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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the 
Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 2:00 p.m. EDT: 

Thursday, June 19, 2008: 

Homeland Security: 

The Federal Protective Service Faces Several Challenges That Raise 
Concerns About Protection of Federal Facilities: 

Statement of Mark L. Goldstein, Director Physical Infrastructure 
Issues: 

GAO-08-897T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-897T, a testimony to the Chair and Ranking Member, 
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal 
Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is responsible for providing 
physical security and law enforcement services to about 9,000 General 
Services Administration (GSA) facilities. To accomplish its mission of 
protecting GSA facilities, FPS currently has an annual budget of about 
$1 billion, about 1,100 employees, and 15,000 contract guards located 
throughout the country. 

GAO was asked to provide information and analysis on challenges FPS 
faces including ensuring that it has sufficient staffing and funding 
resources to protect GSA facilities and the over one million federal 
employees as well as members of the public that work in and visit them 
each year. GAO discusses (1) FPSs operational challenges and actions 
it has taken to address them, (2) funding challenges, and (3) how FPS 
measures the effectiveness of its efforts to protect GSA facilities. 
This testimony is based on our recently issued report (GAO-08-683) to 
this Subcommittee. 

What GAO Found: 

FPS faces several operational challenges that hamper its ability to 
accomplish its mission and the actions it has taken may not fully 
resolve these challenges. FPSs staff has decreased by about 20 percent 
from fiscal years 2004 through 2007. FPS has also decreased or 
eliminated law enforcement services such as proactive patrol in many 
FPS locations. Moreover, FPS has not resolved longstanding challenges, 
such as improving the oversight of its contract guard program, 
maintaining security countermeasures, and ensuring the quality and 
timeliness of building security assessments (BSA). For example, one 
regional supervisor stated that while reviewing a BSA for an address he 
personally visited he realized that the inspector completing the BSA 
had falsified the information because the inspector referred to a large 
building when the actual site was a vacant plot of land owned by GSA. 
To address some of these operational challenges, FPS is currently 
changing to an inspector based workforce, which seeks to eliminate the 
police officer position and rely primarily on FPS inspectors for both 
law enforcement and physical security activities. FPS is also hiring an 
additional 150 inspectors. However, these actions may not fully resolve 
the challenges FPS faces, in part because the approach does not 
emphasize law enforcement responsibilities. 

Until recently, the security fees FPS charged to agencies have not been 
sufficient to cover its costs and the actions it has taken to address 
the shortfalls have had adverse implications. For example, the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transferred emergency 
supplemental funding to FPS. FPS restricted hiring and limited training 
and overtime. According to FPS officials, these measures have had a 
negative effect on staff morale and are partially responsible for FPSs 
high attrition rates. FPS was authorized to increase the basic security 
fee four times since it transferred to DHS in 2003, currently charging 
tenant agencies 62 cents per square foot for basic security services. 
Because of these actions, FPSs collections in fiscal year 2007 were 
sufficient to cover costs, and FPS projects that collections will also 
cover costs in fiscal year 2008. However, FPSs primary means of 
funding its operationsthe basic security feedoes not account for the 
risk faced by buildings, the level of service provided, or the cost of 
providing services, raising questions about equity. Stakeholders 
expressed concern about whether FPS has an accurate understanding of 
its security costs. 

FPS has developed output measures, but lacks outcome measures to assess 
the effectiveness of its efforts to protect federal facilities. Its 
output measures include determining whether security countermeasures 
have been deployed and are fully operational. However, FPS does not 
have measures to evaluate its efforts to protect federal facilities 
that could provide FPS with broader information on program outcomes and 
results. FPS also lacks a reliable data management system for 
accurately tracking performance measures. Without such a system, it is 
difficult for FPS to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of its 
efforts, allocate its limited resources, or make informed risk 
management decisions. 

What GAO Recommends: 

In our recently issued report, GAO recommended, among other things, 
that the Secretary of DHS direct the Director of FPS to develop and 
implement a strategic approach to better manage its staffing resources, 
evaluate current and alternative funding mechanisms, and develop 
appropriate performance measures. DHS agreed with the recommendations. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-897T]. For more information, 
contact Mark Goldstein at (202) 512-2834 or goldsteinm@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

June 19, 2008: 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We are pleased to be here to discuss the efforts of the Federal 
Protective Service (FPS) in protecting federal employees, the public, 
and General Services Administration (GSA) facilities. As you know, in 
2003, FPS transferred from GSA to the Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS) and is responsible for providing physical security and law 
enforcement services to about 9,000 GSA facilities.[Footnote 1] Within 
DHS, FPS is part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 
component, the largest investigative arm of DHS. FPS is funded by the 
security fees it collects from the agencies it protects and does not 
receive a separate appropriation. To accomplish its mission of 
protecting GSA facilities, FPS currently has an annual budget of about 
$1 billion, about 1,100 employees, and 15,000 contract guards located 
throughout the country. While there has not been a large-scale attack 
on a domestic federal facility since the terrorist attacks of September 
11, 2001 and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building 
in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, ongoing terror threats and crime require 
that FPS effectively manage its resources to protect the over one 
million employees as well as members of the public that work in and 
visit GSA facilities each year. 

Recently, FPS has faced several challenges. Chief among them is 
ensuring that it has sufficient staffing and funding resources to 
accomplish its mission of protecting GSA facilities. It has also faced 
challenges in assessing the physical security of the facilities it 
protects and overseeing its contract guard program. To help address 
these challenges, in 2007, FPS adopted a new approach to protect GSA 
facilities. Under this approach, FPS plans to essentially eliminate its 
police officer position and mainly use inspectors and special agents to 
perform multiple law enforcement and physical security duties 
concurrently and will place more emphasis on physical security 
activities, such as completing building security assessments (BSA), and 
less emphasis on law enforcement activities, such as proactive patrol. 
In addition, while FPS plans to maintain a level of 15,000 contract 
guards, the majority of the guards are stationed at fixed posts, from 
which they are not permitted to leave, and do not have arrest 
authorities. These challenges have raised questions about FPS's ability 
to accomplish its facility protection mission. 

This testimony provides information and analysis on (1) FPS's 
operational challenges and actions it has taken to address them, (2) 
funding challenges FPS faces and actions it has taken to address them, 
and (3) how FPS measures the effectiveness of its efforts to protect 
GSA facilities. The testimony is based on our recently published 
report: GAO, Homeland Security: Federal Protective Service Faces 
Several Challenges That Hamper Its Ability to Protect Federal 
Facilities.[Footnote 2] 

Due to the sensitivity of some of the information in this report we 
cannot provide information about the specific locations of crime or 
other incidents discussed. We conducted this performance audit from 
April 2007 to June 2008 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and 
perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide 
a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit 
objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Summary: 

FPS continues to face several operational challenges that have hampered 
its ability to accomplish its mission to protect GSA facilities and the 
actions it has taken may not fully resolve these challenges. Since the 
transfer, while FPS has maintained 15,000 contract guards, its staff 
has decreased by about 20 percent from almost 1,400 employees at the 
end of fiscal year 2004 to about 1,100 employees at the end of fiscal 
year 2007. This decrease in staff has contributed to diminished 
security and increased the risk of crime or terrorist attacks at many 
GSA facilities. For example, FPS has decreased or eliminated law 
enforcement services such as proactive patrol in each of its 11 
regions. In addition, FPS officials at several regions we visited said 
that proactive patrol has, in the past, allowed its officers and 
inspectors to identify and apprehend individuals that were surveilling 
GSA facilities. In contrast, when FPS is not able to patrol federal 
buildings, there is increased potential for illegal entry and other 
criminal activity at federal buildings. Moreover, FPS has not resolved 
longstanding challenges, such as improving the oversight of its 
contract guard program.[Footnote 3] In addition, FPS faces difficulties 
in ensuring the quality and timeliness of BSAs, which are a core 
component of FPS's physical security mission. For example, one regional 
supervisor stated that while reviewing a BSA for an address he 
personally visited he realized that the inspector completing the BSA 
had falsified the information because the inspector referred to a large 
building when the actual site was a vacant plot of land owned by GSA. 
FPS has also experienced problems ensuring that security 
countermeasures, such as security cameras and magnetometers, are 
operational. To address some of these operational challenges, FPS is 
currently changing to an inspector based workforce, which seeks to 
eliminate the police officer position and rely primarily on FPS 
inspectors for both law enforcement and physical security activities. 
FPS believes that this change will ensure that its staff has the right 
mix of technical skills and training needed to accomplish its mission. 
FPS is also hiring an additional 150 inspectors and developing a new 
system for BSAs. However, these actions may not fully resolve the 
operational challenges FPS faces, in part because the approach does not 
emphasize law enforcement responsibilities. 

Until recently, the security fees FPS charged to tenant agencies have 
not been sufficient to cover its costs and the actions it has taken to 
address the shortfalls have had adverse implications. Since 
transferring to DHS, DHS and FPS have addressed these projected 
shortfalls in a variety of ways. For example, DHS transferred emergency 
supplemental funding to FPS and FPS restricted hiring and travel, 
limited training and overtime, and suspended employee performance 
awards. According to FPS officials, these measures have had a negative 
effect on staff morale and are partially responsible for FPS's overall 
attrition rate increasing from about 2 percent in fiscal year 2004 to 
about 14 percent in fiscal year 2007. FPS also increased the basic 
security fee charged to tenant agencies from 35 cents per square foot 
in fiscal year 2005 to 62 cents per square foot in fiscal year 2008. 
Because of these actions, fiscal year 2007 was the first year FPS 
collections were sufficient to cover its costs. FPS also projects that 
collections will cover its costs in fiscal year 2008. However, FPS's 
primary means of funding its operations is the basic security fee, 
which is the same for federal agencies regardless of the perceived 
threat to a particular building or agency. Therefore, the fee does not 
account for the risk faced by particular buildings and, depending on 
that risk, it does not account for the level of service provided to 
tenant agencies or the cost of providing those services. For example, 
level I facilities may face less risk because they are typically small 
storefront-type operations with a low level of public contact. However, 
these facilities are charged the same basic security fee of 62 cents 
per square foot as a level IV facility that has a high volume of public 
contact, may contain high-risk law enforcement and intelligence 
agencies and highly sensitive government records. In addition, a 2007 
Booz Allen Hamilton report of FPS's operational costs found that FPS 
does not link the actual cost of providing basic security services with 
the security fees it charges tenant agencies. The report recommends 
incorporating a security fee that takes into account the complexity or 
the level of effort of the service being performed for the higher level 
security facilities. 

FPS is limited in its ability to assess the effectiveness of its 
efforts to protect GSA facilities. To determine how well it is 
accomplishing its mission to protect GSA facilities, FPS has identified 
some output measures such as determining whether security 
countermeasures, such as bollards and cameras, have been deployed and 
are fully operational; the amount of time it takes to respond to an 
incident; and the percentage of BSAs completed on time. Output measures 
assess activities, not the results of those activities. However, FPS 
has not developed outcome measures to evaluate the results and the net 
effect of its efforts to protect GSA facilities. Outcome measures are 
important because they can provide FPS with broader information on 
program results, such as the extent to which its decision to move to an 
inspector-based workforce will enhance security at GSA facilities. In 
addition, FPS does not have a reliable data management system that 
would allow it to accurately track these measures or other important 
measures such as the number of crimes and other incidents occurring at 
GSA facilities. Without such a system, it is difficult for FPS to 
evaluate and improve the effectiveness of its efforts to protect 
federal employees and facilities, allocate its limited resources, or 
make informed risk management decisions. According to FPS officials, 
the agency is in the process of developing a system that will allow it 
to improve its data collection and analysis of its performance. In our 
report that we issued last week to this Subcommittee and other 
congressional committees, we recommended, among other things, that the 
Secretary of DHS direct the Director of FPS to develop and implement a 
strategic approach to better manage its staffing resources, evaluate 
current and alternative funding mechanisms, and develop appropriate 
measures to assess performance. DHS agreed with these recommendations. 

Background: 

As the primary federal agency that is responsible for protecting and 
securing GSA facilities and federal employees across the country, FPS 
has the authority to enforce federal laws and regulations aimed at 
protecting federally owned and leased properties and the persons on 
such property, and, among other things, to conduct investigations 
related to offenses against the property and persons on the property. 
To protect the over one million federal employees and about 9,000 GSA 
facilities from the risk of terrorist and criminal attacks, in fiscal 
year 2007, FPS had about 1,100 employees, of which 541, or almost 50 
percent, were inspectors. FPS inspectors are primarily responsible for 
responding to incidents and demonstrations, overseeing contract guards, 
completing BSAs for numerous buildings, and participating in tenant 
agencies' BSC meetings. [Footnote 4] About 215, or 19 percent, of FPS's 
employees are police officers who are primarily responsible for 
patrolling GSA facilities, responding to criminal incidents, assisting 
in the monitoring of contract guards, responding to demonstrations at 
GSA facilities, and conducting basic criminal investigations. About 
104, or 9 percent, of FPS's 1,100 employees are special agents who are 
the lead entity within FPS for gathering intelligence for criminal and 
anti-terrorist activities, and planning and conducting investigations 
relating to alleged or suspected violations of criminal laws against 
GSA facilities and their occupants. 

FPS also has about 15,000 contract guards that are used primarily to 
monitor facilities through fixed post assignments and access control. 
According to FPS policy documents, contract guards may detain 
individuals who are being seriously disruptive, violent, or suspected 
of committing a crime at a GSA facility, but do not have arrest 
authority. 

The level of law enforcement and physical protection services FPS 
provides at each of the approximately 9,000 GSA facilities varies 
depending on the facility's security level. To determine a facility's 
security level, FPS uses the Department of Justice's (DOJ) 
Vulnerability Assessment Guidelines which are summarized below. 

* A level I facility has 10 or fewer federal employees, 2,500 or fewer 
square feet of office space and a low volume of public contact or 
contact with only a small segment of the population. A typical level I 
facility is a small storefront-type operation, such as a military 
recruiting office. 

* A level II facility has between 11 and 150 federal employees, more 
than 2,500 to 80,000 square feet; a moderate volume of public contact; 
and federal activities that are routine in nature, similar to 
commercial activities. 

* A level III facility has between 151 and 450 federal employees, more 
than 80,000 to 150,000 square feet and a moderate to high volume of 
public contact. 

* A level IV facility has over 450 federal employees, more than 150,000 
square feet; a high volume of public contact; and tenant agencies that 
may include high-risk law enforcement and intelligence agencies, 
courts, judicial offices, and highly sensitive government records. 

* A Level V facility is similar to a Level IV facility in terms of the 
number of employees and square footage, but contains mission functions 
critical to national security. FPS does not have responsibility for 
protecting any level V buildings. 

FPS is a reimbursable organization and is funded by collecting security 
fees from tenant agencies, referred to as a fee-based system. To fund 
its operations, FPS charges each tenant agency a basic security fee per 
square foot of space occupied in a GSA facility. In 2008, the basic 
security fee is 62 cents per square foot and covers services such as 
patrol, monitoring of building perimeter alarms and dispatching of law 
enforcement response through its control centers, criminal 
investigations, and BSAs. FPS also collects an administrative fee it 
charges tenant agencies for building specific security services such as 
access control to facilities' entrances and exits, employee and visitor 
checks; and the purchase, installation, and maintenance of security 
equipment including cameras, alarms, magnetometers, and x-ray machines. 
In addition to these security services, FPS provides agencies with 
additional services upon request, which are funded through reimbursable 
Security Work Authorizations (SWA), for which FPS charges an 
administrative fee. For example, agencies may request additional 
magnetometers or more advanced perimeter surveillance capabilities. 

FPS's Ability to Accomplish Its Mission Is Hampered by Operational 
Challenges and the Steps It Has Taken May Not Fully Resolve Them: 

FPS faces several operational challenges, including decreasing staff 
levels, which has led to reductions in the law enforcement services 
that FPS provides. FPS also faces challenges in overseeing its contract 
guards, completing its BSAs in a timely manner, and maintaining 
security countermeasures. While FPS has taken steps to address these 
challenges, it has not fully resolved them. 

FPS's Staff Has Steadily Declined Since It Transferred to DHS: 

Providing law enforcement and physical security services to GSA 
facilities is inherently labor intensive and requires effective 
management of available staffing resources. However, since transferring 
from GSA to DHS, FPS's staff has declined and the agency has managed 
its staffing resources in a manner that has reduced security at GSA 
facilities and may increase the risk of crime or terrorist attacks at 
many GSA facilities. Specifically, FPS's staff has decreased by about 
20 percent from almost 1,400 employees at the end of fiscal year 2004, 
to about 1,100 employees at the end of fiscal year 2007, as shown in 
figure 1. In fiscal year 2008, FPS initially planned to reduce its 
staff further. However, a provision in the 2008 Consolidated 
Appropriations Act requires FPS to increase its staff to 1,200 by July 
31, 2008.[Footnote 5] In fiscal year 2010, FPS plans to increase its 
staff to 1,450, according to its Director. 

Figure 1: FPS's Workforce, Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007: 

This figure is a line graph showing FPS's workforce, fiscal years 2004 
through 2007. The X axis represents the fiscal year, and the Y axis 
represents the number of staff. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Number of staff: 1384. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Number of staff: 1345. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Number of staff: 1279. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Number of staff: 1109. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: Federal Protective Service. 

[End of figure] 

From fiscal year 2004 to 2007, the number of employees in each position 
also decreased, with the largest decrease occurring in the police 
officer position. For example, the number of police officers decreased 
from 359 in fiscal year 2004 to 215 in fiscal year 2007 and the number 
of inspectors decreased from 600 in fiscal year 2004 to 541 at the end 
of fiscal year 2007, as shown in figure 2. 

Figure 2: Composition of FPS's Workforce by Position, Fiscal Years 2004 
through 2007: 

This figure is a combination line graph showing composition of FPS's 
workforce by position, fiscal years 2004 through 2007. The X axis 
represents the fiscal year, and the Y axis represents the number of 
staff. The lines represent: inspectors, police officers, agents, and 
all other. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Police Officers: 359; 
Inspectors: 600; 
Agents:	134; 
All other: 291. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Police Officers: 328; 
Inspectors: 612; 
Agents:	139; 
All other: 266.

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Police Officers: 301; 
Inspectors: 585; 
Agents:	131; 
All other: 262. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Police Officers: 215; 
Inspectors: 541; 
Agents:	104; 
All other: 249. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: The Federal Protective Service. 

Note: "Inspectors" include an unknown number of physical security 
specialists, who do not have law enforcement authority. The category 
"All other" includes administrative and support staff. 

[End of figure] 

Critical Law Enforcement Services Have Been Reduced or Eliminated: 

At many facilities, FPS has eliminated proactive patrol of GSA 
facilities to prevent or detect criminal violations. The FPS Policy 
Handbook states that patrol should be used to prevent crime and 
terrorist attacks. The elimination of proactive patrol has a negative 
effect on security at GSA facilities because law enforcement personnel 
cannot effectively monitor individuals who might be surveilling federal 
buildings, inspect suspicious vehicles (including potential vehicles 
for bombing federal buildings), and detect and deter criminal activity 
in and around federal buildings. While the number of contract guards 
employed in GSA facilities will not decrease and according to a FPS 
policy document, the guards are authorized to detain individuals, most 
are stationed at fixed posts from which they are not permitted to leave 
and do not have arrest authority. According to some regional officials, 
some contract guards do not exercise their detention authority because 
of liability concerns. 

According to several inspectors and police officers in one FPS region, 
proactive patrol is important in their region because, in the span of 
one year, there were 72 homicides within 3 blocks of a major federal 
office building and because most of the crime in their area takes place 
after hours when there are no FPS personnel on duty. In addition, FPS 
officials at several regions we visited said that proactive patrol has, 
in the past, allowed its police officers and inspectors to identify and 
apprehend individuals that were surveilling GSA facilities. In 
contrast, when FPS is not able to patrol federal buildings, there is 
increased potential for illegal entry and other criminal activity at 
federal buildings. For example, in one city we visited, a deceased 
individual had been found in a vacant GSA facility that was not 
regularly patrolled by FPS. FPS officials stated that the deceased 
individual had been inside the building for approximately three months. 

In addition, more recently, at this same facility, two individuals who 
fled into the facility after being pursued by the local police 
department for an armed robbery were subsequently apprehended and 
arrested by the local police department. While the local police 
department contacted FPS for assistance with responding to the incident 
at the federal facility, FPS inspectors were advised by senior FPS 
supervisors not to assist the local police department in their search 
for the suspects because GSA had not paid the security fee for the 
facility. 

In addition to eliminating proactive patrol, many FPS regions have 
reduced their hours of operation for providing law enforcement services 
in multiple locations, which has resulted in a lack of coverage when 
most federal employees are either entering or leaving federal buildings 
or on weekends when some facilities remain open to the public. 
Moreover, FPS police officers and inspectors in two cities explained 
that this lack of coverage has left some federal day care facilities 
vulnerable to loitering by homeless individuals and drug users. The 
decrease in FPS's duty hours has also jeopardized police officer and 
inspector safety, as well as building security. Some FPS police 
officers and inspectors said that they are frequently in dangerous 
situations without any FPS backup because many FPS regions have reduced 
their hours of operation and overtime. 

Adequate Oversight of Contract Guard Program Remains a Challenge: 

Contract guard inspections are important for several reasons, including 
ensuring that guards comply with contract requirements; have up-to-date 
certifications for required training, including firearms or 
cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and that they perform assigned duties. 
While FPS policy does not specify how frequently guard posts should be 
inspected, we found that some posts are inspected less than once per 
year, in part, because contract guards are often posted in buildings 
hours or days away from the nearest FPS inspector. For example, one 
area supervisor reported guard posts that had not been inspected in 18 
months while another reported posts that had not been inspected in over 
one year. In another region, FPS inspectors and police officers 
reported that managers told them to complete guard inspections over the 
telephone, instead of in person. In addition, when inspectors do 
perform guard inspections they do not visit the post during each shift; 
consequently some guard shifts may never be inspected by an FPS 
official. As a result, some guards may be supervised exclusively by a 
representative of the contract guard company. Moreover, in one area we 
visited with a large FPS presence, officials reported difficulty in 
getting to every post within that region's required one month period. 
We obtained a copy of a contract guard inspection schedule in one 
metropolitan city that showed 20 of 68 post inspections were completed 
for the month. 

Some tenant agencies have also noticed a decline in the level of guard 
oversight in recent years and believe this has led to poor performance 
on the part of some contract guards. For example, according to Federal 
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and GSA officials in one of the regions 
we visited, contract guards failed to report the theft of an FBI 
surveillance trailer worth over $500,000, even though security cameras 
captured the trailer being stolen while guards were on duty. The FBI 
did not realize it was missing until three days later. Only after the 
FBI started making inquiries did the guards report the theft to FPS and 
the FBI. During another incident, FPS officials reported contract 
guards--who were armed--taking no action as a shirtless suspect wearing 
handcuffs on one arm ran through the lobby of a major federal building 
while being chased by an FPS inspector. In addition, one official 
reported that during an off-hours alarm call to a federal building, the 
official arrived to find the front guard post empty while the guard's 
loaded firearm was left unattended in the unlocked post. 

We also personally witnessed an incident in which an individual 
attempted to enter a level IV facility with illegal weapons. According 
to FPS policies, contract guards are required to confiscate illegal 
weapons, detain and question the individual, and to notify FPS. In this 
instance, the weapons were not confiscated, the individual was not 
detained or questioned, FPS was not notified, and the individual was 
allowed to leave with the weapons. We will shortly begin a 
comprehensive review of FPS's contract guard program for this 
Subcommittee and other congressional committees. 

Difficulties in Ensuring Quality and Timeliness of Building Security 
Assessments: 

Building security assessments, which are completed by both inspectors 
and physical security specialists, are the core component of FPS's 
physical security mission. However, ensuring the quality and timeliness 
of them is an area in which FPS continues to face challenges. The 
majority of inspectors in the seven regions we visited stated that they 
are not provided sufficient time to complete BSAs. For example, while 
FPS officials have stated that BSAs for level IV facilities should take 
between two to four weeks to complete, several inspectors reported 
having only one or two days to complete assessments for their 
buildings. They reported that this was due to pressure from supervisors 
to complete BSAs as quickly as possible. For example, one region is 
attempting to complete more than 100 BSAs by June 30, 2008, three 
months earlier than required, because staff will be needed to assist 
with a large political event in the region. In addition, one inspector 
in this region reported having one day to complete site work for six 
BSAs in a rural state in the region. 

Some regional supervisors have also found problems with the accuracy of 
BSAs. One regional supervisor reported that an inspector was repeatedly 
counseled and required to redo BSAs when supervisors found he was 
copying and pasting from previous BSAs. Similarly, one regional 
supervisor stated that, in the course of reviewing a BSA for an address 
he had personally visited, he realized that the inspector completing 
the BSA falsified information and had not actually visited the site 
because the inspector referred to a large building when the actual site 
was a vacant plot of land owned by GSA. In December 2007, the Director 
of FPS issued a memorandum emphasizing the importance of conducting 
BSAs in an ethical manner. 

FPS's ability to ensure the quality and timeliness of BSAs is also 
complicated by challenges with the current risk assessment tool it uses 
to conduct BSAs, the Federal Security Risk Manager system. We have 
previously reported that there are three primary concerns with this 
system. First, it does not allow FPS to compare risks from building to 
building so that security improvements to buildings can be prioritized. 
Second, current risk assessments need to be categorized more precisely. 
According to FPS, too many BSAs are categorized as high or low, which 
does not allow for a refined prioritization of security improvements. 
Third, the system does not allow for tracking the implementation status 
of security recommendations based on assessments.[Footnote 6] 

Some Security Countermeasures Have Not Been Maintained: 

According to FPS, GSA, and tenant agency officials in the regions we 
visited, some of the security countermeasures, such as security 
cameras, magnetometers, and X-ray machines at some facilities, as well 
as some FPS radios and BSA equipment, have been broken for months or 
years and are poorly maintained. At one level IV facility, FPS and GSA 
officials stated that 11 of 150 security cameras were fully functional 
and able to record images. Similarly, at another level IV facility, a 
large camera project designed to expand and enhance an existing camera 
system was put on hold because FPS did not have the funds to complete 
the project. FPS officials stated that broken cameras and other 
security equipment can negate the deterrent effect of these 
countermeasures as well as eliminate their usefulness as an 
investigative tool. For example, according to FPS, it has investigated 
significant crimes at multiple level IV facilities, but some of the 
security cameras installed in those buildings were not working 
properly, preventing FPS investigators from identifying the suspects. 

Complicating this issue, FPS officials, GSA officials, and tenant 
representatives stated that additional countermeasures are difficult to 
implement because they require approval from BSCs, which are composed 
of representatives from each tenant agency who generally are not 
security professionals. In some of the buildings that we visited, 
security countermeasures were not implemented because BSC members 
cannot agree on what countermeasures to implement or are unable to 
obtain funding from their agencies. For example, a FPS official in a 
major metropolitan city stated that over the last 4 years inspectors 
have recommended 24-hour contract guard coverage at one high-risk 
building located in a high crime area multiple times, however, the BSC 
is not able to obtain approval from all its members. In addition, 
several FPS inspectors stated that their regional managers have 
instructed them not to recommend security countermeasures in BSAs if 
FPS would be responsible for funding the measures because there is not 
sufficient money in regional budgets to purchase and maintain the 
security equipment. 

FPS Has Taken Some Actions To Resolve Operational Challenges But Its 
Actions May Not Fully Resolve These Challenges: 

According to FPS, it has a number of ongoing efforts that are designed 
to address some of its longstanding challenges. For example, in 2007, 
FPS decided to adopt an inspector-based workforce approach to protect 
GSA facilities. Under this approach, the composition of FPS's workforce 
will change from a combination of inspectors and police officers to 
mainly inspectors. The inspectors will be required to complete law 
enforcement activities such as patrolling and responding to incidents 
at GSA facilities concurrently with their physical security activities. 
FPS will also place more emphasis on physical security, such as BSAs, 
and less emphasis on the law enforcement part of its mission; contract 
guards will continue to be the front-line defense for protection at GSA 
facilities; and there will be a continued reliance on local law 
enforcement. According to FPS, an inspector-based workforce will help 
it to achieve its strategic goals such as ensuring that its staff has 
the right mix of technical skills and training needed to accomplish its 
mission and building effective relationships with its stakeholders. 

However, the inspector-based workforce approach presents some 
additional challenges for FPS. For example, the approach does not 
emphasize law enforcement responsibilities, such as proactive patrol. 
Reports issued by multiple government entities acknowledge the 
importance of proactive patrol in detecting and deterring terrorist 
surveillance teams, which use information such as the placement of 
armed guards and proximity to law enforcement agency stations when 
choosing targets and planning attacks. Active law enforcement patrols 
in and around federal facilities can potentially disrupt these 
sophisticated surveillance and research techniques. In addition, having 
inspectors perform both law enforcement and physical security duties 
simultaneously may prevent some inspectors from responding to criminal 
incidents in a timely manner and patrolling federal buildings. 

FPS stated that entering into memorandums of agreement with local law 
enforcement agencies was an integral part of the inspector-based 
workforce approach because it would ensure law enforcement response 
capabilities at facilities when needed. According to FPS's Director, 
the agency recently decided not to pursue memorandums of agreement with 
local law enforcement agencies, in part, because of reluctance on the 
part of local law enforcement officials to sign such memorandums. In 
addition, FPS believes that the agreements are not necessary because 96 
percent of the properties in its inventory are listed as concurrent 
jurisdiction facilities where both federal and state governments have 
jurisdiction over the property. Nevertheless, the agreements would 
clarify roles and responsibilities of local law enforcement agencies 
when responding to crime or other incidents. 

However, FPS also provides facility protection to approximately 400 
properties where the federal government maintains exclusive federal 
jurisdiction. Under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the federal 
government has all of the legislative authority within the land area in 
question and the state has no residual police powers. Furthermore, 
state and local law enforcement officials are not authorized to enforce 
state and local laws or federal laws and regulations at exclusive 
federal jurisdiction facilities. According to ICE's legal counsel, if 
the Secretary of Homeland Security utilized the facilities and services 
of state and local law enforcement agencies, state and local law 
enforcement officials would only be able to assist FPS in functions 
such as crowd and traffic control, monitoring law enforcement 
communications and dispatch, and training. Memorandums of agreement 
between FPS and local law enforcement agencies would help address the 
jurisdictional issues that prevent local law enforcement agencies from 
providing assistance at facilities with exclusive federal jurisdiction. 

As an alternative to memorandums of agreement, according to FPS's 
Director, the agency will rely on the informal relationships that exist 
between local law enforcement agencies and FPS. However, whether this 
type of relationship will provide FPS with the type of assistance it 
will need under the inspector-based workforce is unknown. Officials 
from five of the eight local law enforcement agencies we interviewed 
stated that their agency did not have the capacity to take on the 
additional job of responding to incidents at federal buildings and 
stated that their departments were already strained for resources. FPS 
and local law enforcement officials in the regions we visited also 
stated that jurisdictional authority would pose a significant barrier 
to gaining the assistance of local law enforcement agencies. 
Representatives of local law enforcement agencies also expressed 
concerns about being prohibited from entering GSA facilities with 
service weapons, especially courthouses.[Footnote 7] Similarly, local 
law enforcement officials in a major city stated that they cannot make 
an arrest or initiate a complaint on federal property, so they have to 
wait until a FPS officer or inspector arrives. 

Another effort FPS has begun is to address its operational challenges 
by recruiting an additional 150 inspectors to reach the mandated 
staffing levels in the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations 
Act.[Footnote 8] According to the Director of FPS, the addition of 150 
inspectors to its current workforce will allow FPS to resume providing 
proactive patrol and 24-hour presence based on risk and threat levels 
at some facilities. However, these additional 150 inspectors will be 
assigned to eight of FPS's 11 regions and thus will not have an impact 
on the three regions that will not receive them. In addition, while 
this increase will help FPS to achieve its mission, this staffing level 
is still below the 1,279 employees that FPS had at the end of fiscal 
year 2006 when, according to FPS officials, tenant agencies experienced 
a decrease in service. 

FPS's Risk Management Division is also in the process of developing a 
new tool referred to as the Risk Assessment Management Program (RAMP) 
to replace its current system (FSRM) for completing BSAs.[Footnote 9] 
According to FPS, a pilot version of RAMP is expected to be rolled out 
in fiscal year 2009. The RAMP will be accessible to inspectors via a 
secure wireless connection anywhere in the United States and will guide 
them through the process of completing a BSA to ensure that 
standardized information is collected on all GSA facilities. According 
to FPS, once implemented, RAMP will allow inspectors to obtain 
information from one source, generate reports automatically, enable the 
agency to track selected countermeasures throughout their lifecycle, 
address some issues with the subjectivity of BSAs, and reduce the 
amount of time spent on administrative work by inspectors and managers. 

FPS's Actions to Address Budgetary Challenges Have Had Adverse 
Implications: 

FPS funds its operations through the collection of security fees 
charged to tenant agencies for security services. However, until 
recently these fees have not been sufficient to cover its projected 
operational costs. FPS has addressed this gap in a variety of ways. 
When FPS was located in GSA it received additional funding from the 
Federal Buildings Fund to cover the gap between collections and 
costs.[Footnote 10] Since transferring to DHS, to make up for the 
projected shortfalls to ensure that security at GSA facilities would 
not be jeopardized, and to avoid a potential Anti-deficiency Act 
violation in fiscal year 2005, FPS instituted a number of cost saving 
measures that included restricted hiring and travel, limited training 
and overtime, and no employee performance awards. In addition, in 
fiscal year 2006, DHS had to transfer $29 million in emergency 
supplemental funding to FPS. FPS also increased the basic security fee 
charged to tenant agencies from 35 cents per square foot in fiscal year 
2005 to 62 cents per square foot in fiscal year 2008. Because of these 
actions, fiscal year 2007 was the first year FPS's collections were 
sufficient to cover its costs. FPS also projects that collections will 
cover its costs in fiscal year 2008. In fiscal year 2009, FPS's basic 
security fee will increase to 66 cents per square foot, which 
represents the fourth time FPS has increased the basic security fee 
since transferring to DHS. 

However, according to FPS, its cost savings measures have had adverse 
implications, including low morale among staff, increased attrition and 
the loss of institutional knowledge, as well as difficulties in 
recruiting new staff. In addition, several FPS police officers and 
inspectors said that overwhelming workloads, uncertainty surrounding 
their job security, and a lack of equipment have diminished morale 
within the agency. These working conditions could potentially impact 
the performance and safety of FPS personnel. FPS officials said the 
agency has lost many of their most experienced law enforcement staff in 
recent years and several police officers and inspectors said they were 
actively looking for new jobs outside FPS. For example, FPS reports 
that 73 inspectors, police officers, and physical security specialists 
left the agency in fiscal year 2006, representing about 65 percent of 
the total attrition in the agency for that year. Attrition rates have 
steadily increased from fiscal years 2004 through 2007, as shown in 
figure 3. For example, FPS's overall attrition rate increased from 
about 2 percent in fiscal year 2004 to about 14 percent in fiscal year 
2007. The attrition rate for the inspector position has increased, 
despite FPS's plan to move to an inspector-based workforce. FPS 
officials said its cost saving measures have helped the agency address 
projected revenue shortfalls. The measures have been eliminated in 
fiscal year 2008. In addition, according to FPS, these measures will 
not be necessary in fiscal year 2009 because the basic security fee was 
increased and staffing has decreased. 

Figure 3: FPS's Attrition Rates, Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007: 

This figure is a combination line graph showing FPS's attrition rates, 
fiscal years 2004 through 2007. The X axis represents fiscal year, and 
the Y axis represents the attrition rate (percentage). The lines 
represent the inspector attrition, police officer attrition, and total 
attrition. 
	
Fiscal year: "2004"; 
Total Attrition: 0.65; 
Officer attrition: 0.56; 
Inspector attrition: 0.83. 

Fiscal year: "2005"; 
Total Attrition: 7.14; 
Officer attrition: 5.49; 
Inspector attrition: 5.72. 

Fiscal year: "2006"; 
Total Attrition: 8.76; 
Officer attrition: 10.96; 
Inspector attrition: 6.84. 

Fiscal year: "2007"; 
Total Attrition: 14.16; 
Officer attrition: 16.28; 
Inspector attrition: 11.28. 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Note: "Inspectors" includes an unknown number of physical security 
specialists, who do not have law enforcement authority. The category 
"Total attrition" includes inspectors, police officers, physical 
security specialists, special agents, and administrative and support 
staff. 

FPS's Basic Security Fee Does Not Account for Risk and Raises Questions 
about Equity: 

FPS's primary means of funding its operations is the fee it charges 
tenant agencies for basic security services, as shown in figure 4. Some 
of the basic security services covered by this fee include law 
enforcement activities at GSA facilities, preliminary investigations, 
the capture and detention of suspects, and BSAs, among other services. 
The basic security fee does not include contract guard services. 

Figure 4: Amount of Fees Collected by FPS, Fiscal Years 2006 through 
2009: 

This figure is a vertical combination bar graph showing amount of fees 
collected by FPS, fiscal years 2006 through 2009. The X axis represents 
year, and the Y axis represents dollars in millions. The bars represent 
security work authorization fees, building specific fees, and basic 
security fees. 

Year: 2006; 
Basic Security:	112; 
Building Specific fees:	42; 
Security Work Authorization fees: 53. 

Year: 2007; 
Basic Security:	128; 
Building Specific fees:	44; 
Security Work Authorization fees: 50. 

Year: 2008; 
Basic Security:	187; 
Building Specific fees:	23; 
Security Work Authorization fees: 20. 

Year: 2009; 
Basic Security:	190; 
Building Specific fees:	24; 
Security Work Authorization fees: 20. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: FPS. 

Note: This figure does not include pass through funding, which is 
funding provided to FPS by customer agencies for building-specific and 
SWA security services. Pass through funding is not directly 
appropriated to FPS, but FPS collects it from customer agencies and 
uses the funds to manage the procurement and installation of security 
countermeasures or other security services provided through the 
building-specific or SWA programs. Fiscal years 2008 and 2009 are 
projections. 

[End of figure] 

However, this fee does not fully account for the risk faced by 
particular buildings or the varying levels of basic security services 
provided, and does not reflect the actual cost of providing services. 
In fiscal year 2008, FPS charged 62 cents per square foot for basic 
security and has been authorized to increase the rate to 66 cents per 
square foot in fiscal year 2009. FPS charges federal agencies the same 
basic security fee regardless of the perceived threat to that 
particular building or agency. Although FPS categorizes buildings into 
security levels based on its assessment of the building's risk and 
size, this categorization does not affect the security fee charged by 
FPS. For example, level I facilities typically face less risk because 
they are generally small storefront-type operations with a low level of 
public contact, such as a small post office or Social Security 
Administration office. However, these facilities are charged the same 
basic security fee of 62 cents per square foot as a level IV facility 
that has a high volume of public contact and may contain high-risk law 
enforcement and intelligence agencies and highly sensitive government 
records. 

In addition, FPS's basic security rate has raised questions about 
equity because federal agencies are required to pay the fee regardless 
of the level of service FPS provides or the cost of providing the 
service. For instance, in some of the regions we visited, FPS officials 
described situations in which staff is stationed hundreds of miles from 
buildings under its responsibility. Many of these buildings rarely 
receive services from FPS staff and rely mostly on local police for law 
enforcement services. However, FPS charges these tenant agencies the 
same basic security fees as those buildings in major metropolitan areas 
in which numerous FPS police officers and inspectors are stationed and 
are available to provide security services. 

FPS's cost of providing services is not reflected in its basic security 
charges. For instance, a June 2006 FPS workload study estimating the 
amount of time spent on various security services showed differences in 
the amount of resources dedicated to buildings at various security 
levels. The study said that FPS staff spend approximately six times 
more hours providing security services to higher-risk buildings (levels 
III and IV buildings) compared to lower-risk buildings (levels I and II 
buildings). In addition, a 2007 Booz Allen Hamilton report of FPS's 
operational costs found that FPS does not link the actual cost of 
providing basic security services with the security fees it charges 
tenant agencies. The report recommends incorporating a security fee 
that takes into account the complexity or the level of effort of the 
service being performed for the higher level security facilities. The 
report states that FPS's failure to consider the costs of protecting 
buildings at varying risk levels could result in some tenants being 
overcharged. We also have reported that basing government fees on the 
cost of providing a service promotes equity, especially when the cost 
of providing the service differs significantly among different users, 
as is the case with FPS.[Footnote 11] 

Several stakeholders have raised questions about whether FPS has an 
accurate understanding of the cost of providing security at GSA 
facilities. An ICE Chief Financial Office official said FPS has 
experienced difficulty in estimating its costs because of inaccurate 
cost data. In addition, OMB officials said they have asked FPS to 
develop a better cost accounting system in past years. The 2007 Booz 
Allen Hamilton report found that FPS does not have a methodology to 
assign costs to its different security activities and that it should 
begin capturing the cost of providing various security services to 
better plan, manage and budget its resources. We have also previously 
cited problems with ICE's and FPS's financial system, including 
problems associated with tracking expenditures.[Footnote 12] We also 
have previously reported on the importance of having accurate cost 
information for budgetary purposes and to set fees and prices for 
services. We have found that without accurate cost information it is 
difficult for agencies to determine if fees need to be increased or 
decreased, accurately measure performance, and improve efficiency. 

FPS Faces Limitations in Assessing Its Performance: 

To determine how well it is accomplishing its mission to protect GSA 
facilities, FPS has identified some output measures, such as 
determining whether security countermeasures have been deployed and are 
fully operational, the amount of time it takes to respond to an 
incident and the percentage of BSAs completed on time. Output measures 
assess activities, not the results of those activities. However, FPS 
has not developed outcome measures to evaluate the results and the net 
effect of its efforts to protect GSA facilities. While output measures 
are helpful, outcome measures are also important because they can 
provide FPS with broader information on program results, such as the 
extent to which its decision to move to an inspector-based workforce 
will enhance security at GSA facilities or help identify the security 
gaps that remain at GSA facilities and determine what action may be 
needed to address them. The Government Performance and Results Act 
requires federal agencies to, among other things, measure agency 
performance in achieving outcome oriented goals. Measuring performance 
allows organizations to track the progress they are making toward their 
goals and gives managers critical information on which to base 
decisions for improving their performance. In addition, we and other 
federal agencies have maintained that adequate and reliable performance 
measures are a necessary component of effective management. We have 
also found that performance measures should provide agency managers 
with timely, action-oriented information in a format conducive to 
helping them make decisions that improve program performance, including 
decisions to adjust policies and priorities. 

FPS is also limited in its ability to assess the effectiveness of its 
efforts to protect GSA facilities, in part, because it does not have a 
data management system that will allow it to provide complete and 
accurate information on its security program. Without a reliable data 
management system, it is difficult for FPS and others to determine the 
effectiveness of its efforts to protect GSA facilities or for FPS to 
accurately track and monitor incident response time, effectiveness of 
security countermeasures, and whether BSAs are completed on time. 
Currently, FPS primarily uses the Web Records Management System 
(WebRMS) and Security Tracking System to track and monitor output 
measures. However, FPS acknowledged that there are weaknesses with 
these systems which make it difficult to accurately track and monitor 
its performance. In addition, according to many FPS officials at the 
seven regions we visited, the data maintained in WebRMS may not be a 
reliable and accurate indicator of crimes and other incidents because 
FPS does not write an incident report for every incident, all incidents 
are not entered into WebRMS and because the types and definitions of 
items prohibited in buildings vary not only region by region, but also 
building by building. For example, a can of pepper spray may be 
prohibited in one building, but allowed in another building in the same 
region. According to FPS, having fewer police officers has also 
decreased the total number of crime and incident reports entered in 
WebRMS because there is less time spent on law enforcement activities. 
The officials in one FPS region we visited stated that two years ago 
there were 25,000 reports filed through WebRMS, however this year they 
are projecting about 10,000 reports because there are fewer FPS police 
officers to respond to an incident and write a report if necessary. 

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, our work shows that FPS has faced and 
continues to face multiple challenges in ensuring that GSA facilities, 
their occupants, and visitors, are protected from crime and the risk of 
terrorist attack. In the report we issued last week, we recommended 
that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the Director of FPS to 
develop and implement a strategic approach to manage its staffing 
resources; clarify roles and responsibilities of local law enforcement 
agencies in regards to responding to incidents at GSA facilities; 
improve FPS's use of the fee-based system by developing a method to 
accurately account for the cost of providing security services to 
tenant agencies; assess whether FPS's current use of a fee-based system 
or an alternative funding mechanism is the most appropriate manner to 
fund the agency; and develop and implement specific guidelines and 
standards for measuring its performance including the collection and 
analysis of data. DHS concurred with these recommendations and we are 
encouraged that FPS is in the process of addressing them. 

This concludes our testimony. We are pleased to answer any questions 
you might have. 

Contact Information: 

For further information on this testimony, please contact Mark 
Goldstein at 202-512-2834 or by email at goldsteinm@gao.gov. 
Individuals making key contributions to this testimony include Daniel 
Cain, Tammy Conquest, Colin Fallon, Katie Hamer, Daniel Hoy, and Susan 
Michal-Smith. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] For the purposes of this testimony, the 9,000 facilities referred 
to are under the control or custody of GSA. 

[2] GAO, Homeland Security: The Federal Protective Service Faces 
Several Challenges That Hamper Its Ability to Protect Federal 
Facilities, GAO-08-683 (Washington, D.C.: June 11, 2008). 

[3] GAO, Homeland Security: Transformation Strategy Needed to Address 
Challenges Facing the Federal Protective Service, GAO-04-537 
(Washington, D.C.: July 14, 2004). DHS Office of Inspector General, 
Federal Protective Service Needs To Improve its Oversight of the 
Contract Guard Program, OIG-07-05 (Washington, D.C.: October 30, 2006). 

[4] FPS officials have stated that there is no official policy on the 
number of buildings assigned to each inspector. The number of buildings 
is entirely dependent on geographic dispersion and risk level. 

[5] Pub. L. No 110-161, 121 Stat 1844, 2051 (2007). 

[6] GAO, Federal Real Property: DHS Has Made Progress, but Additional 
Actions Are Needed to Address Real Property Management and Security 
Challenges, GAO-07-658 (Washington, DC.: June 2007). 

[7] 18 U.S.C.  930(a) 

[8] The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act required FPS to employ no 
fewer than 1,200 employees, 900 of which must be law enforcement 
personnel. 

[9] RAMP will replace several FPS systems including its Security 
Tracking System and the Contract Guard Employment Requirements Tracking 
System and may be integrated with other systems associated with the BSA 
program. 

[10] Established by Congress in 1972 and administered by GSA, the 
Federal Buildings Fund is a revolving fund in the U.S. Treasury into 
which federal agency rent and certain other moneys are deposited. 
Moneys deposited into the fund are available, subject to congressional 
appropriation, for GSA's real property management and related 
activities. See 40 U.S.C.  592. 

[11] GAO, Federal User Fees: A Design Guide, GAO-08-386SP (Washington, 
D.C.: May 29, 2008). GAO, Understanding the Tax Reform Debate: 
Background, Criteria & Questions, GAO-05-1009SP (Washington, D.C.: 
September 1, 2005). 

[12] GAO, Homeland Security: Management Challenges Remain in 
Transforming Immigration Programs, GAO-05-81 (Washington, D.C.: October 
14, 2004). GAO, Homeland Security: Departmentwide Integrated Financial 
Management Systems Remain a Challenge, GAO-07-536 (Washington, D.C.: 
June 21, 2007).

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