Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How do defense contractors justify security clearances

How are security clearances granted? Why does the Government grant security clearances? How does the Government assign security classification? Who is eligible for a security clearance? First of all, classified information must be protected. Part of the protection is to ensure only properly investigated and vetted cleared employees with need to know get access to classified information.

Defense contractor employees are required to have a personnel security clearance (PCL) and need to know before being granted access to classified information. The PCL is also related to a facility security clearance (FCL) held by the cleared contractor they work for. Respectively, the defense contractors are required to have a FCL prior to performing on classified contracts. What does this mean? It means the cleared contractor and cleared employee has been thoroughly investigated and properly vetted before even being considered eligible to receive classified information.

Defense contractors and their employees cannot apply for a security clearance for the sake of having a security clearance. They must be sponsored by a Prime Contractor or Government Contracting Activity (GCA). The FCLs are granted to defense contractors and PCLs are awarded to their employees only after an investigation and adjudication. Therefore, think of a security clearance as the administrative determination that someone is eligible from a national security basis for access to classified information.

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