Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Contract Security Classification Specification

As we have addressed over the course of this blog space, industrial security specialists and FSO’s play a vital role in protecting our Nation’s secrets. Aside from guidance in the NISPOM, there is another critical piece of information necessary to practicing good classification management; enter the DD Form 254.
The Contract Security Classification Specification (DD Form 254) is a basic agreement between the Contractor/Subcontractor and the User Agency. It conveys the security classification specifications and guidelines for classification, regrading, and downgrading of documents used in the performance of a classified contract.
This agreement authorizes access to classified information in performance of a contract. The DD Form 254 will be provided to both the supplier and cognizant security offices when work is subcontracted to a supplier/vendor requiring access to or generation of classified material.
So why is this important to you? First of all it provides authorization for a contractor company to hold and or perform on classified contracts. The DD 254 justifies the need to access classified information and how and where the contractor is expected to perform. This justification also addresses the level of clearance at which the facility and employees should be approved.
It also provides the following information:
• The classification level the work will be performed.
• Any caveat access or any special briefing needed.
• Whether we can receive or generate classified information at our facility.
• Whether or not AIS processing is allowed.
• Exchange classified information/or visit another facility.
• Classify/declassify information and what Security Classification Guides will be used.
• Disposition of classified material involved with the contract
• Whether or subcontracting is authorized
• Any other requirements as set forth by the User Agency.
The DD Form 254 is and should be important to you as the security manager. This tool cuts through the fog of classification management and if addressed correctly, provides a detailed expectancy. This will allow you to better control and account for the materials supporting the work. The DD Form 254 serves as a basis for constructing a detailed and efficient security awareness program.
Be familiar with the contract(s) you are working on. Know the contract numbers as well as what is allowed since each contract is unique. Be able to provide contract or subcontract numbers to security for logging in documents, processing clearances, and preparing visit requests. Better yet, use this tool to become and expert on protecting what your company has been awarded.
The FSO is most effective when involved prior to the contract award. During the premeetings, the FSO can coordinate with other business units and the customer to contribute and request critical information involved in the performance of the contract. The earlier the involvement, the more detailed and less confusing the requirements of the contract.

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