“In October, I announced the formation of a panel to conduct an independent inquiry of the United States Secret Service,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday, adding that he received the independent panel's recommendations.
The panel’s recommendations follows the White House security breach that the agency failed to prevent earlier in the year, which caused former US Secret Service Director Julia Pierson to resign.
The panel stressed the need for the current fence around the White House to be changed immediately in order to “provide better protection,” in addition to staffing the Secret Service at a “level that enables it to provide a true Fourth Shift for training to its Presidential Protective Division and Vice-Presidential Protective Division special agents.”
“Due in large part to limitations on personnel, the Service's training regimen has diminished far below acceptable levels,” the report read. The panel suggested that Congress and the Executive Branch work to appropriate more money for the agency to hire 85 additional special agents and 200 Uniformed Division officers.
“Forget about what the Service has asked for in the past,” the report said. “Define the mission, and make the argument to policy makers in the Executive Branch and Congress that this sum, which we believe to be more than current appropriations, is needed.”
Johnson announced that the DHS would conduct an independent review of the secret services after US Army veteran Omar Gonzalez climbed over the White House fence and entered US President Barack Obama’s residence with a knife on September 19.
Although president Obama and his family were not in the White House at the time of the incident, the security breach triggered sharp criticism of the US Secret Service, with the agency’s former director to resign days after the breach.