Sunday, October 14, 2012

How do cleared contractors reproduce classified information?

John has a TOP SECRET document that he needs to copy and provide to attendees at a program meeting. He brings the issue to his program manager.

"Jane, I need to make copies of this document for the next critical design review. I think I'll need six copies, do you need some as well?" asks John.

Jane says, "No, but make sure you use the correct copier and store the copies in the TOP SECRET safe."

Just then the FSO walks by and overhears the conversation.
"Hi guys, are you talking about that TOP SECRET document? If so, you forgot one very critical step...."

Do you know what step the FSO is referring to?

Let's break this down to where we are on equal footing concerning the reproduction of classified material for all levels. Reproduction of any classified information should be kept to the minimum amount necessary. After all, we don't need to have our staff, resources, time and money tied up with protecting large volumes of unnecessary documents. It's just good business and national security practice to limit reproduction.

The reproduction of TOP SECRET information should not only be limited to the amount necessary, but related strictly to contract deliverables.  In other words, in the above dialog the TOP SECRET document can only be reproduced for the critical design review if it is a deliverable or otherwise with the consent of the Government Contracting Activity. Of course the next logical step is to ensure that the reproduction is limited to the amount necessary.

Now, what else is a factor to consider EXCLUSIVE to TOP SECRET? Here is a hint; TSCO.

The TOP SECRET Control Officer (TSCO) is responsible for maintaining accountability for TOP SECRET information. NISPOM 5-603 spells out that contractors must maintain records of TS reproduction for 2 years. SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL information does not have this requirement (it is, however, a great idea to account for the reproduction of SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL information in an information management system)

The FSO in the above situation correctly guided John and Jane in the right direction. Though they were going to copy and store the TS properly, they had not considered coordination with the TSCO. Always ask for assistance from the TSCO so they can account for, mark, and add copies to the document control system.

For more information about NISPOM Training, FSO Training or protecting classified contracts, visit

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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