Thursday, April 7, 2011

Information Management Systems

Commerically available IMS use information technology to create a detailed database that helps FSOs track classified material through many dispositions from receipt, inventory requirements and final disposition. Some produce receipts, tie to a barcode scanner, report statistical data that can help determine use and much more. For example, if an inventory reveals missing classified information, the database can provide valuable information to help reconstruct the classified information’s history.

Databases can be tied to scanner software. Barcodes can be printed and applied to classified items for scanning. If an item is destroyed, shipped, filed, loaned or returned, it can be scanned and the status updated. These databases provide reports identifying when and where the barcode on the classified document was scanned and the last disposition. The FSO can use the technology to research dates, methods of receipt, contract number, assigned document number, assigned barcode, title, classification, copy number, location, and name of the receiver as follows:

  •  Date of Receipt or Generation-This information is recorded to indicate the day the document arrived. It can be used as the countdown date for an inventory requirement or as a timeline or search method in case an employee needs to retrieve it. If a document cannot be easily traced, those conducting the inventory can use the date in reference to narrowing down search locations or options
  • How Received-Did the classified item arrive through USPS mail, overnight delivery, courier, hand carry, electronic means, derived from other research, printed or duplicated? This information is important to the FSO for use during DSS’s annual review.
  • Contract Number-Contract numbers are important in situations where a contractor may have hundreds of classified contracts including directions that the material classified at certain levels must be stored separately. This added column can assist with determining need to know, quick retrieval of receipts, records or the classified item itself. Additionally, the FSO can pull documents by contract number to return to customer during contract closeout.
  • Document Number-Cleared contractors operating an IMS can generate an internal document number for classified information entering the company.
  • Barcode-The barcode is an excellent tool for document filing, retrieval, inventory and internal tracking for cleared contractors with large inventories of classified information.
  • Unclassified Title-Unclassified titles should be used. If a receipt arrives with a classified title, the receipt will have to be protected as classified. If an unclassified title is not possible or desired, arrangements will have to be made to protect all records and receipts with the classified information annotated. The classified title cannot be put on an unclassified database.
  • Classification Level-Data with the classification identified helps during the retrieval process. Classified information with the additional designations or caveats of: FGI, NOFORN, INTEL, NATO and others should be filed separately according to regulations and contract requirements.
  • Copy Number-Copy numbers are used for multiple copies of existing classified material. For example, five copies of the same type of classified document could arrive or be duplicated on site. For example, XYZ Contractor number’s their documents sequentially. Document number 35601-02 is the 35,601st document entered into the system. Additionally, the -02 identifies it as the second copy of that document.
  • Location or Disposition-The exact location of classified material helps with the easy retrieval. To log a document into accountability with no location is fine for companies possessing a limited amount of documents. Those contractors or agencies with multiple documents and possible locations will want to identify the assignment for quick retrieval. An additional data field can be used to input shelf, GSA container, room or building number. 

 FSOs may also want to track the use of classified information checked out of a central location. This is similar to what a library does. Tracking the check out dates can help reconstruct where and when a document is used to find lost documents, help enforce need to know and provide better document control.


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