WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) has introduced the Federal Protective Service Reform and Enhancement Act of 2010, H.R. 5053, to dramatically improve security in Federal facilities by reforming the agency charged with protecting federal employees and visitors. The Federal Protective Service is the lead government agency tasked with providing security at more than 9,000 facilities.

“Fifteen years ago our nation was shaken by the bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. Recent acts of violence at Federal facilities are a stark reminder that our nation’s Federal buildings remain vulnerable to attack,” Congressman Dent said. “Sadly, the Federal agency tasked with providing security at Federal buildings has been woefully understaffed and appears inept. That is why I have introduced legislation that provides better training and stronger oversight for the men and women who are the first line of defense in our nation’s Federal government buildings.”

In the past three years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a series of scathing reports identifying deficiencies and weaknesses in the Federal Protective Service’s ability to adequately protect Federal buildings. Recently the GAO conducted covert tests in which GAO investigators carrying components for an improvised explosive device passed undetected by guards at 10 out of 10 high-security facilities in four major cities.

“As Ranking Member on the Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee, I have seen firsthand the vulnerabilities our nation’s Federal facilities face on a daily basis. To address these issues, my legislation implements a number of recommendations called for by the Government Accountability Office that would enhance security and safety in Federal buildings.”

Key provisions of the legislation include:

• Enhancing standards for training and certification of contract guards;

• Improving Federal Protective Service oversight of the contract guard program;

• Nearly doubling the number of Federal Protective Service Inspectors to increase the frequency of security inspections;

• Increasing the frequency and quality of covert inspections and penetration tests; and

• Standardizing a list of items that would be prohibited from being brought into a Federal facility.

Additionally, the bill establishes a 3-year pilot program to be implemented in at least three of the highest-security Federal facilities to evaluate whether cost savings or security enhancements exist in having a federalized guard staff.

“These reforms will allow the Federal Protective Service to better meet its critical mission of protecting Americans who work in and visit our government’s facilities,” Congressman Dent said.