Tags: secret service | reform | panel | recommendations

Panel: Secret Service Needs to Add Manpower, Bolster Leadership

By    |   Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:15 PM

A four-member panel gave its recommendations on how to improve the embattled U.S. Secret Service on Thursday.

Among the panel's suggestions were to add more manpower and bolster the agency's leadership at the top, according to a report it released.

The panel, consisting of Joseph Hagin, Thomas Perrelli, Danielle Gray, and Mark Filip, appeared in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"Increase the Uniformed Division, as quickly as can be appropriately managed, by an initial 200 positions, and the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) by 85 positions. Perform additional analyses and, likely, further increases as necessary," reads one of the recommendations. "Both UD and PPD are currently stretched beyond their limits."

The panel also requested that the agency's next director have a strong law enforcement or military background.

"The next director of the Secret Service should be a strong leader from outside the agency who has a protective, law enforcement, or military background and who can drive cultural change in the organization and move the Secret Service forward into a new era," the report reads. "The need to change, reinvigorate, and question long-held assumptions — from within the agency itself — is too critical right now for the next director to be an insider."

"Establish a leadership development system that identifies and trains the agency’s future managers and leaders," the report continues. "To promote from within and move the agency forward, however, the Secret Service needs to do a better job of identifying future leaders and preparing them for the role."

The panel was formed after a White House fence jumper ran across the North Lawn, through the front doors, and into the ground floor of the mansion last September. Several rings of security failed that night, according to reports.

The Secret Service installed a second, temporary fence days after the Sept. 19 episode as it studies what went wrong and how another incident like it can be prevented in the future.

The panel recommended replacing the current wrought-iron fence, which currently stands at seven and a half feet tall. Other security measures have changed since the fence was erected in 1965, the Washington Post reports, but the fence has remained the same.

"Replace the outer fence that surrounds the 18 acres to give Secret Service personnel more time to react to intrusions," the report reads. "The current seven-and-a-half-foot fence, not just along Pennsylvania Avenue but around the compound's entire perimeter, must be replaced as quickly as possible."

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), meanwhile, told the Washington Post he didn't necessarily buy into some of the panel's recommendations.

"Every time some federal agency messes up, the first thing they say — they say they're underfunded, and the second thing they say is their technology is out of date," he said.

In its report, the panel concluded the Secret Service needs to construct a new budget "from the ground up."

"The Service must build a new budget from the ground up by defining its mission, determining what it will take to achieve it, and asking for that," the report reads. "The mission is important enough to justify that approach."

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A four-member panel gave its recommendations on how to improve the embattled U.S. Secret Service on Thursday.
secret service, reform, panel, recommendations
Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:15 PM
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