Sunday, September 1, 2013

Security Education for both experienced and novice cleared employees

Why does everyone have to have the same training? Sure, every cleared employee receives the initial training and the annual refresher training, but do they have to be the same presentations? After all, we are not cut from the same cloth; we've got varying degrees of experience, right?

New Employees, New Clearance

Great questions and perhaps you have heard them from your employees. I know I have. In response, FSOs could consider dedicating more security awareness training to new employees who will have a security clearance for the first time. The rational is because they will be newly introduced to sensitive and classified government information under the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, they should learn the fundamentals:

The nature of classified material and how to protect itNotice of their responsibilities to protect classified information and the consequences of unauthorized disclosure
Recognizing and protecting U.S. and foreign government classified materialCriteria for authorizing access to classified information
Responding to classified information released to the public
Security chain of command and support structure for addressing security incidents and violations
Cleared employees on foreign travel 

Keep it fundamental and appropriate. For example, the newly cleared employee may not understand how to dial a combination or determine who to allow access to classified material. Without proper training, the newly cleared employees may make honest mistakes leading to security violations.

Cleared facilities with new employees who have already have security clearances

Cleared facilities with new employees who have already received security clearances still have a responsibility to provide the initial security briefing. The new employees may have experience protecting classified material, but there is no way to verify the type and strength of the experience. Unique contractual requirements may have specialized performance requirements. Therefore a modified security awareness briefing specific to the company policies as they relate to the
NISPOM may be in order. This briefing may focus more on the specifics of performance on classified contracts and less on security fundamentals.

Annual Refresher Training

In addition to the initial security briefing, cleared contractors are required to provide annual refresher training. This training should build upon the NISPOM fundamentals and on the job training. The training covers the same topics as the initial security briefing with the addition of any new changes in the NISP since the last training event. These changes occur anytime an executive order is amended; DSS updates regulations, or any other administrative or procedural updates affecting cleared facilities and employees.

Closer to home, the additional subjects could include security requirements of new classified contracts, updated security hardware, software, alarms or procedures impacting the work force. The addition of newly constructed facilities; updated emergency procedures and local security policies and procedures; addition of classified computer processing or any other new classified work introduced to the organization are excellent topics for training

A good security program might document continuous training on a recurring basis; not just one session per year. Whatever the frequency, the training should be documented to demonstrate each cleared employee’s participation.

Take a lesson from schools, as students progress in knowledge, so do courses in technical difficulty. Employees have varying skill levels and should be trained accordingly. Keep training fresh and alive, know your audience and seek to improve their skills. It will make your security program easy to manage.

For more training ideas, see DoD security Cearances and Contracts Guidebook
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . He regularly consults, presents security training, and recommends export compliance and intellectual property protection countermeasures. He is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. 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".

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