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Highlights

The need to better protect federal facilities, coupled with federal budget constraints and the increased scrutiny of homeland security funding and programs, has prompted the need for U.S. agencies to measure the performance of their facility protection efforts. In this environment, it is important for these agencies to ensure that investments in facility protection are providing adequate returns in terms of better protecting real property assets against terrorism. In addition, the U.S. government's national strategy, Presidential directive, and guidance on protecting critical infrastructures--including facilities--have identified the use of performance measurement as a key means of assessing the effectiveness of protection programs. Given that protection of critical infrastructures is an important issue for organizations outside of the federal government as well, it is beneficial to look to the experiences of these organizations to identify lessons learned. As such, our objectives for this review were (1) to identify examples of performance measures for facility protection being used by selected organizations outside of the federal government--including private-sector entities, state and local governments, and foreign governments, and (2) to determine the status of U.S. federal agencies' efforts to develop and use performance measures as part of their facility protection programs.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Interagency Security Committee To ensure that useful information is available for making decisions about the allocation of resources for, and the effectiveness of investments in, the protection of federal facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Chair of the Interagency Security Committee (ISC), as part of ISC's efforts to support DHS in developing sector-specific performance measures for the security of federal government facilities, to establish guidance and standards, with input from ISC member agencies, for measuring performance in facility protection--with a particular focus on developing outcome measures.
Closed - Implemented
In response to this report, the Interagency Security Committee issued guidance entitled "Use of Physical Security Performance Measures" in 2009. According to ISC, this policy requires all federal agencies to assess and document the effectiveness of their physical security programs through performance measurement and testing. This standard intends to provide guidance on how to establish and implement a comprehensive measurement and testing program.
Interagency Security Committee To ensure that useful information is available for making decisions about the allocation of resources for, and the effectiveness of investments in, the protection of federal facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Chair of the ISC to communicate the established guidance and standards to the relevant federal agencies.
Closed - Implemented
We found a range of examples of performance measures that organizations outside the U.S. government--including private-sector entities, state and local governments, and foreign government agencies--have developed that, collectively, indicate whether facility protection efforts are achieving results. Without effective performance measurement data, decision makers may have insufficient information to evaluate whether their investments have improved security or reduced federal facilities vulnerability to acts of terrorism or other forms of violence. However, agencies faced challenges in further developing and using security performance measures, and there was no governmentwide guidance or standards on measuring facility protection performance to help federal agencies address these challenges. We recommended, in addition to developing such guidance, that the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) communicate its guidance and standards for measuring performance in federal government facility protection to relevant federal agencies. In response, ISC made its guidance and standards entitled, "Use of Physical Security Performance Measures" available on the Department of Homeland Security's website and the guidance intended for use by federal departments and agencies. As a result, this guidance (issued in 2009) provides a performance model that measures inputs and accomplishments, identifies the performance measurement cycle process, and provides examples of physical security performance metrics.
Interagency Security Committee To ensure that useful information is available for making decisions about the allocation of resources for, and the effectiveness of investments in, the protection of federal facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Chair of the ISC to ensure that the guidance and standards are regularly reviewed and updated.
Closed - Implemented
We found a range of examples of performance measures that organizations outside the U.S. government--including private-sector entities, state and local governments, and foreign government agencies--have developed that, collectively, indicate whether facility protection efforts are achieving results. Without effective performance measurement data, decision makers may have insufficient information to evaluate whether their investments have improved security or reduced federal facilities vulnerability to acts of terrorism or other forms of violence. However, agencies faced challenges in further developing and using security performance measures, and there was no governmentwide guidance or standards on measuring facility protection performance to help federal agencies address these challenges. We recommended, in addition to developing such guidance and standards, that the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) ensure that the guidance and standards are updated regularly. In response, ISC issued performance measurement guidance and standards in 2009, entitled, "Use of Physical Security Performance Measures." According to ISC, the guidance provides the foundation for a measurement program that is one of six key management practices the ISC is promoting within the federal physical security committee. In addition, ISC's identification of performance measurement as one of six key practices it is promoting is responsive to the spirit of GAO's recommendation that the guidance be regularly reviewed and updated. As a result, regular review and updating of the guidance should better ensure that agencies have a current performance model that measures inputs and accomplishments, identifies the performance measurement cycle process, and provides examples of physical security performance metrics.

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