Saturday, May 3, 2008

Managing Classified Contracts

Since allowing industry to use classified information on the performance of contracts, the Department of Defense regulates a contractor's ability to work with classified material. They have published a policy appropriately titled: The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual. This page turner is sponsored by the Presidential Executive Order (E0)12829 for the protection of information under E.O. 12958. Having poured over both publications and the updates, I can confidently assure you that they take this business very seriously.

When specific work calls out performance on these efforts, provisions of the applicable DD 254 and Security Classification Guide (SCG) shall govern. Both documents spell out what specific work a contractor can and cannot perform and what exactly is classified. Both of these documents not only should be available prior to execution but read and understood by all performing employees.

Classified information is marked with a classification designation and must be afforded protection at the appropriate level. For example, unauthorized disclosure of Confidential information could reasonably be expected cause damage; Secret could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage; and Top Secret could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. Prior to discussing or providing classified data, employees are required to ascertain the receiving party's clearance level and need-to-know. They will advise the receiving party of the classification level of information provided.

Protective measures exist to help protect our nation's classified information. This is done with the complete cooperation and coordination between the Facility Security Officer (FSO) contracts, program managers, the customer and other entities involved in this type of work. If working on a classified effort, the customer should provide the above mentioned documents specific to the contract or delivery order. Both publications identify the work to be performed and describe the classification level of materials, documents, tasks, and details as required. The FSO's job is to also work out details concerning the proper storage, handling and maintaining of classified material, documents and items.

For more information on security's, contracts, and a company's role in classified efforts, read the NISPOM and consult your Defense Security Services representative. You can also visit for information on security certifications.

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