Thursday, May 7, 2009

Preparing For Security Growth in a Defense Contractor Organization

Business growth affects the entire organization. The best thing that can happen in this case is for all the employees to be actively engaged in making the company successful. Each business unit doing its part to meet deadlines, supporting the contract or performing on the contract paves the way to overall success. The worst position for any unit to be in is failing to project the growth and causing a bottleneck in production.
When a defense contractor business grows, the engaged cleared facility security officer (FSO) is prepared for that growth. The constant development and maintenance of relationships with employees and key business units allows the FSO to forecast requirements for the storage of classified material, performance of classified work and the protection of the enterprises employees, products, and capital.
Preparing for growth involves the FSO not only training and hiring security employees, but accurately calculating classified inventory storage and work performance needs. Meeting legitimate growth is another area where an FSO should be injected into strategic planning. Contract opportunities present themselves in many variations. Classified projects, new facility or alternate locations with physical security needs and an increase in classified storage or volume are all concerns an FSO should be able to address. Such growth affects the security department and such input from the FSO benefits the organization in its entirety. However, if the FSO does not have credibility or influence, they will not be prepared to project the growth and will constantly be trying to catch up with the work. Such a posture costs plenty in company overhead.
Additional contracts or change in performance measures may require additional security personnel. A sudden growth in security storage, additional cleared projects, or added facilities, may necessitate more personnel to support the increased work load. Just as the organization lists job requirements FSO such as professional growth, management potential, technical competence, and skills, the FSO consider the same traits when preparing to hire additional help. Potential security professionals should not only be U.S. citizens with security clearances, but demonstrate competence in the tasks they are asked to do and a desire to perform. They should also have the ability to grasp and teach concepts of security to help keep the security fresh in the corporate culture.
The FSO and security specialists should work toward establishing operating procedures and a job performance description. New employees can become successful faster with formalized certification training. This training could reflect the companies policies as they support NISPOM requirements and the overall enterprise culture. It should be unique to the organization and lined with milestones that eventually allow new employees to work unsupervised after demonstrating an understanding of government regulations and company policy. During the education, the new employee can enroll in government provided on-line and residence training, lessons provided by company personnel and directly under their manager’s supervision. With a good training or certification plan in place, much of the employee’s success can be measured within the first 30 days.
New opportunities for growth can manifest through additional contracts, modification or renewal of current contracts. New requirements could call for additional facilities for the storage of classified material or the performance of unique work in closed areas. Whether constructing new buildings or modifying current facilities for unique classified work, the job calls for planning, budgeting, and compliance. The FSO is critical to forecasting the unique needs and regulatory requirements.
A successful, young company may not have all the facilities in place for future growth but should be constantly preparing for solutions. For example, suppose a defense contractor needs a conference room to host classified meetings. The FSO would research the requirements and estimated costs of such a conference room and present it to the executives and senior officers at a minimum. The FSO’s presentation would cover controls necessary to eliminate unauthorized disclosure. Such controls include: limited access to the room, the conference phone capabilities, the projectors, overhead ceiling panels, doors and other areas requiring protection measures and inspections. Finally approval form the cognizant security agency is necessary once the plan was complete.
The FSO also looks into their security organization to address internal growth. They would conduct research on where the largest growth potential concerning classified holdings would arise. Some resources or tools would be the database where classified information is logged. Such information would be used for a peek at where the company is in five years at the current growth rate.
Data base research can prevent hasty and inaccurate decisions. For example, an untrained employee may assume that growth would require additional storage shelves for paper documents. However, the security department may be generating and receiving more DVD media and fewer paper products as evidenced in receipts and file data.
The entire security department or one person FSO operation would dig deep to find information. Good databases can break down inventory by year, quarter, or any other necessary date range useful for projecting future needs. Such research could help identify classified information that can be destroyed or otherwise eliminated from storage. This would free space and save on future storage and inventory costs. Such a move can save tens of thousands of dollars annually in employee and storage costs.
As a manager of a vital business department, the FSO should be credible and influential. When an FSO does save on any costs by reducing overtime, saving electricity, or finding other alternatives while remaining compliant, these cost reductions should be reported. Understanding costs, contribution and business helps the FSO to gain credibility with executives who value their input.

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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

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