Friday, November 13, 2009

Changes to the National Industrial Security Program Impact Defense Contractors

Just five short years ago several changes came out almost simultaneously. The changes challenged the thinking of many security specialists because the ideas were so new. The proactive employees put plans into place that made the changes easier to implement within their organizations. The others found themselves implementing the changes at the last minute.
I cannot imagine working without the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS). However, when it first came out the protest was pretty loud. One of the many objections identified using JPAS to submit visit authorization requests instead faxing personal identifiable information to a hosting cleared facility. I heard one FSO comment that “need to know” could not be properly controlled by such an impersonal system. Though unfounded, such objections still needed to be met. T o prepare industry for the new process, Defense Security Services and professional organizations such as NCMS (Society of Industrial Security Professionals) began preparing ways to educate Facility Security Officers and other JPAS users. Now, JPAS is required throughout the Department of Defense.
Remember the thick personnel files? FSOs maintained huge volumes of cleared employee information. SF86 applications, medical and information release forms, SF 312 forms and more were packed into manila folders and stuffed into bulging lateral cabinets. I remember hearing of one security professional stating that they had requested a new lateral filing cabinet. Their supervisor balked at such an expense and the employee argued the need for it. Fortunately another employee who kept up with changes in the NISP reminded the two of a then recent change; the FSO could no longer maintain SF 86 information once a security clearance determination had been made. As a result, the cleared employee files withered to a few pieces of paper and some of the lateral cabinets were emptied.
The point here is that new changes are bound to come because of amendments to Presidential Executive Orders or policy updates. FSOs and security specialists should begin a plan immediately to implement the new requirements. While incorporating the changes into the security program, prepare another report of the impact to your organization. Will the new requirements increase costs of doing business or are there significant cost reductions? Document the findings and keep management informed. Finally, prepare to hi-light significant changes for presentation during annual security awareness training.


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