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Explore the Offices

Each office at the Office of Protection Services plays an extremely important role in day-to-day Smithsonian operations.

Together, our team works to ensure the safety and security of the staff, visitors, and National Collections of the Smithsonian Institution, while permitting an appropriate level of public access to collections and properties. This includes the Physical Security Division, the Personnel Security Division, the Business Operations Division, and the Security Operations Division.

The Physical Security Division

The Physical Security Division (PPSD) is responsible for the personnel security; ID issuance; and the design, construction, maintenance, and administration of all physical security equipment and measures for the Smithsonian Institution. This includes project managers, system administrators, alarm/lock shop support, and information systems control. 

Personnel Security ensures that personnel responsible for the care of the National Collections, the safety and security of visitors and employees, information systems control, and administration are trustworthy, honest, and reliable. This division ensures that all persons appointed to positions are and remain suitable for employment with the Institution. The program is implemented through initiation, investigation (through prescreenings, post-appointment, and periodic updates), and adjudication of personnel assigned to positions that are designated and assigned appropriate risk levels. 

Physical Security & Risk Management, comprised of project managers, system administrators, and alarm/lock shop support, is responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and administration of all personnel and physical security equipment and measures for the Smithsonian Institution. This division coordinates and manages the design and installation of projects that originate within OPS, are funded by OPS, and/or consist entirely of security or security-related work. Additionally, this section also coordinates all aspects of the review process as described in Smithsonian Directive 410: Facility Construction and Improvement Projects. The project managers review all projects to ensure compliance with OPS design criteria, standards, programs, policies, and procedures.

The Safety Program is responsible for safety training and audits, providing staff with relevant safety news and updates, and distributing personal protective equipment. The safety program ensures all OPS employees have the resources needed to ensure a healthy and safe work environment.

Hand over machine that scans fingerprints for security investigation.
A man stands in front of alarm panel to make repairs.
The visitor screening station at the entrance of a museum

Business Operations Division

This division is the central resource for all aspects of OPS’ financial management, communications, audits, technology, human resources, and procurement and property management.

  • Human Resources management includes oversight of all OPS recruitment, preemployment medical evaluations and drug testing, standardized promotion procedures, performance evaluations, centralized timekeeping, and policy administration.
  • Labor Employee Relations management provides guidance, consultation, and staff assistance to management on a variety of labor relations matters.
  • Security Administration includes the administration of security consultation and staffing contracts.
  • Budget Administration includes central management of annual budgets and related business processes for all OPS operations, maintenance, salaries, and expenses.
  • Internal Communications includes administration of all OPS internal and external websites, SharePoint sites, monthly newsletters, annual reports, and all official publications.
  • Contracting Oversight handles all OPS contracts.
  • All Procurement Programs handles the procurement of items such as officer uniforms, ballistic vests, and other equipment procurement.
  • Property Inventory Administration handles vehicles, boats, ATVs, uniforms, weapons, and technology/communication hardware for all of OPS.
  • OPS Internal Audits includes oversight of all Smithsonian staff exit clearances managed by OPS, plus monthly inspections of Smithsonian control room safety and loading docks.
  • Smithsonian Lost and Found Program is the central management of the Lost and Found program for all Smithsonian Museums, including tracking, storage, and return/destruction of found items.
  • Smithsonian Staff Parking Program handles the administration of the daily staff parking program for three Smithsonian parking lots.
  • OPS Technology Program administration includes the Smithsonian critical and sensitive security systems such as museum visit counts, iAuditor system, and Security Incident management tracking.
  • Organizational Development & Training is responsible for all staff training within the Training Academy, including basic entry-level training, on-the-job training, formation bulletins, CPR/First Aid, and organizational development. This division ensures all staff meet the commissioning requirements in order to fulfill their mission of protecting Smithsonian’s visitors, staff, and collections. 


Two OPS employees laugh while shaking hands, one is wearing a safety suit.
Two OPS Employees standing with a simulated fire for fire extinguisher training
Four rows of OPS Officers wearing uniforms salute to the flag during their swearing in ceremony.

Security Operations Division

The OPS Operations Division oversees the security and police operations in the Smithsonian facilities that display exhibitions to the public, collection storage areas and leased facilities, as well as Smithsonian research facilities around the world. Additionally, it liaises with partnering outside agencies, administers the issuance of perspective reports, and directs all alarm reporting and response functions.


  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Leased Facilities: Capital Gallery, Crystal City, Victor Building, L’Enfant Plaza
  • Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture 
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • National Museum of American History 
  • Renwick Gallery
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Castle)
  • South Quad and Freer Gallery of Art
  • Watch Commanders
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture 
  • National Museum of Natural History 
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center – Edgewood, Maryland
  • Museum Support Center – Suitland, Maryland
  • Pennsy Collections and Support Center – Landover, Maryland
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) – Panama
  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum – New York
  • National Museum of the American Indian – New York
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer – Herndon, Virginia
  • National Air and Space Museum and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • The Smithsonian Ceremonial Honor Guard
  • National Museum of the American Indian – Washington, DC
  • National Postal Museum
A Zoo Police Officer walks with a small child as they hold hands.
Two OPS Officers in uniform embrace and smile for the camera.
Two OPS Officers stand in front of the Giant Panda sign at the zoo while wearing uniform.
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