Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Classified Visit

Let’s test your knowledge of international operations. The following situation is fiction, but is based on issues facing businesses everyday. This situation is tricky enough with unclassified contracts, but the addition of possible classified work may complicate the issue. Try to answer the following question:
As the security manager of a classified facility, you have many responsibilities including approving classified visits. Not a problems since most visit requests are handled through agency approved data bases such as JPAS. Besides, you have a very large staff and the process is pretty much routine until….
A program manager enters your office and informs you that her foreign customer wants to send an employee to work onsite on a classified program for six months. The program manager wants you to give her a visit request form that the foreign company can use to submit a visit request. You think about this for a moment and realize that though the situation is unusual, it should be a workable solution. Do you provide the visit request form? Why or why not?
In the course of business, it is not unusual for a foreign entity to request a visit to a U.S. company. Foreign business employees may desire to visit a U.S. contractor in furtherance of a contract. When the business is related to a classified contract, involves classified information or relates to a government to government agreed upon plant visit, the foreign entity requests the visit through their embassy. The only way these types of visits are authorized is through government to government channels. Unclassified visits are sent through commercial channels and are conducted through licenses with the Department of State or the Department of Commerce.
Visit requests submitted by a foreign entity pass through their government channels to the U.S. government for approval. The U.S. government agency having jurisdiction over the classified contract submits the request to the U.S. contractor for their approval. The request also includes guidance and limitations of the information and items the foreign national will be allowed to access. The contractor reviews the limitations and determines whether or not they concur with the request. The contractor has the final say of whether or not the foreign national will access their facility.
Security managers, exports compliance officers, technology control officers, etc will face more challenges as our market becomes global. The next topic we will discuss is once a visit is authorized. What does a contractor need to do in preparation for the visit? How does one prepare employees and the visiting foreign person from exporting unauthorized technical data.

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