Friday, July 1, 2011

Security Clearances and the Real Deal

     "Jeff, I need to submit a security clearance request. What do I need to do?" one of our employees asked.
     "First of all, you need justification. Can you tell me a little why you need a clearance? We can get started that way."
     "Sure, I'd like to have a clearance to apply for a new job. Let's just keep that last part to ourselves."
     "No problem, I won't tell people you are job hunting, but I won't be able to process a clearance for you," I responded. I tried really hard not to laugh.
    “Really?” he asked incredulously.
     Security clearances should only be requested for employees who have a valid reason, such as fulfilling actual classified work. Requesting clearances for the sake of having a clearance is no good reason to initiate a security clearance request.
Some other bad security clearance ideas include:
  •      To be able to enter a secure area for convenience
  •      To be more competitive
  •      Because everyone else does
  •      To get access to a military customer
  •      To get a raise

     The National Industrials Security Program Operating Manual NISPOM is clear about keeping security clearances to the minimum amount necessary to efficiently perform on a classified contract.
     A good way to justify clearances is to develop a company policy which includes a security clearance verification form. I developed one such form that helped put the ownership (of security decisions) on the manager and first level executives. You can use the form below to improve your security clearance verification program.
      This form requires a supervisor’s nomination of an employee for security clearance. It can also be used for the periodic review. Here’s how it works, the supervisor identifies the employee who needs a clearance and the clearance level. They also provide justification for the clearance. Once complete, they obtain signatures from key management personnel and turn in the signed form to the FSO. The FSO can file the form for DSS inspections.

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