Social Security Administration (SSA) Nation-wide Security Review

Social Security Administration (SSA) Nation-wide Security Review

Challenge

To further secure Social Security Administration (SSA) facilities and protect its employees and visitors, the Commissioner of Social Security instructed the agency’s Office of Protective Security Services (OPSS) to oversee an independent and comprehensive review of its current security operations and measures.

Solution

ARA formed a 12-person team of security personnel with diverse areas of expertise covering physical security, electronic security, risk management, and blast effects. Leaders from this team met with OPSS personnel at SSA Headquarters to kick off the project and interview key members of SSA Operations to gain an understanding of the agency’s mission, operations, culture, and criticality. In addition to the interviews, the assessment team surveyed the Headquarters facility and outlying buildings including SSA’s data center.

To adequately understand the threat, security, and operational issues facing SSA offices across the country, the assessment teams visited 121 offices across the United States in a 2 ½ month timeframe. The sample facilities were chosen based on geographical dispersal and proportionally based on the number of ISC Facility Security Level (I-V) buildings present in the SSA inventory. Each trip consisted of a 2-person team flying into a location, driving to multiple facilities in a region over one or two weeks and then flying home.

Multiple teams were traveling to multiple regions at the same time week after week creating a substantial coordination effort for both ARA and SSA personnel. As trips were completed, assessors would document their findings and submit them to the project manager and support staff for compilation and review. Following the completion of all 121 site visits, team members were asked to provide comments on a broad spectrum of security measures, threats, organizational inconsistencies, management effectiveness, and internal and external agency communication. These comments, along with the facility information previously provided, were the basis for the Draft Summary Report submitted to OPSS for review and the resulting Final Recommendation Report.

Impact

The resulting report provided a broad look at findings across the organization and a list of recommendations to improve communication, consistency, and mitigation measures intended to address the threats facing the agency.

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