Homeland Security Subcommittee Passes Federal Protective Service Reform Bill

Jul 28, 2011 Issues: Counterterrorism

Washington, D.C. (Thursday, July 28, 2011)– Today, the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies passed, by voice vote, H.R. 2658, “The Federal Protective Service Reform and Enhancement Act.”

H.R. 2658 was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA).  The legislation, as amended, authorizes the functions and responsibilities of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  In addition, the bill includes several provisions to standardize training and improve contract guard oversight.

“The Federal Protective Service is a vital component of our nation’s homeland security,” Lungren said.  “Terrorists already have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to attack our government buildings.  The current state of FPS is unacceptable, and legislative action is necessary and warranted.  This bill will strengthen the security of our Federal buildings, reduce the risk to the hundreds of thousands of Federal employees and their visitors, and ensure that the vital day-to-day functions of our government are protected.”

H.R. 2658 was introduced after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified that over the past four years, GAO made 28 recommendations to FPS that have not been implemented.

Specifically, H.R. 2658 clarifies that FPS has the primary authority to secure and respond to incidents at government facilities to eliminate any ambiguity where multiple Federal agencies may be co-located. 

The legislation also improves the security of Federal buildings by requiring the FPS Director to conduct criminal background checks on all contract guards.  In addition, the Director is required to establish minimum requirements for contract guard training and certification standards, including at least 16 hours of x-ray and magnetometer training by FPS.  The bill allows FPS to covertly test guard competency and training and remove contractors who do not meet security performance standards.

Additionally, the bill standardizes training and deployment of guards and technology by requiring the FPS Director to publish and maintain a list of qualified vendors and products, as well as a list of dangerous items that should be prohibited from Federal buildings. In addition, the measure requires the Director to establish a toll-free hotline for individuals to anonymously report security violations or suspicious activity in Federal buildings.

H.R. 2658, as amended, will be sent to the Full Committee.  For more information on today’s markup, including roll call votes, visit the Committee on Homeland Security website.

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