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Understanding the Levels of Security of Government Infrastructure

by Kashif Khan
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It used to be the case that most Americans assumed the Federal government and its Washington, DC, campus were sacrosanct. The attack on the Capitol that occurred on January 6, 2021 changed all of that. Now, people across the country are paying more attention to the security of government infrastructure, and with good reason. Local, state, and federal government facilities are the seats of democracy and must be adequately protected.

Who Provides Federal Facility Security?

The authority to provide security is controlled by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the U.S. Code. According to these documents, each federal agency or department is responsible for providing security. If there are two or more federal tenants within the same facility, they must form a Facility Security Committee (FSC) to make security decisions. Around 45% of federal facility security is provided by law enforcement agencies, while the remaining 55% are owned by military, intelligence, or national security entities that provide their own personnel for facility security forces.

Understanding Federal Facility Security Levels

Every federal facility has a different purpose and set of security needs. There are five different classifications for federal facility security, and each building is categorized according to its size, function, tenant population, and public access level. Security classifications help to determine what activities and operations must be established to secure the facilities and infrastructure.

Level I Buildings

Level I buildings have 10 or fewer federal employees and little to no contact with the public. They occupy no more than 2,500 square feet of space.

Level II Buildings

Level II buildings house 11 to 150 federal employees and have more contat with the public. They occupy between 2,500 and 80,000 square feet and are used for routine federal activities, sometimes including commerce.

Level III Buildings

Level III buildings are occupied by between 151 and 450 federal employees. They take up 80,000 to 150,000 square feet of space and are equipped for a moderate to high volume of contact with the public. Examples of level III tenant agencies can include law enforcement, courts, and government records or archives.

Level IV Buildings

Level IV buildings have 450 or more federal employees and a high volume of contact with the public. They occupy at least 150,000 square feet of space and are home to high-risk tenant agencies such as the ATF, FBI, or DEA. Federal courts, judicial offices, and sensitive government records archives are all housed in Level IV buildings, as well.

Level V Buildings

Level V buildings are similar to level IV facilities in terms of space and personnel. The difference is that they house agencies and functions that are critical to national security. Examples include the Pentagon and the CIA Headquarters. Because these facilities house critical missions, tenant agencies must secure the sites using their own security forces and standards.

The Importance of Having a Reliable Security Partner

Government facilities of all classifications must be adequately secured to protect not just the agencies that occupy them but also the American public. As a result, the choice of security partners is crucial. Government agencies must choose a reliable company to provide secure visitor controls, cyber resource protection, asset tracking, and risk mitigation services.

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