Prior to 1995, when the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) was created in response to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, there were literally no minimum physical security standards in place for non-military federal facilities.
But times have most definitely changed. The ISC is now governed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the organization today aims to enhance and improve security in all non-military federal facilities, regardless of whether the facility is owned, managed or leased by the U.S. government.
What does this mean for your Philadelphia, Trenton NJ, Bucks County or Montgomery County business? For starters, the ISC’s government facility security standards and best practices could be used as a blueprint of sorts to help security professionals implement their own mandatory standards and security policies.
The ISC’s security standards are updated on a regular basis; they can be accessed on the official website of the DHS.
ISC standards are not the same for all government facilities, as each facility has significantly different needs. Due to these differences, federal facilities have been classified into five levels:
• Level I: Buildings with limited access to the public, with 10 or fewer staff members and 2,500 square feet in size
• Level II: Buildings that have moderate access to the public, with between 11 and 150 staff members and a size between 2,500 and 80,000 square feet
• Level III: Buildings with high access to the public, with staff between 151 and 450 and a size between 80,000 and 150,000 square feet
• Level IV: Buildings that are highly accessed by the public, with more than 450 staff members and 150,000 square feet
• Level V: Buildings that are considered to be crucial to the security of the country, such as the Pentagon
The ISC standards provide a single source of security countermeasures for all non-military federal facilities. They also provide guidance on how to customize countermeasures to federal facilities. As of March 2015, the following downloadable documents were all up-to-date.
To stay up-to-date with the changing nature of threats made to government facilities, updates to the risk management process is done every six months.
According to ISC officials, the standards have been designed to be used in all federal facilities, regardless of the type of facility or the security programs those facilities may already have in place. These standards can be customized to fit the needs of your facility.
Various federal buildings, of course, use different managerial practices to oversee their specific security needs. Most larger government facilities have managers in place who are specifically responsible for monitoring and managing security at each facility, technologically and otherwise.
Documentation of the measures they have in place can go a long way in the evaluation of the standards and changes that need to be made. And having a manager responsible for the allocation of resources needed in implementation of ISC standards can, of course, make all the difference in a facility with federal-level security concerns.