The Department of State (Department), Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), Office of Overseas Protective Operations (OPO) is responsible for the protection of people visiting or working for and with the Department domestically and abroad. DS relies on explosive detection canines, and their handlers, as an important part of its ability to provide protective services in its operations worldwide. Prior to 2019, DS contractors under the Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) program provided trained canines and handlers for overseas security details. DS also contracted with Michael Stapleton Associates (MSA)1 to validate the scent proficiency of canine teams at a validation center in Winchester, Virginia.
In 2019, DS modified its WPS contracts to remove the responsibility for the provision of canines and expanded the MSA contract to include not only the validation of canine teams, but also the procurement, imprinting, and training of canines for its canine program, currently called the Global Canine Services (GCS) program.2 The Office of Inspector General (OIG) became aware of this change in 2019 when the former DS/OPO Director requested a meeting with OIG personnel to inform them of DS leadership’s approval of the expansion plan and to solicit OIG input.3 Given the magnitude of the MSA contract expansion—from $95 million to $250 million—and the apparent conflict of interest involved when a single contractor both trains and validates canines, OIG initiated this evaluation in June 2021. OIG reviewed DS’s decision to combine the procurement, imprinting, training, and validation of canines under a single existing contract. OIG also reviewed DS’s oversight of the GCS program and how it ensures that the training and subsequent validation by a single contractor remain independent. OIG conducted this evaluation in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation (January 2012) as issued by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.