Nine recipients out of 13,000 cleared facilities nationwide earned the Cogswell Award this year. This award is the ultimate achievement for the security program at any cleared facility. How do winners do it? They develop a program that is worthy of such an achievement. Your company can do this too.
One requirement is to go “above and beyond” the requirements of the NISPOM. The hardest part is with institutional training and getting the rest of the organization on board with the security program. Setting security goals that everyone understands, creating an organization-wide security culture everyone can live with is extremely important. Institutional training also encourages your employees to report any and all security violations, suspicious contacts, and foreign travel, which will further enhance those efforts.
Being prepared for the annual security inspection by implementing a daily security management processes is the key to receiving a superior rating. An in-depth security process, which includes physical security, visitor control, and security education throughout the year will add to the success of your security program. Some methods include developing a monthly Security Newsletter, displaying Security Awareness Posters around your facility, and sending Security Related emails that remind employees about their Reporting Responsibility will put your security program above and beyond the requirements of the NISPOM. Self-inspections, end-of-day checks, well organized personnel files, current DD254s and proper JPAS records management system will boost your rating as well. In addition, an approved document control system (Information Management System) and a well-managed computer security program will demonstrate excellence to your DSS rep.
However, all of this preparation will be in vain unless you develop a partnership with your DSS rep. Taking the time to invite your DSS rep to your facility for an informal meeting and to introduce your staff will create a comfort zone when you have a security issue to discuss. It may also make the inspection a bit less stressful for you, because you have made the effort to get to know your rep. It is also important to demonstrate the complete support of your upper management for the security program. This can be accomplished by the display of proper locks, card access systems, front desk procedures for visitors, display of badges, and other visible signs that promote Security Awareness that would only be accomplished with full management support.
By developing a security program outlined in the NISPOM and approved by your DSS rep, the Cogswell Award is definitely a reachable goal for your company. Through DSS and your rep, you can obtain everything you need for your security program. You can also reach out to fellow security professionals and join security associations, such as NCMS and ASIS, to further enhance your security program and your security knowledge. Once you receive two consecutive superior ratings, your company is eligible to be nominated for the Cogswell Award by your DSS rep. The process is very rigorous and thorough, but entirely worth the effort!
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