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Electronic Security Systems

Electronic Security Systems (ESS) are physical security systems deployed to integrate into a facility's necessary level of protection. Types of ESS:

  • Physical Access Control Systems (PACS)
  • Video Surveillance Systems (VSS) that are also known as CCTV
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)


PACS are stand-alone or enterprise intelligence systems of hardware and software deployed to control accesses through perimeter entries, internal control points, and protected spaces. At a high level, PACS is a collection of technologies that control physical access at one or more federal agency sites by electronically authenticating employees, contractors, and visitors. PACS components include, but are not limited to, Personnel Identity Verification card readers, door controllers, turnstiles, request to exit devices, door position switches/sensors, electric door strikes, Fiber Optic cabling infrastructure, middleware, switches, and servers.

Procurement of all Department PACS are to comply with the General Services Administration (GSA) Approved Products List for PACS. This list provides federal agencies with products and services that have been approved for Federal Identity, Credentialing and Access Management (FICAM) implementation based on rigorous security vulnerability and interoperability testing performed by the Federal Information Processing Standard 201 Evaluation Program.

The PACS Guide from GSA serves as a playbook to help security specialists, IT staff, procurement specialists, and facility project managers understand concepts related to FICAM-compliant PACS. The guide provides a compliant path to PACS planning, programming, procurement, training, and understanding of standards, policies, and guidance.


VSS are intelligent systems of surveillance hardware and software deployed to surveil required points of facilities according to ISC standards and/or as designated by the security organization, Facility Security Committee (FSC), or facility Designated Official (DO). 


IDS are alarm signaling deployed devices programmed to detect intrusion into certain protected spaces, such as facility perimeter spaces (perimeter access locations like doors, windows, roof hatches, etc.) and controlled areas (weapons/ammunition storage rooms, classified spaces). IDS communicate alarms to monitoring stations to signal for the appropriate response to the alarmed location.


More identity policy information is available on the federal ID management and identity and credentialing websites.