Sunday, April 19, 2009

Performing Security Checks in Defense Contractor Organizations

Try this question out and see if you know what to do. Better yet, if you are a security manager or facility security officer, run the following scenario by your cleared employees: Your colleagues leave for lunch. On their way out, they inform you that you are going to be the only one left. Your facility is authorized to store classified materials. What will you check for prior to leaving? Which form will you sign?

The end of day security check lists play a critical role in protecting our classified items as well as personal, proprietary and company sensitive material. The end of day checklist is a procedure required in the NISPOM and other federal agency regulations. However, they could be implemented in any situation where privileged or sensitive items prove vulnerable to theft or espionage.

Though the checklist is signed daily, it should not be signed just for the sake of compliance or "checking the block". This signature should only be annotated as a result of completing the activity. "Check the block?" you might ask. Let me share with you a real life situation.

I had a discussion with a security employee who indicated that he signs the end of day checks because he is required to do so. I had observed him walking up to the SF 701 and checking the boxes indicating that the coffee pot had been turned off, the windows had been locked, the printer and desk tops had been cleared of sensitive items and the security container had been locked. Keep in mind, that he had performed no such checks.

I pressed him on the reasons he signed the check list, and he stated because he was required to do so "by the regulations."
"But why do you perform the checks," I had asked a second time.
"Because when the inspection comes due, I want to show we are in compliance.'
"But, you never actually performed the checks, you just signed the sheet."

Each and every end of shift, or prior to leaving an area where sensitive items would other wise be left unattended, ensure it is properly secured. This means checking desks, printers and trash cans for sensitive items; locking windows and doors; and implementing physical security. Each activity must be performed with equal enthusiasm as on the first day on the job. Use the check list as a guide and experience as a resource to protect sensitive information.

Our security roles can easily become routine if we lose focus. This lack of focus could lead us to forget why we perform. We are appointed to "implement and direct security programs to..." The second part of our description is the most important, "...protect classified information." Unfortunately too many people believe, " pass inspections."

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Jeffrey W. Bennett is the owner of Red Bike Publishing ( He is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. Published books include: "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual"-Red Bike Publishing

Visit our site often for in formation on the upcoming book "Managing the Security of Classified Information and Contracts".

About Red Bike Publishing: Our company is registered as a government contractor company with the CCR and VetBiz (DUNS 826859691). Specifically we are a service disabled veteran owned small business.

Jeffrey W. Bennett
Author of ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual
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