National Preparedness:

Technologies to Secure Federal Buildings

GAO-02-481T: Published: Apr 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2002.

Additional Materials:


Robert F. Dacey
(202) 512-3317


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

“An electronic version of this testimony suitable for widespread distribution is available at under report number GAO-02-687T.”

The terrorist attacks of September 11 have intensified concerns about the physical security of federal buildings and the need to protect those who work in and visit these facilities. These concerns have been underscored by reports of long-standing vulnerabilities, including weak controls over building access. There are several commercially available security technologies that can be deployed, ranging from turnstiles, to smart cards, to biometric systems. Although many of these technologies can provide highly effective technical controls, the overall security of a federal building will depend on establishing robust risk management processes and implementing the three integral concepts of a holistic security process: protection, detection, and reaction.

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