Moran Applauds DOD Decision to Standardize Leased Office Space Safety Standards

Dec 19, 2012 Issues: BRAC

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today applauded the Defense Department decision to change safety standards for all DOD leased facilities to match the standards set by the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Standards and Best Practices, which govern every other federal agency. The move, long advocated by Rep. Moran, will save money and allow more facilities in Northern Virginia to compete for DOD leases.

“I applaud the Defense Department for their decision to set more appropriate safety standards for buildings used as leased office space,” said Rep. Moran. “This decision is good for our budget, creates uniformity among agencies and will open up facilities for the Defense Department to lease, making the process more competitive and cost effective.”

Specifically, the DOD changed from a policy of Unified Facilities Criteria/Anti-Terrorism Force Protection standards (UFC/ATFP), which required all DOD leased office space to adhere to onerous minimum safety standards, including 82 foot setbacks from the road and modified structural design in some cases, to the same tried and true ISC standards followed by all other federal agencies. Prior to the decision, only DOD facilities had a separate set of standards.

Understanding the impact of ATFP on facilities in his own district, Rep. Moran has pressed DOD officials to change to uniform minimum safety standards for all federal agencies. At the Congressman’s urging, in 2011, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Lynn released a memo directing a study of the ATFP standards.

Moran continued: “ATFP standards set unnecessarily high, redundant safety standards for leased office space. It was not an effective use of government resources and penalized our region which necessarily houses a large portion of the federal government given our proximity to Washington D.C.”

The ATFP standards require all leased office space to maintain safety standards consistent with a “military installation.” These standards are extremely difficult to meet in developed and urban areas. They have resulted in arbitrary DOD decisions, such as capping at 25 percent the number of DOD employees in office buildings, in order avoid restrictions. The standards also had the effect of spreading the workforce across a larger geographic area, in a way that hurt efficiencies and synergy. Due to the nature of the safety requirements, the ATFP standards also often conflicted with Presidential Executive Order #13154 which requires agencies to consider new leases that are accessible to public transportation.
 
As part of the ISC standards, any federal agency or department may set a higher security standard if there is sufficient justification. Unlike the ATFP standards, however, the likelihood of a terrorist attack on a given agency or facility is factored into the ISC safety standard decision, thus making them more flexible to individual agency needs.
 

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