The Federal Protective Service (FPS) protects about 9,000 federal facilities and their occupants.
For the third time in almost 20 years, FPS has moved into a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security. This agency, the Management Directorate, is responsible for providing human capital and other services. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says FPS has experienced several benefits from the move, including more support from leadership. But GAO adds that FPS continues to face staffing shortages.
GAO found that FPS had a staffing shortage of 21 percent at the end of fiscal year 2021. The watchdog says these staffing challenges persist in part because FPS and the Management Directorate’s human capital office have not sufficiently collaborated on hiring processes. GAO believes that mchanisms to facilitate further collaboration and agreement on hiring processes and to document the agreements reached could help the human capital office and FPS more effectively and efficiently address FPS’s staffing shortages.
DHS and FPS have performance measures and targets for some of the critical activities GAO selected for review. However, FPS has not established performance measures for information technology management and training for FPS officials. Instead, FPS identified initiatives that will help it achieve the related strategic objectives of modernizing the FPS infrastructure and developing the FPS workforce.
GAO found that FPS also has not established targets for several of the performance measures it identified for other critical activities; these targets would enable FPS to compare actual results against planned performance. FPS officials said that, as of October 2022, FPS was in the process of collecting data to determine appropriate targets for these performance measures, but that this effort was taking longer than expected.
GAO is recommending that the Management Directorate’s human capital office and FPS strengthen mechanisms to facilitate collaboration on hiring processes, and that FPS fully develop performance measures with targets for each of its strategic objectives. DHS agreed with the recommendations.