The next reorganization came in 1987 when GSA Administrator Terence Golden delegated authority for protecting the Pentagon Reservation to the Department of Defense. DOD established the Defense Protective Service (DPS) – a new element within the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS) – to carry out the mission. DPS also took on security responsibilities beyond the 280-acre Pentagon Reservation, overseeing other DOD activities and facilities within the National Capital Region. During the early 1990s‚ the various security and security-related functions located within WHS were transferred to the DPS.
Pentagon renovations begun in the mid-1990s were nearly complete when a hijacked American Airlines (Flight 77) Boeing 757 slammed into the Pentagon’s first-floor west wall on Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon portion of the worst terrorism attack in American history took place 70 years to the day after construction of the building was begun in 1941.
By May 2002, reconstruction was well underway. Anthrax incidents in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks shook the Pentagon workforce still further. In light of these, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz established the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as a DOD agency under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The new agency absorbed and replaced DPS, taking on and further broadening its role of providing law enforcement and security for the Pentagon.
Law enforcement remains a core mission of PFPA, but the agency also handles operations security‚ building surveillance‚ crisis prevention‚ consequence management‚ counterintelligence‚ antiterrorism‚ Hazmat and explosives‚ protection of high-ranking DOD officials‚ information technology, and administrative issues.
The Work Behind The Welcome
One of the most remarkable and admirable aspects of the Pentagon is that American citizens and guests of the country are welcome to visit it. The same cannot be said of most national military headquarters around the world. But the openness of American society and its relation to the military demand that this privilege be maintained.
It’s an immensely valuable feature of all that the Pentagon stands for. You can think of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as the team that makes it possible.
It’s a team that has grown dramatically since 2002. PFPA started life with 340 employees. Today, more than 1,200 PFPA personnel work 24 hours a day to defend the Pentagon’s personnel‚ facilities‚ and infrastructure – and to ensure that Americans can see it up close.
The agency is organized under a single overall director and four subsidiary directors who oversee directorates ranging from police and protective services to antiterrorism force protection.
Jonathan H. Cofer is the director for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, a position he assumed in November 2016 after serving nine years previously as the deputy director. Prior to his tenure at PFPA, Cofer served as the chief, Advanced Concepts and Technology Demonstration Division at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Basically, he was responsible for ensuring the development and rapid fielding of information technology to the warfighter.
Cofer also served as the chief of staff of the Defense Security Service, where he oversaw the protection of U.S. and foreign classified information and technology as well as security professional education and development for DOD civilians and contractors.
A retired U.S. Army brigadier general, Cofer served as a military police officer for more than 30 years, with assignments including command of a 2,000-strong Army, Marine, and Air Force security and police force.