With responsibility for protecting thousands of federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), which transferred from the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2003, plays a critical role in the federal government's defense against the threat of terrorism and other criminal activity. GAO was asked to determine what challenges, if any, FPS faces now that it has been transferred from GSA to DHS.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FPS--in consultation with the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security and the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement--to develop and implement a transformation strategy that reflects FPS's consideration of key practices and addresses the significant challenges it is facing. In particular, this strategy should identify implementation goals, measures, and a timeline that FPS could use to show progress toward its transformation and demonstrate that it is accomplishing its mission while undergoing changes. It should also link FPS's goals and measures to the broader goals and objectives contained in DHS's strategic plan and to DHS's ongoing integration efforts. In serving as a road map for FPS's transformation, such a strategy should be used by FPS as a platform to identify strategies and proposals for addressing the significant challenges that we identified--expanding mission and increased responsibility, unresolved issues related to funding, and mission-support challenges related to the eventual transfer of these functions from GSA to DHS.|
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Secretary of Homeland Security should initiate a dialogue with GSA aimed at resolving disagreement between DHS and GSA about whether FPS has the authority to bill GSA's tenant agencies for security services. If this issue cannot be resolved, DHS should seek resolution from OMB or the Treasury.|
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Secretary of Homeland Security should take immediate steps to ensure that funds collected from agency rents and fees are used in the future solely for the protection of buildings and grounds owned or occupied by the federal government. If FPS continues its involvement in activities not directly related to facility protection, a funding process would be needed that is consistent with the requirement regarding the use of funds from agency rents and fees. In addition, a means of tracking these activities and determining related costs would also be needed.|
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure that DHS is prepared to effectively integrate FPS mission-support functions before these functions are transferred from GSA, even if it is necessary to extend the September 2004 goal for the transfer.|