Federal employees union skeptical of building security 'enhancements'

As the federal community nears the fifteenth anniversary of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced this week two enhancements intended to strengthen security at thousands of federal buildings.

First, a DHS-led organization, the Interagency Security Committee, released new standards establishing baseline physical security measures for all federal buildings and facilities to bolster protection against terrorist attacks and other threats based on ongoing risk assessments, according to a DHS release.

Second, DHS’ Federal Protective Service announced it had moved into a new round of deployment of the Risk Assessment and Management Program, or RAMP—a computer program designed to permit FPS Inspectors online access to information about security threats to more than 9,000 federal buildings and facilities managed by General Services Administration.

"Protecting our federal facilities against evolving threats requires setting and implementing robust, risk-based security standards,” Napolitano said. The standards draw on more than a decade of collaboration and research by experts across the federal government to establish adaptable security measures that will better secure our federal infrastructure, she added. 

David Wright, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 918, which represents FPS employees, said his immediate impression of the announcement is "that the biggest problem we still have with security today is that there’s no pool of money to pay for needed improvements, and that’s been one of FPS’s dilemmas for many years.”

There are already good standards and procedures in place, he said. “That’s not the problem in my eyes. The problem is that there is just not adequate funding available to make many needed improvements.”

For more, go to www.dhs.gov/isc and www.afge.com.

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Federal Daily, an 1105 Government Information Group site, features news and resources for federal and postal employees.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Apr 23, 2010

" . . . risk-based security standards . . ." Huh? So we get increased security by exposing ourselves to danger? What does it mean!? And who makes up these phrases?

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

They should be skeptical. It is a little better than airport perimeter control, but not by much, and still falls largely in the category of 'security theatre'. It keeps out kids and winos, but not much else. And that is just the human-entry controls. In an urban setting, especially with an older building (like most smaller federal buildings are), establishing and maintaining a meaningful physical perimeter against direct attack is usually not possible. That would require a new building on the edge of town with a buffer zone around it. Since they politically cannout pull entry-level jobs out of the older parts of town where federal buildings usually are, even if they had unlimited funds for new buildings, it would still probably not happen.

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Am I missing something? What is the threat?

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