In 2009, the Senate Armed Services Committee initiated an inquiry into private security contractors operating in Afghanistan. In the course of the inquiry, the Committee reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from the Departments of Defense and State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and private security contractors. Committee staff conducted more than 30 interviews of military and contractor personnel and solicited written answers from several others. This report is a product of that inquiry.
Preliminary Results Show Federal Protective Service’s Ability to Protect Federal Facilities Is Hampered By Weaknesses in Its Contract Security Guard Program
FPS does not fully ensure that its contract security guards have the training and certifications required to be deployed to a federal facility. FPS requires that all prospective guards complete about 128 hours of training including 8 hours of x-ray and magnetometer training. However, in one region, FPS has not provided the x-ray or magnetometer training to its 1,500 guards since 2004. Nonetheless, these guards are assigned to posts at federal facilities. X-ray training is critical because guards control access points at facilities. Insufficient x-ray and magnetometer training may have contributed to several incidents where guards were negligent in carrying out their responsibilities. For example, at a level IV facility, an infant in a carrier was sent through an xray machine due to a guard’s negligence. Moreover, GAO found that FPS does not have a fully reliable system for monitoring and verifying guard training and certification requirements. GAO reviewed 663 randomly selected guard records and found that 62 percent of the guards had at least one expired certification including a declaration that guards have not been convicted of domestic violence, which make them ineligible to carry firearms.