Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Reasons FSOs Should Perform Self Inspections

Some would argue that self inspections are conducted ONLY at the midpoint between Defense Security Service (DSS) reviews. After all, that's the only requirement according to the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM). For possessing cleared facilities, the midpoint is 6 months from the next annual review. For non possessing, then 9 months from the 18 month review. However, if you wait until the midpoint, then you might be missing a great opportunity to proactively assess the state of security within your cleared contractor facility. Facility security officers (FSO) can take the initiative to incorporate the security program into the organizations makeup.

The following are Five valid reasons to conduct a self inspection:
  1. When a new FSO takes over-When I was in the army, we always held an inventory when someone on the hand receipt took over.  For example, when I took command, we walked through all the property to account for it being both on hand and able to perform its stated purpose. Without such accountability, the incoming commander might inherit problems they may not otherwise be aware of.
  2. The same logic applies to performing a self inspection. The incoming FSO should determine what kind of organization and security program they will inherit. The self inspection would indicate the state of classified documents on hand, whether or certifications, accreditations and required clearance documentation were current and on hand, what classified contracts exist, the status of cleared personnel, records and whether or not security policies are effective.
  3. Classified contracts newly awarded-The FSO and supporting personnel should be intimately knowledgeable of classified contract requirements. The DD Form 254, statement of work, security classification guides and classified work requirements notify cleared employees of their performance measures. The FSO should understand these requirements and how they impact the company, security program and training needs. Performing a self inspection will help the FSO understand whether or not current policies, procedures and program designed to protect classified information are effective.
  4. Changes occur in company, ownership, relocation-Anything affecting the facility security clearance or personnel security clearance should be reported to DSS. Changes in key management personnel, company relocation, re-designation of corporate structure, company buy out, foreign influence and loss of classified contracts are just a few. The self inspection process can indicate the impact the changes will have on how the company protects classified information. This will also assist the FSO and DSS on any reporting criteria, changes in documentation, or necessary security program adjustments.
  5. Problems in security program-FSOs are responsible for maintaining a security program designed to protect classified information. If any of the protection is not effective, security violations increase, or training is ineffective, a self inspection should be conducted to determine the root problem.

FSOs should use the self inspection to both check the state of security as well as understand how to better support classified contracts. Information derived from self inspections can be used as milestones to correct courses of action, improve training, and provide feedback to other managers. The FSO will better understand challenges, identify and fix, and advise the enterprise on improving performance. The FSO is the key to maintaining the facility clearance; the self inspection is a tool to measure effectiveness of programs.

Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . Jeff is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. He also owns Red bike Publishing. Published books include: "Get Rich in a Niche-Insider's Guide to Self Publishing in a Specialized Industry" and "Commitment-A Novel". Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training" See Red Bike Publishing for print copies of: Army Leadership, The Ranger Handbook, The Army Physical Readiness Manual, Drill and Ceremonies, The ITAR,and The NISPOM

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