Information for the CIO, CSO, FSO, ISSO and other security professionals. Understanding NISPOM and ITAR compliance is tough. With over 12,000 cleared defense contractors, a majority of those don't have a security staff. We'll hope to help fill the gap. From security clearances to performing on classified contracts, you can find help here.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Why should government employees and military personnel earn a security certification? There are several reasons to achieve certification. One of which allows security managers to take advantage of opportunities offered in the recent Presidential Executive Order: National Security Professional Development. The Executive order states: "In order to enhance the national security of the United States...it is the policy of the United States to promote the education, training, and experience of current and future professionals in national security positions (security professionals)..."
The National Strategy identified in the Executive Order provides a plan to give security professionals access to education, training to increase their professional experience in efforts to increase their skill level and ability to protect our nation's secrets.
The ISP Certification is sponsored by NCMS (Society for Industrial Security) a professional organization specializing in protecting classified information. The ISP holder demonstrates a high level of knowledge in this area. The certification is based on the National Industrial Security Professional Operating Manual (NISPOM) but also covers electives such as: COMSEC, OPSEC, and other topics.
The NISPOM may not be familiar to you, but the security functions identified within are. The NISPOM is the government contractor's guidance from DoD on how to receive, process and distribute classified information. It covers how to mark, document, store, disseminate and destroy classified as well as how to set up classified computing. If you have worked with contractors or plan to work with contractors, you should be familiar with the NISPOM. Chances are that you are already familiar with the processes from your military and government experiences.
This certified professional communicates to supervisors, the promotion board, and others that they are committed to the business, the industry and the protection of national interests. It equips the security manager with the knowledge and skills to perform critical tasks as well as relate well to what civilian counterpart requirements. Most of all, it gives the bearer confidence in their ability to apply their knowledge. As this certification program evolves, more and more employers will require the certification.
The ISP Certification Exam is an open book on line test consisting of 110 multiple choice questions and takes up to 120 minutes. There is a clock that keeps track of the time and the test times out automatically. You can download the NISPOM to your desktop and use it to help search the test questions.
The following websites offers the NISPOM, test taking tips, study materials and conference calls:
www.ispcert.com Offers study manual, online NISPOM and practice tests.
http://www.ncms-isp.org. Great information on how to sign up for the test.
What can you do to increase your experience and skills? Professional certification is a great move for security managers. Whether or not you will make the military a career, you will find this certification a career enhancer. With the advent of the new Executive Order, certifications may become requirements in the civilian sector and perhaps even in government security positions. Also, consider joining a professional security organization. There are national and international chapters of the American Society of Industrial Security International (ASIS) www.asisonline.org and NCMS www.classmgmt.com. Visit their websites for more information.
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