Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced yesterday (Oct. 29) the transfer of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). She claimed the move aimed at “streamlining decision-making and aligning the protection of federal buildings with DHS’ broader critical infrastructure protection mission.”

Earlier this year, a covert operation by GAO managed to have operatives bring in bomb parts through security and into a number of federal buildings. At a September Congressional hearing, Mark Goldstein, director of Physical Infrastructure Government Accountability Office, testified, “In our June 2008 report we found that in protecting federal facilities, FPS does not use a risk management approach that links threats and vulnerabilities to resource requirements. We have stated that without a risk management approach that identifies threats and vulnerabilities and the resources required to achieve FPS's security goals, there is little assurance that programs will be prioritized and resources will be allocated to address existing and potential security threats in an efficient and effective manner.”

DHS has acted but will it be enough?

“Securing government facilities is a vital aspect of DHS’ critical infrastructure protection mission,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Transferring FPS to NPPD will enhance oversight and efficiency while maximizing the Department’s overall effectiveness in protecting federal buildings across the country.”

According to DHS, the realignment allows FPS to focus on its primary mission—securing General Services Administration (GSA)-owned and leased federal buildings by performing building security assessments and deploying appropriate countermeasures—while enabling ICE to focus on the smart and effective enforcement of immigration and customs laws.

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