Wednesday, July 25, 2012
How Personnel Security Clearances are Granted
The Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) processes security clearances for organizations falling under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). According to Executive Order 12968—Access to Classified Information, employees should not be granted access to classified information unless they possess a security clearance, have a need to know the classified information involved, received an initial security briefing and have signed a nondisclosure agreement.
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
The Facility SecurityOfficer (FSO) is a position that the defense contractor must appoint during the Facility Clearance (FCL) approval process. The FSO implements a security program to protect classified in information. They also request investigations for employees who require a security clearance. What this means is, all cleared contractors must appoint an FSO. It could be the business owner in a small organization or an employee with an additional duty. The primary qualifications of an FSO are to be a US Citizen and have a PCL at the same level as the FCL. It is possible for an FSO to be the sole employee in the company.
The contractor and Defense Security Services (DSS) have joint responsibilities with the Personnel Clearance (PCL) process as they do with the FCL process. When the FCL is being granted, key employees should complete a Questionnaire for National Security Positions, also known as Standard Form (SF 86). Part of the process includes ensuring that the applicants are US Citizens. They should submit the application to the FSO who then submits applications to DISCO. An investigation is conducted and the central adjudication facility (CAF) makes a security clearance determination. The determination is then entered into the Joint Personnel Adjudication (JPAS), the Department of Defense provided system where security clearance information is stored. Other government organizations may have different systems. Once entered into JPAS, the FSO can grant access based on need to know and the clearance level.
The SF 86 is where the applicant can affect the speed of the security clearance process. A properly filled out application form is the key. Incomplete or inaccurate information is the number one cause of clearance delays. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth for relatives should be gathered as background research. Fortunately the SF 86 form is online and requires only filling out once. When a clearance is up for renewal, the applicant can log in their SF 86 and make updates.
DSS and FSOs use JPAS to update personnel information. This system allows instantaneous updates of records as well as notification of access, denial or revocation of clearances. At the time of this writing, there are more than 89,000 users of JPAS and 23,000 are from defense contractors.
Not everyone investigated is guaranteed a security clearance. In some instances a clearance can be denied, revoked or suspended. The employee’s background is investigated thoroughly for the initial clearance and again every five to fifteen years while maintaining a clearance and depending on the required security clearance level. In the event that a security clearance is denied, suspended or revoked, DSS will also notify the FSO. The FSO will then deny access to classified material to that employee and update JPAS.
See more in our books "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook"