Following growing incidents – the IRS pilot suicide attack in Texas and the Pentagon Metro station shootings in Washington, D.C., to name a few – and the increased belief that individuals and fringe groups will target federal government buildings, a House subcommittee met Tuesday, Mar. 16, and heard criticism and concern from diverse sources. The poor performance of the Federal Protective Service has left some agencies confused about its role in securing federal buildings, according the Government Accountability Office, with a track record of finding fault with FPS. The security agency has only a limited ability to measure risks to federal buildings, has not figured out its optimal staffing level, and does not ensure the contract security guards it hires are qualified to work at federal facilities, said Mark L. Goldstein, director of physical infrastructure issues at the GAO.

Union officials told of increasing unease of FPS workers facing unanticipated violence also before the House Oversight and Government Reform Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee.

The government agency responsible for protecting more than 9,000 federal facilities said Tuesday it has taken several steps to address security gaps first exposed in a government audit last year.

According to coverage in the Washington Post: Poor job security and the potential dangers that come with protecting government buildings make it a risky line of work, said guards interviewed this week. Unlike officers with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency who gunned down a shooter John last week, most security guards at federal buildings in the Washington region are employed by private firms that have contracts with the Federal Protective Service. The FPS, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, provides security at more than 9,000 federal buildings across the country and uses about 15,000 contract security guards to support about 1,200 officers, inspectors and administrative staffers, according to agency officials.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman said he plans to propose changes to the FPS in April.

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