facilities with guards: 135. 

(7) Greater Southwest Region: 
Guards: 1,476; 
Federal facilities with guards: 294. 

(8) Rocky Mountain Region: 
Guards: 359; 
Federal facilities with guards: 132. 

(9) Pacific Rim Region: 
Guards: 1,022; 
Federal facilities with guards: 292. 

(10) Northwest/Arctic Region: 
Guards: 369; 
Federal facilities with guards: 111. 

(11) National Capital Region: 
Guards: 2,998; 
Federal facilities with guards: 165. 

Sources: GAO analysis of FPS data and Map Resources (map). 

[End of figure] 

Some of the key responsibilities of FPS's guards include controlling 
access, enforcing property rules and regulations, detecting and 
reporting criminal acts, and responding to emergency situations 
involving the safety and security of the facility. Guards may only 
detain, not arrest, an individual, and their authority typically does 
not extend beyond the facility. Before guards are assigned to a post 
or an area of responsibility at a federal facility, FPS requires that 
they all undergo background suitability checks and complete 
approximately 128 hours of training provided by the contractor or FPS, 
including 8 hours of X-ray and magnetometer training. Guards must also 
pass an FPS-administered written examination and possess the necessary 
certificates, licenses, and permits as required by the contract. FPS 
also requires its guards to complete 40 hours of refresher training 
every 2 to 3 years, depending on the terms of the contract. Some 
states also require that guards obtain additional training and 
certifications. In addition, in response to our July 2009 report, in 
August 2009, FPS revised its X-ray and magnetometer training 
requirements and began requiring its guards to watch a 15-minute 
digital video disc (DVD) on bomb component detection that addresses 
types of bombs, bomb components, abnormal behavioral such as 
apprehension or nervousness, and actions to take if a bomb threat is 
detected. FPS also requires the contractor to ensure that all guards 
view this DVD when they receive refresher training, which occurs every 
2-3 years after the basic training. 

As of October 2009, FPS had 125 guard contracts with 38 different 
contractors.[Footnote 8] The majority of FPS guard service contracts 
are for routine security services at federal facilities and are for a 
12-month base period. They also have four 12-month options. FPS's 
contractors are responsible for providing and maintaining all guard 
services as described in the contract statement of work, including: 

* management, 

* supervision, 

* training, 

* equipment, 

* supplies, and: 

* licensing. 

FPS has three Consolidated Contracting Groups (CCG) located in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Federal Way, 
Washington, that provide contracting support for guard services and 
other FPS mission-related acquisitions. Within the CCGs, 43 warranted 
contracting officers are dedicated to FPS contracts. After awarding a 
contract, the contracting officers are responsible for enforcing the 
terms and conditions of the guard contracts, including authorizing and 
negotiating any changes to the contract. Each year the contracting 
officer is required to perform an annual review of the contract and 
take enforcement action if the services have not been provided, in 
accordance with the terms of the contract.[Footnote 9] The contracting 
officer also issues modifications and ensures proper payments are made 
in accordance with the contract. 

In addition to the 43 warranted contracting officers, approximately 60 
Contracting Officer Technical Representatives (COTR) work with the 
contracting officers to complete annual contractor performance 
evaluations and determine if a contract option should be exercised. 
COTRs are responsible for daily contract oversight, assessing a 
contractor's performance, and ensuring that the contractor is meeting 
all training, certification, and suitability requirements. Many of the 
COTRs are current or former inspectors and may have other job duties 
in addition to their COTR responsibilities, depending on their 
regional resource alignment. 

FPS's inspectors are also involved in the oversight of contract 
guards. The inspectors help the COTRs oversee guards and contractors. 
For example, the COTR relies on inspectors to perform guard 
inspections and report any problems with respect to the performance of 
guards on post to the COTR. Finally, FPS has a contract guard program 
manager in each of its 11 regions who is responsible for coordinating 
with the contracting officers and the COTRs to ensure that performance 
monitoring and reporting are being used to ensure continuous high- 
quality contractor performance in their regions. 

FPS Faces Challenges Managing Its Guard Contractors That Hamper Its 
Ability to Protect Federal Facilities: 

Some FPS Guard Contractors Did Not Always Comply with the Terms of 
Contracts: 

FPS continues to face challenges with overseeing its guard contractors 
that hamper its ability to protect federal facilities. FPS generally 
requires its contractors to provide guards who have completed the 
training and certification requirements shown in table 1. The most 
notable area where FPS contract requirements vary is regarding X-ray 
and magnetometer training. For example, for 3 of the 7 contractors we 
reviewed, FPS's contracts do not require X-ray and magnetometer 
training if the guards were not assigned to an access control point. 
In contrast, guards employed by the other 4 contractors we reviewed 
were required to receive X-ray and magnetometer training regardless of 
their duty station. 

Table 1: Guard Training and Certifications Required by FPS Contracts: 

Training: Contractor provided: 
* 64 hours of basic training; 
* 32 hours of live firearms training; 
* 8 hours of classroom firearms training; 
* 8 hours of basic baton training; 

Training: FPS provided: 
* 8 hours of government training; 
* 8 hours of X-ray and magnetometer training; 
* 40 hours of refresher training (including X-ray and magnetometer) 
every 2 to 3 years; 

Certifications: 
* DHS background investigation; 
* Medical examination certificate; 
* Domestic violence declaration; 
* Passing score on written examination; 
* Firearms qualification certificate; 
* Expandable/straight baton training certificate; 
* Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training certificate; 
* Basic training certificate; 
* Firearms training certificate; 
* Government-provided training certificate; 
* Magnetometer/X-ray training certificate; 
* First aid training certificate. 

Source: FPS. 

[End of table] 

On the basis of our review of FPS's contractual requirements and guard 
training and certification records maintained by FPS and/or the 
contractor, we reported in July 2009 that 62 percent, or 411, of the 
663 guards employed by 7 of FPS's 38 guard contractors and 
subsequently deployed to a federal facility had at least one expired 
certification. Examples of expired certifications included firearms 
qualification, background investigation, domestic violence 
declaration, CPR, or first aid training certification. More 
specifically, we also found that over 75 percent of the 354 guards at 
one level IV facility had expired certifications or the contractor had 
no record of the training. According to the contractor information for 
another contract, almost 40 percent of the 191 guards at another level 
IV facility had domestic violence declarations that had expired. 
Guards are not permitted to carry firearms unless they have such 
declarations. 

Since our July 2009 report, we have requested information from FPS to 
determine whether the status of these guards' certifications had 
changed. FPS's data showed that of the 663 guards, 435 are now fully 
certified and trained, 167 are not fully certified and trained, and 61 
guards are no longer working on the contract. 

We also testified in July 2009 that some guard contractors were not 
providing building-specific training, such as on actions to take 
during a building evacuation or a building emergency. This lack of 
training may have contributed to several incidents in which guards 
neglected their assigned responsibilities. For example, 

* At a level IV facility, the guards did not follow evacuation 
procedures and left two access points unattended, thereby leaving the 
facility vulnerable. 

* At a different level IV facility, a guard allowed employees to enter 
the building while an incident involving suspicious packages was being 
investigated. 

* At a level III facility, a guard allowed employees to access an area 
that was required to be evacuated because of a suspicious package. 

In addition to receiving insufficient building-specific training, 
guards generally said that they did not receive scenario-based 
training and thus were not sure what they should do in certain 
situations. During our site visits at 6 FPS regions, we interviewed 
over 50 guards and presented them with an incident that occurred at a 
federal facility in 2008. Specifically, we asked the guards whether 
they would assist an FPS inspector chasing an individual escaping from 
a federal facility in handcuffs.[Footnote 10] According to FPS 
policies and in accordance with contract requirements, contract guards 
are responsible for detecting, delaying, detaining, or apprehending 
persons attempting to gain unauthorized access to government property 
or otherwise violating laws, rules, and regulations. The guards' 
responses varied, however. Some guards stated that they would assist 
the FPS inspector and apprehend the individual, while others stated 
that they would likely do nothing and stay at their posts because they 
feared being fired for leaving their posts. Some guards also told us 
that they would not intervene because of the threat of a liability 
lawsuit for use of force and did not want to risk losing their jobs. 

Moreover, guards employed by some contractors were not always 
complying with post orders once they were deployed to federal 
facilities. FPS's post orders describe a number of things that guards 
are prohibited from doing while on post. For example, guards are 
prohibited from sleeping, using government property such as computers, 
and test-firing a weapon unless at a range course. However, as we 
testified in July 2009, when FPS routinely inspects guard posts, it 
has found incidents at level IV facilities where guards were not 
complying with post orders, including the following: 

* A guard was caught using government computers while he was supposed 
to be standing post, to further his private for-profit adult Web site. 

* A guard attached a motion sensor to a pole at the entrance to a 
federal facility garage to alert him whenever a person was approaching 
his post. Another law enforcement agency discovered the device and 
reported it to FPS. 

* A guard, during regular business hours, accidentally fired his 
firearm in a restroom while practicing drawing his weapon. 

* A guard failed to recognize or did not properly X-ray a box 
containing semiautomatic handguns at the loading dock at one federal 
facility we visited. FPS became aware of the situation only because 
the handguns were delivered to FPS. 

In each of these incidents, the guards were fired or disciplined. 
However, FPS continues to find instances where guards are not 
complying with post orders. For example, 2 days after the July 2009 
hearing, another guard fired his firearm in a restroom in a level IV 
facility while practicing drawing his weapon. 

FPS Has Not Taken Actions against Some Contractors for Not Meeting the 
Terms of the Contract: 

FPS has not taken actions against some guard contractors that did not 
comply with the terms of the contracts. According to FPS guard 
contracts, a contractor has not complied with the terms of the 
contract if the contractor has a guard working without valid 
certifications or background suitability investigations, falsifies a 
guard's training records, does not have a guard at a post, or has an 
unarmed guard working an armed post. If FPS determines that a 
contractor does not comply with these contract requirements, it can--
among other things--assess a financial deduction for nonperformed 
work; elect not to exercise a contract option; or terminate the 
contract for default or cause. Deductions are one type of action FPS 
may use to address contractor nonperformance issues. 

We reviewed the official contract files for the 7 contractors who, as 
we testified in July 2009, had guards performing on contracts with 
expired certification and training records to determine what action, 
if any, FPS had taken against these contractors for contract 
noncompliance. According to the documentation in the contract files, 
FPS did not take any enforcement action against them for not complying 
with the terms of the contract, a finding consistent with DHS's 
Inspector General's 2009 report.[Footnote 11] In fact, FPS exercised 
the option to extend the contracts of these 7 contractors. FPS 
contracting officials told us that the contracting officer who is 
responsible for enforcing the terms of the contract considers the 
appropriate course of action among the available contractual remedies 
on a case-by-case basis. For example, the decision of whether to 
assess financial deductions is a subjective assessment in which the 
contracting officer and the COTR take into account the value of the 
nonperformance and the seriousness of the deficiency, according to FPS 
contracting officials. According to FPS's Acquisitions Division 
Director, financial deductions are rarely taken for contract 
noncompliance and when they are the amount is generally insignificant. 

FPS Did Not Always Comply with Its Procedures for Completing Annual 
Performance Evaluations: 

FPS requires that a performance evaluation be completed annually and 
at the conclusion of the contract for those contracts exceeding 
$100,000. Contractor performance evaluations are one of the most 
important tools available for ensuring that the contractor meets the 
terms of the contract. According to contracting officials, monetary 
deductions do little to change contractor behavior, but contractors 
recognize the importance of evaluations and that FPS uses them to help 
determine whether to extend the contract. FPS policy also requires 
contracting officials to consider past performance as one of several 
technical evaluation factors in awarding new contracts. In addition, 
given that other federal agencies rely on many of the same contractors 
to provide security services, the need to complete accurate 
evaluations of a contractor's past performance is critical. 

FPS's contracting officers and COTRs did not always evaluate 
contractors' performance as required, and some evaluations were 
incomplete and not consistent with contractors' performance. We 
reviewed a random sample of 99 contract performance evaluations from 
calendar year 2006 through June 2009. These evaluations were for 38 
contractors. Eighty-two of the 99 contract performance evaluations 
showed that FPS assessed the quality of services provided by the 
majority of its guard contractors as "satisfactory," "very good," or 
"exceptional." For the remaining 17 evaluations, 11 showed that the 
contractor's performance was "marginal," 1 as "unsatisfactory," and 
assessments for 5 contractors were not complete. According to 
applicable guidance, a contractor must meet contractual requirements 
to obtain a satisfactory evaluation and a contractor should receive an 
unsatisfactory evaluation if its performance does not meet most 
contract requirements and recovery in a timely manner is not likely. 
[Footnote 12] Nevertheless, we found instances where some contractors 
received a satisfactory or better rating although they had not met 
some of the terms of the contract. For example, contractors receiving 
satisfactory or better ratings included the 7 contractors that had 
guards with expired certification and training records working at 
federal facilities. In addition, some performance evaluations that we 
reviewed did not include a justification for the rating and there was 
no other supporting documentation in the official contract file to 
explain the rating. Moreover, there was no information in the contract 
file that indicated that the COTR had communicated any performance 
problems to the contracting officer. 

FPS Did Not Always Comply with Procedures for Maintaining Contract 
Files: 

FPS's contracting officials told us that the contract files should 
contain annual performance evaluations. In addition, if a contractor 
has not met the terms of the contract, the contract file should also 
contain guard inspection reports and correspondence between the 
contracting officer and contractor, and any other written reports that 
can be used to evaluate the contractor's performance in meeting the 
terms of the contract. In addition, DHS's Office of Procurement 
Operations has also established procedures for preparing and 
organizing contract files and has provided contracting officials with 
a standard checklist to identify the documentation required in each 
stage of the contract award life cycle. According to this checklist, 
the contract file should contain information about performance 
monitoring, quality assurance records, and evaluations of contractor 
performance for contracts over $100,000. The Federal Acquisition 
Regulation (FAR) also prescribes requirements for establishing, 
maintaining, and disposing of contract files. It requires the head of 
each office that performs contracting, contract administration, or 
payment functions to establish files containing records of all 
contractual actions. 

FPS's CCGs did not follow these procedures for the contract files we 
reviewed. Specifically, our review of the official contract files for 
the 7 contractors who had guards with expired training and 
certification records working at federal facilities showed that the 
files were poorly documented, did not contain all of the required 
performance-related information, and varied among the CCGs. For 
example, contract files for 5 of the 7 contractors we reviewed did not 
have guard inspection reports, justifications for extending the 
contract, or annual performance evaluations. Without the performance- 
related information, FPS has difficulty deciding whether to exercise a 
contract option. Moreover, because federal agencies rely on many of 
the same contractors to provide security services, the need to 
consistently document contractor performance is important in 
determining future contracts. 

FPS Faces Challenges with Overseeing Guards That Raise Concern about 
Protection of Federal Facilities: 

FPS Is Not Providing All Guards with X-ray and Magnetometer Training 
in Some Regions: 

While FPS has given its guard contractors the responsibility to 
conduct most of the training of guards, FPS is responsible for 
conducting the 8 hours of X-ray and magnetometer training that all 
guards are required to have. However, as we reported in July 2009, FPS 
was not providing some of its guards with all of the required training 
in the six regions we visited. For example, in one region, FPS has not 
provided the required X-ray or magnetometer training to its almost 
1,500 guards since 2004. X-ray and magnetometer training is important 
because the majority of the guards are primarily responsible for using 
this equipment to monitor and control access points at federal 
facilities. Controlling access to a facility helps ensure that only 
authorized personnel, vehicles, and materials are allowed to enter, 
move within, and leave the facility. 

In the absence of the X-ray and magnetometer training, one contractor 
in the region said that it is relying on veteran guards who have 
experience operating these machines to provide some on-the-job 
training to new guards. FPS officials subsequently told us that the 
contract for this region requires that only guards who are assigned to 
work on posts that contain screening equipment are required to have 8 
hours of X-ray and magnetometer training. However, in response to our 
July 2009 testimony, FPS now requires all guards to receive 16 hours 
of X-ray and magnetometer training. As of January 2010, these guards 
had not received the 16 hours of training but continued to work at 
federal facilities in this region. FPS plans to provide X-ray and 
magnetometer training to all guards by the end of 2010. 

Lapses and weaknesses in FPS's X-ray and magnetometer training have 
contributed to several incidents at federal facilities in which the 
guards neglected to carry out their responsibilities. For example, at 
a level IV federal facility in a major metropolitan area, an infant in 
a carrier was sent through the X-ray machine. Specifically, according 
to an FPS official in that region, a woman with her infant in a 
carrier attempted to enter the facility, which has child care 
services. While retrieving her identification, the woman placed the 
carrier on the X-ray machine.[Footnote 13] Because the guard was not 
paying attention and the machine's safety features had been disabled, 
causing the belt to operate continuously, the infant in the carrier 
was sent through the X-ray machine. FPS investigated the incident and 
dismissed the guard. However, the guard subsequently sued FPS for not 
providing the required X-ray training. The guard won the suit because 
FPS could not produce any documentation to show that the guard had 
received the training, according to an FPS official. 

FPS Lacks Assurance That Its Guards Have Required Certifications: 

As we reported in July 2009, FPS's primary system--CERTS--for 
monitoring and verifying whether guards have the training and 
certifications required to stand post at federal facilities is not 
fully reliable. Moreover, five of the six regions we visited did not 
have current information on guard training and certifications. Guard 
contractors are responsible for maintaining the status of each element 
of the guards' certifications, such as firearms qualification, 
domestic violence certification, and first aid training. These 
certifications are subsequently entered into and tracked in CERTS by 
FPS personnel in the regional program offices. According to FPS 
officials in these five regions, updating CERTS is time-consuming and 
they do not have the resources needed to keep up with the thousands of 
paper files. Consequently, these five regions were not generally 
relying on CERTS and instead were relying on the contractor to self-
report training and certification information about its guards. 

Not having a fully reliable system to better track whether training 
has occurred may have contributed to a situation in which a contractor 
allegedly falsified training records. As we reported last summer, in 
2007, FPS was not aware that a contractor who was responsible for 
providing guard service at several level IV facilities in a major 
metropolitan area had allegedly falsified training records until it 
was notified by an employee of the company. According to FPS's 
affidavit, the contractor allegedly repeatedly self-certified to FPS 
that its guards had satisfied CPR and first aid training requirements, 
as well as the contractually required biannual recertification 
training, although the contractor knew that the guards had not 
completed the required training and were not qualified to stand post 
at federal facilities. According to FPS's affidavit, in exchange for a 
$100 bribe, contractor officials provided a security guard with 
certificates of completion for CPR and first aid. The case is 
currently being litigated in U.S. District Court. 

FPS Has Limited Assurance That Guards Are Complying with Post Orders 
once They Are Deployed to Federal Facilities: 

FPS has limited assurance that its 15,000 guards are complying with 
post orders. As we testified in July 2009, we identified substantial 
security vulnerabilities related to FPS's guard program. Each time 
they tried, our investigators successfully passed undetected through 
security checkpoints monitored by FPS guards with the components for 
an improvised explosive device (IED) concealed on their persons at 10 
level IV facilities in four cities in major metropolitan areas. We 
planned additional tests but suspended them after achieving 100 
percent test results, which highlighted the vulnerabilities federal 
facilities face. The specific components for this device, items used 
to conceal the device components, and the methods of concealment that 
we used during our covert testing are classified, and thus are not 
discussed in this report. Of the 10 level IV facilities we penetrated, 
8 were government owned and 2 were leased facilities. The facilities 
included field offices of a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative as 
well as agencies of the Departments of Homeland Security, 
Transportation, Health and Human Services, Justice, and State, and 
others. The 2 leased facilities did not have any guards at the access 
control point at the time of our testing. In August 2009, FPS told us 
that the 2 leased facilities did not have guards because the 
facilities were recently reclassified from a level IV to level II 
based on the new Interagency Security Committee security standards. 

Using publicly available information, our investigators identified a 
type of device that a terrorist could use to cause damage to a federal 
facility and threaten the safety of federal workers and the general 
public. The device was an IED made up of two parts--a liquid explosive 
and a low-yield detonator--and included a variety of materials not 
typically brought into a federal facility by employees or the public. 
Although the detonator itself could function as an IED, investigators 
determined that it could also be used to set off a liquid explosive 
and cause significantly more damage. To ensure safety during this 
testing, we took precautions so that the IED would not explode. For 
example, we lowered the concentration level of the material.[Footnote 
14] 

To gain entry into each of the 10 level IV facilities, our 
investigators showed photo identification (state driver's licenses) 
and walked through the magnetometer machines without incident. The 
investigators also placed their briefcases with the IED material on 
the conveyor belts of the X-ray machines, but the guards detected 
nothing. Furthermore, our investigators did not receive any secondary 
searches from the guards that might have revealed the IED material 
that we brought into the facilities. At security checkpoints at 3 of 
the 10 facilities, our investigators noticed that the guard was not 
looking at the X-ray screen as some of the IED components passed 
through the machine. A guard questioned an item in the briefcase at 1 
of the 10 facilities, but the materials were subsequently allowed 
through the X-ray machine. At each facility, once past the guard 
screening checkpoint, our investigators proceeded to a restroom and 
assembled the IED. At some of the facilities, the restrooms were 
locked. Our investigators gained access by asking employees to let 
them in. With the IED completely assembled in a briefcase, our 
investigators walked freely around several floors of the facilities 
and into various executive and legislative branch offices. 

In addition, recent FPS penetration testing--similar to the covert 
testing we conducted in May 2009--showed that guards continued to 
experience problems with complying with post orders. Since July 2009, 
FPS has conducted 53 penetration tests in the six regions we visited. 
The guards identified the prohibited items (guns, knives, and fake 
bombs) in 18 tests but did not identify the items in 35 tests. 

More specifically, in August 2009, we accompanied FPS on 2 of these 
penetration tests at a level IV facility. During 1 test, FPS agents 
placed a bag containing a fake gun and knife on the X-ray machine 
belt. The guard failed to identify the gun and knife on the X-ray 
screen, and the undercover FPS official was able to retrieve his bag 
and proceed to the check-in desk without incident. During a second 
test, a knife was hidden on an FPS officer. During the test, the 
magnetometer detected the knife, as did the hand wand, but the guard 
failed to locate the knife and the FPS officer was able to gain access 
to the facility. According to the FPS officer, the guards who failed 
the test had not been provided the required X-ray and magnetometer 
training. Upon further investigation, only 2 of the 11 guards at the 
facility had the required X-ray and magnetometer training. In response 
to the results of this test, FPS debriefed the contractor and moved 
one of the guard posts to improve access control. 

In November 2009, we accompanied FPS on another test of security 
countermeasures at a different level IV facility. As in the previous 
test, a FPS agent placed a bag containing a fake bomb on the X-ray 
machine belt. The guard operating the X-ray machine did not identify 
the fake bomb and the inspector was allowed to enter the facility with 
it. In a second test, a FPS inspector placed a bag containing a fake 
gun on the X-ray belt. The guard identified the gun and the FPS 
inspector was detained. However, the FPS inspector was told to stand 
in a corner and was not handcuffed or searched as required. In 
addition, while all the guards were focusing on the individual with 
the fake gun, a second FPS inspector walked through the security 
checkpoint with two knives without being screened. In response to the 
results of this test, FPS suspended 2 guards and provided additional 
training to 2 guards. 

Recent Actions Taken by FPS May Help Improve Oversight of the Contract 
Guard Program: 

FPS Is Increasing Guard Inspections at Facilities in Some Metropolitan 
Areas, while the Number of Inspections at Other Facilities May Not 
Increase: 

In response to our July 2009 testimony, FPS has increased the number 
of guard inspections at federal facilities in some metropolitan areas. 
[Footnote 15] FPS currently requires two guard inspections to be 
completed a week at level IV facilities. Prior to this new 
requirement, FPS did not have a national requirement for guard 
inspections, and each region we visited had requirements that ranged 
from no inspection requirements to each inspector having to conduct 
five inspections per month. 

Overall, FPS's data show that the number of guard inspections has 
increased nearly 40 percent, from 4,639 inspections in July 2009 to 
6,501 in October 2009. However, about 54 percent of these inspections 
occurred either at level IV facilities or in metropolitan areas and 
not in rural areas, where we found that guard inspections are rarely 
done. In our 2008 report, we found incidents in which guards deployed 
to federal facilities in rural areas had not been inspected in over 1 
year or where the inspections were done over the telephone, instead of 
in person. In addition, while FPS's Director authorized overtime to 
complete the additional inspections, previous funding challenges that 
resulted in FPS limiting overtime raise questions about whether it 
will be able to continue to authorize overtime to fund these increased 
inspections. Moreover, concerns remain about the quality of guard 
inspections. According to officials in one region, guard program 
officials recently provided training for inspectors on how to conduct 
and document guard inspections. However, despite this training, 
program officials said that the quality of the guard inspections and 
reports remains inconsistent. The guard inspection reports are one of 
the key factors FPS uses to assess a contractor's performance. 

FPS Is Modifying X-ray and Magnetometer Training Requirements for 
Inspectors and Guards, but Has Not Addressed Other Training Issues: 

FPS is in the process of providing additional X-ray and magnetometer 
training, in response to our July testimony, but guards will not be 
fully trained until the end of 2010. FPS plans to train its 
inspectors--who will subsequently be responsible for training the 
guards--first. Under the new program, FPS will require inspectors to 
receive 30 hours of X-ray and magnetometer training and guards to 
receive 16 hours of training. Prior to this new requirement, FPS 
required guards to receive 8 hours of training on X-ray and 
magnetometer machines. In July 2009, FPS also required each guard to 
watch a government-provided DVD on bomb component detection by August 
20, 2009. According to FPS, as of January 2010, approximately 78 
percent, or 11,711, of the 15,000 guards had been certified as having 
watched the DVD. 

While the changes FPS has made to its X-ray and magnetometer training 
will help to address some of the problems we found, there are some 
weaknesses in the guard training. For example, one contractor told us 
that one of the weaknesses associated with FPS's guard training 
program is that it focuses primarily on prevention and detection but 
does not adequately address challenge and response.[Footnote 16] This 
contractor has developed specific scenario training and provides its 
guards on other contracts with an additional 12 hours of training on 
scenario-based examples, such as how to control a suicide bomber or 
active shooter situation, evacuation, and shelter in place. The 
contractor, who has multiple contracts with government agencies, does 
not provide this scenario-based training to its guards on FPS 
contracts because FPS does not require it. We also found that some 
guards were still not provided building-specific training, such as 
what actions to take during a building evacuation or a building 
emergency. According to guards we spoke to in one region, guards 
receive very little training on building emergency procedures during 
basic training or the refresher training. These guards also said that 
the only time they receive building emergency training is once they 
are on post. Consequently, some guards do not know how to operate 
basic building equipment, such as the locks or the building 
ventilation system, which is important in a building evacuation or 
building emergency. 

FPS Is Developing a New System to Monitor Guard Training and 
Certifications, but More Work Remains: 

In 2007, FPS began developing a new system to replace several legacy 
GSA systems including CERTS, Security Tracking System, and other 
systems associated with the facility security assessment program. The 
new system, referred to as the Risk Assessment Management Program 
(RAMP), is designed to be a central database for capturing and 
managing facility security, including the risks posed to federal 
facilities and the countermeasures that are in place to mitigate risk. 
It is also expected to enable FPS to manage guard certifications and 
to conduct and track guard inspections electronically as opposed to 
manually. RAMP will also allow FPS to produce regular reports on the 
status of guards and guard contracts and to address issues with guards 
and contractors as they arise. According to FPS officials, the first 
phase of RAMP training started in some regions in October 2009. 
However, as of December 2009, about half of the 752 inspectors had not 
received RAMP training. FPS also has experienced technical 
difficulties with RAMP, for example, server issues, and the system is 
not always available for use. Consequently, the 386 inspectors that 
were trained are not able to use RAMP and are doing guard inspections 
manually, a fact that increases the risk of inaccurate data. 

We are encouraged that FPS is attempting to replace some of its legacy 
GSA systems with a more reliable and accurate system. However, FPS has 
not fully addressed some issues associated with implementing RAMP. For 
example, we are concerned about the accuracy and reliability of the 
information that will be entered into RAMP. According to FPS, the 
agency plans to transfer data from several of its legacy systems, 
including CERTS, into RAMP. In July 2009, we testified on accuracy and 
reliability issues associated with CERTS. Since that time, FPS has 
taken steps to review and update all guard training and certification 
records. For example, FPS is conducting an internal audit of its CERTS 
database. As of February 2010, the results of that audit showed that 
FPS was able to verify the status for about 8,600 of its 15,000 
guards. FPS is experiencing difficulty verifying the status of the 
remaining 6,400 guards, in part because it does not have a system to 
obtain reliable information on a real-time basis. 

Despite FPS's recent efforts, challenges remain. While RAMP is a step 
in the right direction, it is not fully operational. Equally 
important, RAMP will not put FPS in an effective position to provide 
the oversight and decision making that are necessary to ensure that 
its 15,000 guards deployed at federal facilities in metropolitan and 
rural areas, private contractors, and 1,225 full-time employees in 
headquarters and 11 regions are performing as required and achieving 
FPS's facility protection mission. We have previously reported that 
for an agency to effectively manage and control its operations, it 
must have relevant and reliable information relating to its mission on 
a real-time basis.[Footnote 17] FPS does not have this capability. FPS 
relies on its 11 regions to manage its contract guard program, 
including the collection and analysis of performance information. 
However, each of the 11 regions differs in how it manages, collects, 
and reports contract guard information. Without the ability to access 
contract guard information on a real-time basis, FPS cannot ensure 
appropriate oversight and accountability, or that the agency's 
facility protection mission is accomplished. 

In addition, since 2002, we and DHS's Inspector General have reported 
that oversight of the contract guard program is a challenge for FPS. 
[Footnote 18] For example, in 2008, we reported on the poor quality of 
contract guards and the lack of guard inspections. However, FPS has 
only recently begun addressing some of these challenges and has not 
undertaken a comprehensive review of the agency's use of contract 
guards to protect federal facilities since the bombing of Alfred P. 
Murrah Federal Building in 1995. We also identified a number of 
changes that have had a cascading impact on FPS's management of the 
contract guard program. Chief among them is FPS's decision to move to 
an inspector-based workforce. Under this approach, FPS eliminated its 
police officer position and is primarily using about 752 inspectors 
and special agents to oversee its 15,000 contract guards, provide law 
enforcement services, conduct building security assessments, and 
perform other duties as assigned. Many inspectors in the regions we 
visited stated that they are not provided sufficient time to complete 
guard inspections because FPS's priority is physical security 
activities, such as completing facility security assessments. The 
combined effect of recent changes and long-standing challenges has 
contributed to the poor oversight of the contract guard program, and 
we believe it indicates a need for a reassessment of the current 
approach to protect federal facilities and greater oversight. 

FPS also has not completed a workforce analysis to determine if its 
current staff of about 752 inspectors will be able to effectively 
complete the additional inspections as required and provide the X-ray 
and magnetometer training to 15,000 guards in addition to their 
current physical security and law enforcement responsibilities. Our 
previous work has raised questions about the wide range of 
responsibilities inspectors have and the quality of facility security 
assessments and guard oversight. According to the Director of FPS, 
while having more resources would help address the weaknesses in the 
guard program, the additional resources would have to be trained and 
thus could not be deployed immediately. Finally, according to the 
Director of FPS, the agency recognized that its guard program has long-
standing challenges, and in response to recent concerns about the 
guard program identified by GAO and others, FPS contemplated assuming 
responsibility for all guard training and/or federalizing some guard 
positions at some federal facilities. However, FPS decided not to 
pursue federalizing guard positions because of the cost. While 
federalizing guard positions may not be cost-beneficial, we believe 
that given the long-standing challenges FPS faces with managing its 
guard program, it should continue to conduct research to determine if 
other options for protecting federal facilities may be more cost-
beneficial. 

Conclusions: 

FPS continues to face challenges in ensuring that its $659 million 
guard program is effective in protecting federal facilities. While FPS 
has recently taken some actions, such as requiring more guard training 
and inspections, to address these long-standing challenges, guards 
employed by private contractors continue to neglect or inadequately 
perform their assigned responsibilities. We believe that FPS continues 
to struggle with managing its contract guard program in part because, 
although it has used guards to supplement the agency's workforce since 
the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, it has not 
undertaken a comprehensive review of its use of guards to protect 
federal facilities to determine whether other options and approaches 
would be more cost-beneficial. FPS also has not acted diligently in 
ensuring that its guard contractors meet the terms of the contract and 
taking enforcement action when noncompliance occurs. In addition, we 
believe that FPS's overall approach to protecting federal facilities, 
coupled with many unresolved operational issues, has hampered its 
oversight of the contract guard program. The combined effect of these 
long-standing challenges suggests that FPS needs to do more to protect 
the over 1 million government employees and members of the public who 
visit federal facilities each year. Thus, we believe that among other 
things, FPS needs to reassess how it protects federal facilities and 
take a stronger role in overseeing contractor performance. 

We also believe that completing the required contract performance 
evaluations for its contractors and maintaining contract files will 
put FPS in a better position to determine whether it should continue 
to exercise contract options with some contractors. FPS's decision to 
increase guard inspections at federal facilities in metropolitan areas 
is a step in the right direction. However, it does not address issues 
with guard inspections at federal facilities outside metropolitan 
areas, which are equally vulnerable. Thus, without routine inspections 
of guards at these facilities, FPS has no assurance that guards are 
complying with their post orders. In addition, ensuring that its 
guards are adequately trained to respond to building-specific 
situations, for example, how to handle an evacuation or shelter in 
place situation at a federal facility, is equally important. The lack 
of building-specific and scenario-based training may have contributed 
to several incidents in which guards neglected their assigned 
responsibilities. 

Moreover, maintaining accurate and reliable data on whether the 15,000 
guards deployed at federal facilities have met the training and 
certification requirements is important for a number of reasons. 
First, without accurate and reliable data, FPS cannot consistently 
ensure compliance with contract requirements and lacks information 
critical for effective oversight of its guard program. Second, given 
that other federal agencies rely on many of the same contractors to 
provide security services, the need to complete accurate evaluations 
of a contractor's past performance is critical to future contract 
awards. Finally, until FPS develops and implements a management tool, 
in addition to RAMP, that provides it with reliable contract guard 
data on a real-time basis, the agency will not be in an effective 
position to provide the oversight and decision making that are 
necessary to ensure that its 15,000 guards deployed at federal 
facilities in metropolitan and rural areas, private contractors, and 
1,225 full-time employees in headquarters and 11 regions are 
performing as required and achieving FPS's facility protection mission. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Given the long-standing and unresolved issues related to FPS's 
contract guard program and challenges in protecting federal 
facilities, employees, and the public who use these facilities, we 
recommend that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the Under 
Secretary of NPPD and the Director of FPS to take the following eight 
actions: 

* identify other approaches and options that would be most beneficial 
and financially feasible for protecting federal facilities; 

* rigorously and consistently monitor guard contractors' and guards' 
performance and step up enforcement against contractors that are not 
complying with the terms of the contract; 

* complete all contract performance evaluations in accordance with FPS 
and FAR requirements; 

* issue a standardized record-keeping format to ensure that contract 
files have required documentation; 

* develop a mechanism to routinely monitor guards at federal 
facilities outside metropolitan areas; 

* provide building-specific and scenario-based training and guidance 
to its contract guards; 

* develop and implement a management tool for ensuring that reliable, 
comprehensive data on the contract guard program are available on a 
real-time basis; and: 

* verify the accuracy of all guard certification and training data 
before entering them into RAMP, and periodically test the accuracy and 
reliability of RAMP data to ensure that FPS management has the 
information needed to effectively oversee its guard program. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to DHS for review and comment. DHS 
concurred with seven of the eight recommendations in this report. 
Regarding the report's recommendation--issue a standardized record- 
keeping format to ensure that contract files have required 
documentation--DHS concurred that contract files must have required 
documentation and did not concur that a new record-keeping format 
should be issued. DHS commented that written procedures already exist 
and are required for use by all DHS's Office of Procurement Operations 
staff and the components it serves, including NPPD. We believe that 
the policies referenced by DHS are a step in the right direction in 
ensuring that contract files have required documentation; however, 
although these policies exist, we found a lack of standardization and 
consistency in the contract files we reviewed among the three 
Consolidated Contract Groups. In response to this recommendation, DHS 
also commented it will conduct an internal audit of the contract files 
to determine the extent and quality of contract administration. We 
agree with this next step. 

In addition, while DHS agreed with our other recommendations, we are 
concerned that some of the steps it described may not address our 
recommendation--to develop a mechanism to routinely monitor guards at 
federal facilities outside metropolitan areas. In response to this 
recommendation, FPS commented that to provide routine oversight of 
guards in remote regions it will use an employee of a tenant agency 
(referred to as an Agency Technical Representative) who has authority 
to act as a representative of a COTR for day-to-day monitoring of 
contract guards. However, during the course of this review, several 
FPS regional officials told us that the Agency Technical 
Representatives were not fully trained and did not have an 
understanding of the guards' roles and responsibilities. These 
officials also said that the program may not be appropriate for all 
federal facilities. We believe that if FPS plans to use Agency Tenant 
Representatives to oversee guards, it is important that the agency 
ensures that the representatives are knowledgeable of the guards' 
responsibilities and are trained on how and when to conduct guard 
inspections as well as how to evacuate facilities during an emergency. 

Furthermore, while we support FPS's overall plans to better manage its 
contract guard program, we believe it is also important for FPS to 
have performance metrics to evaluate whether its planned actions are 
fully implemented and are effective in addressing the challenges it 
faces managing its contract guard program. DHS's comments are 
presented in appendix I. Finally, DHS provided technical 
clarifications, which we incorporated into the report as appropriate. 

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents 
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days 
from the report date. At that time, we will send copies of this report 
to appropriate congressional committees, the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, and other interested parties. In addition, the report will 
be available at no charge on GAO's Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. If you have any questions about this report, 
please contact me at (202) 512-2834 or goldsteinm@gao.gov. Contact 
points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs 
may be found on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major 
contributions to this report are listed in appendix II. 

Signed by: 

Mark L. Goldstein: 
Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

List of Requesters: 

The Honorable Joseph L. Lieberman:
Chairman:
The Honorable Susan M. Collins:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka:
Chairman:
The Honorable George V. Voinovich:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal 
Workforce and the District of Columbia:
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson:
Chairman:
The Honorable Peter T. King:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Homeland Security:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable James L. Oberstar:
Chairman,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton:
Chairwoman:
Subcommittee on Public Buildings, Economic Development, and Emergency 
Management:
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 
Office of the Under Secretary: 
National Protection and Programs Directorate: 
Washington, DC 20528: 

March 26, 2010: 

Mr. Mark L. Goldstein: 
Director: 
Physical Infrastructure Issues: 
Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Subject: GA0-10-341, Federal Protective Service's Contract Guard 
Program Requires More Oversight and Reassessment of Use of Contract 
Guards: 

Dear Mr. Goldstein: 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appreciates the opportunity 
to review and comment on the U.S. Government Accountability Office's 
(GAO's) draft report referenced above. GAO provided several 
conclusions and made eight recommendations with regard to the current 
level of FPS contract guard compliance with training and 
qualifications requirements. The Department concurs with seven of the 
recommendations and non-concurs with one as referenced below. 

GAO Recommendation 1: Conduct research to identify other approaches 
and options that would be most beneficial and financially feasible for 
protecting federal buildings. 

Response: Concur. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) was created to 
designate a centralized provider of integrated security and law 
enforcement services to the federal community. Throughout its 
existence, FPS has remained flexible in implementing the variety of 
means used to accomplish its protective mission and has continually 
examined past actions, best practices, and available resources and 
technology to determine the best available means to protect federal 
facilities. 

Largely due to resource constraints, FPS' approaches and options to 
protecting federal facilities have focused efforts on providing more 
robust and analytical risk assessments, enhancing the training and 
oversight of protective security officers, and entering into various 
contracts to facilitate streamlining the implementation of 
countermeasures on a nationwide basis. FPS recently increased its 
interaction with the research and development community, through the 
DHS Science and Technology Directorate, to better define requirements 
for the next generation of security technology. FPS is simultaneously 
testing new developments in countermeasures to assess their maximum 
effectiveness as part of the integrated set of countermeasures. These 
initiatives are driven by the need to provide a comprehensive approach 
to facility protection that capitalizes on FPS' law enforcement 
knowledge and expertise in physical security within the framework of 
available resources to support mission requirements. 

GAO Recommendation 2: Rigorously and consistently monitor guard 
contractors and guards' performance and step up enforcement against 
contractors and/or guards that are not complying with the terms of the 
contract. 

Response: Concur. FPS continues to rigorously and consistently monitor 
guard contractors, and through the development and implementation of 
new policies and initiatives, FPS will strengthen its assurances that 
contract Protective Security Officer (PSO) providers are complying 
with the terms and conditions of their contracts. These policies and 
initiatives establish organizational responsibilities for post, site, 
and administrative inspections. 

As an example of the measures being taken to increase its oversight of 
contract compliance, FPS is increasing its minimum requirements for 
post inspection and administrative audits of individual PSO files from 
10 percent annually to 10 percent monthly. Results of post inspections 
and administrative audits are entered into the Risk Assessment and 
Management Program (RAMP), allowing FPS to effectively monitor overall 
contractor performance by location, contract, and contract company.
A number of other initiatives and programs have been implemented to 
improve contract guard oversight. Beyond certifying that guard 
personnel are qualified on paper to perform their assigned duties, FPS 
has developed and implemented a Covert Testing Program to further 
enhance and complement the ongoing efforts of FPS' operational 
oversight of the contract guard program. Policies have been revised to 
increase the number, frequency and scope of guard post, 
administrative, and site inspections. In addition to increasing the 
frequency of scheduled inspections. FPS increased the number of 
unannounced inspections by more than 100 percent during the past nine 
months. Finally, in addition to the increased monitoring of on-site 
performance of the contract security force, FPS has significantly 
increased its review of contract deliverables such as contractor 
quality control plans, supervision plans, and certification 
documentation, an action which better allows FPS to identify and take 
enforcement actions against contractors who are not meeting the terms 
of their contracts. 

GAO Recommendation 3: Complete all contract performance evaluations in 
accordance with FPS and FAR requirements. 

Response: Concur. DHS is prepared to implement this recommendation 
through strict adherence to applicable internal policy/procedure (DHS 
Office of Procurement Operations (OPO) Procurement Operating Procedure 
(POP) 40381, "Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting and 
Procedure") and capitalization of the knowledge and skills acquired by 
staff through the contractor performance assessment training. While 
staff training in this area is an ongoing DHS initiative, National 
Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Contracting Officer 
Technical Representatives (COTRs) and OPO Contracting Officers have 
received (I) a web-based training session presenting an overview of 
the reporting requirements and the Contractor Performance Assessment 
Reporting System (CPARS) and (2) a classroom session with specific 
role-based instruction and live demonstration in CPARS, This training 
was provided during fourth quarter FY09 and first quarter FY10. DHS 
OPO Contracting Officers and NPPD/FPS COTRs have also been provided 
with copies of POP 403R1, CPARS Guidebooks tailored to their 
respective roles, and other tools to aid them in providing quality 
narratives within a contractor performance assessment. 

Furthermore, NPPD/FPS will ensure visibility of contractor performance 
assessments at the leadership level and will hold employees 
accountable for failure to promptly and properly complete contractor 
performance assessments. To this end, NPPD has implemented reporting 
requirements and will incorporate completion of contractor performance 
assessments into the performance goals of those employees responsible 
for this function. 

GAO Recommendation 4: Issue a standardized recordkeeping format to 
ensure that contract files have required documentation. 

Response: Non-concur. While both NPPD and DHS OPO concur that contract 
files must have required documentation, we do not concur that a new 
recordkeeping format should be issued. Written procedures already 
exist and are required for use by all DHS OPO staff and the components 
it services, including NPPD. These policies are set forth in the DHS 
OPO POP 301R1. "Contract File Checklists," and OPO POP 404R1, 
"Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) Roles, 
Responsibilities and Requirements." 

* POP 301R1 includes a standard contract file checklists which include 
pre-solicitation, solicitation, pre-award, award, post-award, contract 
administration, contract modification, deliver/task order, and close-
out documentation requirements. 

* POP 301R1 requires that Contracting Officers and Contract 
Specialists include documents in files consistent with the checklists 
and further requires that supervisors monitor the consistency of 
documentation with standard checklists. 

* POP 404R1 requires COTRs to maintain a working file to document 
their actions and sets forth the minimum required contents of the 
COTR's working file. 

Standardized checklists are tools that aid the Contracting Officer in 
ensuring that all required documentation is in place and the extent of 
documentation required under those checklists is dictated by the 
nature, complexity, commercial availability, estimated value of the 
requirement, and the applicability of laws and regulations to that 
particular action. OPO also has an electronic took kit for more 
standardized contract administration available to Contracting Officers 
and Specialists. 

In response to this recommendation, .DHS OPO will conduct an internal 
audit of contract files to determine the extent and quality of 
contract administration. It is projected that this audit will occur in 
the first quarter of FY11. Prior to that time, OPO staff and NPPD 
COTRs will again be provided all applicable policies for proper file 
documentation and alerted to the upcoming audit. Upon review of 
internal audit findings, OPO will develop and/or provide training as 
needed. 

GAO Recommendation 5: Develop a mechanism to routinely monitor guards 
at federal facilities outside metropolitan areas. 

Response: Concur. To address this issue and to ensure routine 
monitoring of PSOs, FPS established aggressive schedules for 
conducting post inspections. For Level IV facilities, the inspection 
frequency is a minimum of two posts (any shift) weekly, without regard 
to the geographic location of the facility. Inspection results are 
immediately entered into RAMP, documenting the number of inspections 
by location and PSO. Additionally, to compensate for inadequate 
resources and to provide routine oversight of guards in remote 
regions, FPS developed and implemented the Agency Technical 
Representative Program. The Agency Technical Representative is an 
employee of a tenant agency who has the authority to act as a 
representative of a COTR for day-to-day monitoring of contract PSO 
performance. 

GAO Recommendation 6: Provide building specific and scenario based 
training and guidance to its contract guards. 

Response: Concur. FPS already uses a variety of tactics to provide 
building-specific and scenario-based information to contract guards 
but is also enhancing methods of delivery and measurement of 
retention. Following are several examples of current practices: 

* Basic Training and Written Examination  Basic training that is 
required for all contract guards includes instruction on a variety of 
scenarios that are common to contract guard functions. Grounded in the 
FPS Security Guard Information Manual (SLIM) content, after completing 
the course, contract guards must pass a written examination to 
demonstrate their mastery of the material. 

* Post Desk Books  As defined by FPS Policy FPS-08-003, post desk 
books are the complete operational reference book provided for each 
contract security guard post. The consistent structure and content 
required provides information that is building-specific and scenario-
based. They include information ranging from the facility occupants 
and points of contact to procedures on how to respond to HAZMAT 
incidents. All contract guards are contractually required to be 
familiar with the content of these Desk Books prior to standing post. 

* Occupant Emergency Plan Guide  In 2007, FPS developed and published 
a comprehensive guide for the development of Occupant Emergency Plans 
(OEPs) by all Federal Departments and Agencies. The guide and its 
supplements contain templates for OEPs, which contain emergency-
specific scenarios for prevention, protection, response, and recovery. 
This guide and its scenarios are used to develop the OEP containing 
specific procedures for the facility emergency response team and 
occupants and the procedures in the post orders that are specific to 
the actions required of the contract guards. 

FPS measures the knowledge of the contract guards through written 
examination, routine post inspections, and Operation Shield, a program 
in which unannounced inspections measure the effectiveness of the 
contract guards. To further enhance current capabilities to identify 
specific knowledge gaps, the inspection process will provide post-
specific questions for the on-duty contract guards. Where knowledge 
gaps are identified, the enhanced specificity in the inspections will 
allow for more efficient and effective remediation for individual 
contract guards. It will also allow FPS to identify trends across 
companies or the country that could indicate changes are needed in 
content or instructional methodology. 

threats and needs arise. Recent examples include specific training on 
active shooter scenarios along with an intelligence bulletin 
associated with the shooting at the Las Vegas Courthouse, and training 
on techniques and procedures to detect weapons at screening posts. 

GAO Recommendation 7: Develop and implement a management tool for 
ensuring that reliable comprehensive data on the contract guard 
program is available on a real time basis. 

Response: Concur. FPS has incorporated a comprehensive guard 
management module into RAMP to provide reliable real time data on the 
contract PSO program. This module includes capabilities to record 
contract information centrally, maintain and update PSO information
(including certifications), conduct post inspections, and align posts 
to facilities. These capabilities allow FPS to measure contractor 
performance continuously and take corrective actions as necessary. 

GAO Recommendation 8: Verify the accuracy of all guard certification 
and training data before entering into RAMP, and periodically test the 
accuracy and reliability of RAMP data to ensure that FPS management 
has the information needed to effectively oversee its guard program. 

Response: Concur. FPS applies several tactics to oversee and validate 
information pertaining to contractor certifications before and after 
entry into RAMP. Activities conducted before data entry range from 
monitoring of contractor-provided training and weapons qualifications 
to proctoring and scoring of the FPS written examination, FPS is also 
responsible for the entry of information associated with contractor 
suitability determinations. After data is entered through the 
electronic reporting of certifications by contractors, FPS conducts 
audits and inspections to test the accuracy and reliability of RAMP 
data to ensure that RAMP provides an up-to-date database from which to 
measure compliance with contract requirements. 

The FPS Risk Management Division is currently revising FPS directive 
09-001, which details the site inspection and audit procedures of 
contractors. This policy will increase the requirement for audits from 
10 percent of the files annually to 10 percent of the files monthly 
and provide prescriptive instructions on method, which will result in 
a more than 100 percent increase in frequency of record validation. In 
addition, FPS policy requires that FPS monitor contractor-provided 
training and weapons qualifications to ensure accuracy of content, 
delivery, and records. 

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this draft report, and we 
look forward to working with you on future homeland security issues. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Rand Beers: 
Under Secretary: 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Mark L. Goldstein, (202) 512-2834 or goldsteinm@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact name above, Tammy Conquest, Assistant 
Director; Jonathan Carver; John Cooney; Collin Fallon; Brandon Haller; 
Daniel Hoy; Susan Michal-Smith; and Josh Ormond made key contributions 
to this report. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Funding for FPS is provided through revenues and collections 
charged to building tenants of properties protected by FPS. The 
revenues and collections are credited to FPS's appropriation and are 
available until expended for the protection of federally owned and 
leased buildings and for FPS operations. 

[2] While FPS does not use guards at the remaining 6,700 facilities 
under its protection, it uses other security countermeasures such as 
cameras and perimeter lighting to help protect these facilities. 

[3] Title 41 CFR Sections 102-74.435 and 102-74-440 identify and list 
items that are prohibited by law from being introduced into a federal 
facility except for law enforcement purposes and other limited 
circumstances. Those items are explosives, firearms, or other 
dangerous weapons. In addition, Facility Security Committees, which 
are composed of representatives of tenant agencies at federal 
facilities, have broad latitude in determining items in addition to 
those specifically prohibited by statute that can be prohibited in 
their facilities. 

[4] GAO, Homeland Security: Preliminary Results Show Federal 
Protective Service's Ability to Protect Federal Facilities Is Hampered 
by Weaknesses in Its Contract Security Guard Program, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-859T] (Washington, D.C.: July 8, 
2009). 

[5] In 2003, FPS transferred from GSA to DHS. FPS is responsible for 
providing physical security and law enforcement services to about 
9,000 federal facilities, which are under the control or custody of 
GSA. 

[6] As of October 2009, FPS had 125 guard contracts with 38 different 
contractors. We requested that FPS provide us with contract 
performance evaluations from January 2006 through June 2009. On the 
basis of FPS's requirement that a contract evaluation be completed 
annually, we estimated that we should have received 375 contract 
evaluations for the 125 contracts over that 3-year time period. 

[7] According to the Department of Justice's 1995 Vulnerability 
Assessment Guidelines, there are five security levels. A level I 
facility is typically a small storefront-type operation such as a 
military recruiting office with 10 or fewer employees and a low volume 
of public contact. A level II facility has from 11 to 150 employees; a 
level III facility has from 151 to 450 employees and a moderate to 
high volume of public contact; a level IV facility has over 450 
employees, a high volume of public contact, and includes high-risk law 
enforcement and intelligence agencies. FPS does not have 
responsibility for a level V facility such as the White House or the 
Central Intelligence Agency. 

[8] FPS acquires guard services using an indefinite delivery 
indefinite quantity contract or a blanket purchase agreement. An 
indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract provides for an 
indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of 
time, whereas a blanket purchase agreement is a simplified acquisition 
method that government agencies use to procure anticipated repetitive 
services or supplies from qualified sources of supply. 

[9] The Federal Acquisition Regulation also requires that agencies 
evaluate a contractor's performance for each contract that exceeds the 
simplified acquisition threshold at the time the work is completed and 
for agencies to provide interim evaluation for contracts, including 
options that exceed 1 year. FAR Subpart 42.15. 

[10] GAO, Homeland Security: The Federal Protective Service Faces 
Several Challenges That Hamper Its Ability to Protect Federal 
Facilities, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-683] 
(Washington, D.C.: June 11, 2008). 

[11] The Inspector General found that FPS does not always take 
deductions against a contractor for services that are not provided in 
accordance with contract requirements. Department of Homeland 
Security, Office of Inspector General, Federal Protective Service 
Contract Guard Procurement and Oversight Process, OIG-09-51 
(Washington, D.C.: April 6, 2009). 

[12] As part of DHS, FPS is required to use the Department of Defense 
Contractor Performance Assessment System (CPARS) to officially 
document its performance evaluations. CPARS requires the use of an 
adjectival rating scale by evaluators that includes ratings of 
"exceptional," "very good," "satisfactory," "marginal," and 
"unsatisfactory." 

[13] X-ray machines are hazardous because of the potential radiation 
exposure. In contrast, magnetometers do not emit radiation and are 
used to detect metal. 

[14] Tests that we performed at a national laboratory in July 2007 and 
in February 2006 clearly demonstrated that a terrorist using these 
devices could cause severe damage to a federal facility and threaten 
the safety of federal workers and the general public. Our 
investigators obtained the components for these devices at local 
stores and over the Internet for less than $150. 

[15] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-859T]. 

[16] Challenge and response refers to being more proactive instead of 
reactive to an incident. 

[17] GAO, Internal Control Management and Evaluation Tool, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-01-1008G] (Washington, D.C.: August 
2001). 

[18] GAO, Building Security: Security Responsibilities for Federal 
Owned and Leased Facilities, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-8] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 31, 
2002); Homeland Security: Transformation Strategy Needed to Address 
Challenges Facing the Federal Protective Service, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-537] (Washington, D.C.: July 14, 
2004); and [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-683]. See 
also Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, 
Federal Protective Service Needs to Improve its Oversight of the 
Contract Guard Program, OIG-07-05 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 30, 2006), 
and OIG-09-51. 

[End of section] 

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. 

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Each 
weekday, GAO posts newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence on its Web site. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly 
posted products every afternoon, go to [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] 
and select "E-mail Updates." 

Order by Phone: 

The price of each GAO publication reflects GAOs actual cost of
production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAOs Web site, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm]. 

Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
TDD (202) 512-2537. 

Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional 
information. 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm]: 
E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov: 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Ralph Dawn, Managing Director, dawnr@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: