After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the government realized it had a problem. There were no minimum security standards or an inspection regime for the thousands of federal facilities sprawled across the country. So it developed a plan, accelerated after 9/11, to test federal buildings and other sites for potential vulnerabilities. To carry out the tests, the government deployed a web-enabled software program that cost millions and failed to work. Now the program’s replacement may be even worse.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland Security’s police and security agency is preparing to adopt a new software tool for inspections, but one that can’t accurately measure security risks. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) also doesn’t know the extent of its inspection backlog because its data is unreliable. There are federal facilities that seemingly haven’t been inspected in years. The FPS “continues to face challenges in overseeing its approximately 12,500 contract guards,”. And before the agency adopts the new tool, it’s using a temporary program that can hardly inspect at all.