Monday, November 15, 2010

Interpreting Requirements in the DD Form 254 and NISPOM

A cleared contractor can help reduce costs by preparing ahead of time. This is where an experience FSO can anticipate expenses, perform risk assessment while implementing NISPOM and advise on ways to reduce costs while being compliant. The more money saved on overhead expenses, the greater the overall company profit. The earlier into the process the assessment is conducted the better the company performs overall. Timing is the key as some of the security requirements depend on the approval of the CSA. Conducting the assessment or coordinating with DSS after the committing to the contract may place the contractor in the tough position of building “closed areas”, rooms for classified meetings, or ordering more GSA approved containers (safes) and meeting tough governmental compliance with short notice before being able to perform on the contract. Such late planning could prove costly.

The FSO works with managers and all within organization’s decision making process. This team consists of program managers, engineers, security, contract and other managers responsible for developing business with the prime contractor or GCA. This team, regardless of individual duty description or organization structure, speaks for the company and commits the company to perform as the contract specifies. As part of this group, the FSO provides information and guidance on protecting classified information in the process. This could translate into significant cost reduction.

Understanding how to advise and assist in the development of the DD Form 254 is fundamental. It provides the ground work for ensuring the GCA requirements are clear, applicable and understood. Since the government provides the protection requirements, getting in on the ground level development can only benefit the contractor.

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