You’ve heard of the FBI, the CIA, and the BATF. You may have heard of the NSA (“No Such Agency.”) But you’ve never heard of the FPS, have you? Come on. Admit it.
The FPS is the Federal Protective Service. What does it do? It monitors 13,000 private security guards who are said to be guarding 9,000 federal buildings.
I mean, you have to guard the guards, right? That takes 1,200 FPS employees.
What does the government pay to hire the security guards? About $790 million a year.
To monitor 13,000 private guards, the FPS needs a computer system. The present one is not up to the task. So, the FPS hired a firm for $21 million to design a program. That was in 2008.
The firm failed to deliver. So, the FPS hired it again. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” On the government’s “nickel,” of course.
The firm failed to deliver again. So far, $57 million are down the drain.
What every federal bureaucracy fears is about to happen: Congressional hearings. There is a subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies. It will hold hearings this week.
The computer program was called Risk Assessment and Management Program (RAMP). Call it “Off RAMP.” Call it “RAMPed down.”
We know the outfit is in big trouble. Its official spokesman has refused to answer media inquiries.That means, “I’m in career damage-control mode. If I say anything, and it backfires, I’m in trouble. It’s safer to say nothing.”
He referred the media to the FPS’s superior agency, who also clammed up. Loose lips sink ships.
Then they asked Booz Allen, which got the contracts.
“Booz Allen is very proud of the important work we perform for our clients within the Department of Homeland Security, but we refer questions on this program to the agency.”
It’s a closed loop information system.
It gets worse.
Homeland Security Today reporter Kelley Vlahos suggested this month that FPS itself may be on the chopping block. The agency didn’t return her requests for comment, she reported. While she was working on the story, DHS deleted the page that explained RAMP in detail from its website’s section covering FPS. A link to the nonexistent page, however, remained on the agency’s home page.
DHS headquarters spokesman Bob Davis told TheDC that “FPS is currently updating all of its webpages.” But that RAMP page is the only one missing in its entirety.
“The first phase of that process was to remove programs, initiatives and data that was no longer valid,” Davis wrote in an email. “Since the information on the RAMP webpage was no longer valid, FPS removed the content.”
The news media outlet that first reported this story is the Daily Caller. Its website is now down. Hmmmmm.