Report | June 30, 2020

Audit of Protective Security Details in the Department of Defense (DODIG-2020-097)

Audit

Publicly Released: July 2, 2020

 

Objective

The objective of this audit was to examine the use of protective security details (PSDs) throughout the DoD and also determine whether DoD Components consistently provided this protection.

 

Background

PSDs consist of specially trained protective security personnel (military or civilian) that are capable of providing protection for individuals designated as high‑risk personnel (HRP). DoD HRP are senior service members and civilian DoD employees who, by nature of their positions, are considered critical to the conduct of DoD operations and functions.

Section 714, title 10, United States Code, 2016, states that the Secretary of Defense may authorize physical protection and personal security within the United States for specific high‑ranking DoD personnel and for other individuals if the Secretary determines that such protection and security are necessary.

DoD Instruction O‑2000.22 (the Instruction) assigns responsibilities and prescribes the procedures for designating and protecting DoD HRP. Additionally, the Instruction designates specific DoD positions as permanent HRP, their levels of protection, the sizes of PSDs, and who serves as the protection-providing organization (PPO). The Instruction also June 30, 2020 includes a process for DoD Components to nominate other DoD personnel for HRP protection based on an imminent credible threat or compelling operational considerations.

The PPOs are responsible for providing protection to HRP and include the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

 

Findings

We determined that PPOs protected HRP based on the HRP position instead of specific threats to the HRP and that this occurred because:

• the states that PSD protection must be maintained at a minimum level and employed as necessary.

• the PPOs did not adjust their recommendations for the level of protection based on the results of the personal security vulnerability assessment; and

• the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security (ASD[HD&GS]) did not review the PPOs’ performance of PSDs, as required by the Instruction.

Providing protection based on position instead of based on the PPO’s assessment of the threat to HRP may result in the overuse of resources required.

We also determined that the PPOs did not provide PSDs consistently throughout the DoD. For example, for the missions we reviewed, the PPOs did not consistently use advance personnel for missions, and at times used more days to perform advance work than each PPO’s guidance or general rule suggested.

Inconsistencies in the number of days the PPOs used to perform advance work at the mission location occurred because the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD[P]) did not discuss or define in the Instruction the number of agents or days agents should use to perform advance work and the ASD(HD&GS) did not review the PPOs’ performance of PSDs.

In addition, as recommended by the Instruction, PPOs did not consistently use the assistance of the other PPOs and field agents local to the mission location to reduce costs, to reduce the need for large standing details on PSDs, and to increase joint operations for the missions we reviewed.

In another example of inconsistency, the USACIDC assigned more personnel to PSDs than the other PPOs and even assigned more personnel than authorized by the Instruction. Specifically, the USACIDC assigned more personnel to the PSDs than the Instruction allowed for 5 of the 7 HRP it protects, by an overall total of 59 personnel. Again, USD(P) personnel did not clarify or define in the Instruction whether the number of agents authorized to protect HRP is determined by mission, location, or day, or applies to staffing multiple work periods during the day, and the ASD(HD&GS) did not provide oversight over the performance of PSDs. Without oversight and direction from the ASD(HD&GS), as required in the Instruction, the USACIDC will continue to overstaff its PSDs and use financial and personnel resources that could be used to support other DoD operations.

 

Recommendations

We recommend that the USD(P):

• eliminate the pre‑assigned levels of protection for HRP in the Instruction and assign protection for HRP based on recommendations supported in the individual HRP personal security vulnerability assessments or nominations.

• establish a working group including representatives from each PPO to revise the Instruction to include guidance on HRP, and the number of personnel and days of advance work needed for PSD missions.

• require and validate that the ASD(HD&GS) reviews the PPOs’ performance of PSDs annually.

We recommend that the Commanding General of the USACIDC modify the number of personnel assigned to protect each individual HRP and the number of personnel used on each mission to comply with the Instruction.

We recommend that the Commandant of the U.S. Army Military Police School update Army Techniques Publication 3‑39.35, “Protective Services,” May 2013, to comply with any changes to the Instruction.

We recommend that the Commanding Generals of the USACIDC and the AFOSI, and the Director of the NCIS, develop and issue policy consistent with the Instruction emphasizing the use of assistance from other PPOs and local field agents when conducting PSDs.

We recommend that the Commanding General of the USACIDC and the Commanding General of the AFOSI determine and document whether an internal policy is necessary to limit the number of years a special agent can spend working in the PSD mission area.

 

Management Comments and Our Response

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance, responding for the USD(P), agreed with eight of the nine recommendations. Comments from the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance addressed the eight agreed to recommendations; therefore, those recommendations are resolved but will remain open.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance, disagreed with the recommendation to eliminate the preassigned levels of protection for permanent HRP in the Instruction. However, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense proposed to review the preassigned permanent HRP protection levels listed in the Instruction and perform assessments of HRP during coordination of the revised Instruction.

Comments from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance, did not address the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We acknowledge the USD(P)’s proposed action to review the preassigned permanent HRP protection levels for the positions listed in the Instruction. However, we request that the USD(P) reconsider his position on the recommendation and provide comments on the final report regarding assessing the need for preassigned protection levels.

The USACIDC Commanding General agreed with the three recommendations. Comments from the USACIDC Commanding General addressed the specifics of two of the recommendations; therefore, those recommendations are resolved.

The USACIDC Commanding General agreed with the recommendation to develop and issue policy consistent with the Instruction emphasizing the use of assistance from other PPOs and local field agents. While the USACIDC Commanding General agreed, his comments did not outline plans to issue policy to endorse or emphasize the use of assistance from other PPOs and local field agents, and did not address the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We request that the Commanding General provide the specific actions that the USACIDC will take to emphasize the use of assistance from other PPOs and local field agents when conducting PSDs when operationally feasible.

The Director, Strategic Programs and Requirements, Office of Special Investigations, responding for the AFOSI Commanding General, agreed with the two recommendations; and addressed the specifics of those recommendations; therefore, those recommendations are resolved. The Deputy Director Operations, responding for the Director of NCIS Global Operations, partially agreed with the recommendation to issue policy emphasizing the use of other PPOs and local field agent personnel on PSD missions.

The Deputy Director Operations addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved.

The U.S. Army Military Police School Director of Training and Education, responding for the U.S. Army Military Police School Commandant, agreed with the three recommendations; therefore, those recommendations are resolved.

Although not required to comment, the PFPA Acting Director agreed with the majority of the report’s recommendations and looks forward to any forthcoming working groups to enhance the protective service program in the future. For the full text of PFPA’s management comments on the Findings and our responses, see Appendix B.

 

This report is the product of Proj. No. D2018-D000AW-0203.000