Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NISPOM Security Programs Improved With 5 Elements

Good things happen where preparation and opportunity meet. Of course you can’t control the opportunity part, but you can always be ready when it does come knocking. In this case, the opportunity is the chance to get a SATISFACTORY or higher rating from Defense Security Services (DSS). Preparation is what you do to meet the minim standard, apply enhancements for higher ratings and demonstrate the implementation. The opportunity knocks on your door during the annual DSS review.

By applying the five “Elements of Inspection” that are common to ALL cleared companies participating in theNISP, and the additional elements that might be applied at unique cleared facilities, facility security officers can control the opportunity a bit better. According to DSS’ The Self-Inspection Handbook for NISP Contractors, the five elements are:

(A) Facility Security Clearance (FCL)

(B) Access Authorizations

(C) Security Education


(E) Classification

Using the DSS publication as the intended guidebook, FSOs can glean important information and ideas for applying the elements to their own facilities. This guidance just doesn’t get the cleared contractor ready for the inspection, but when applied, it solidifies a sound and proven security program.

A goal is not usually a plan, it’s just a target. A goal might be to win the coveted DSS Cogswell Award, but without preparation, it’s just a hope; and hope’s no strategy. A driver just can’t just claim that they will travel to California from Washington, DC. They don’t just walk out to their car, point it toward the setting sun and say, “I declare I will be in LA by next Tuesday.” Without some sort of map or GPS, that western route will be fraught with obstacles and failure. A good plan will help them navigate those way points.

A strategy focused on the five elements is a great place to start. Each element is a way point that lets FSOs know where they are and what is needed to get to the next way point. Additionally, DSS will be following the same logic as they perform a vulnerability assessment on the cleared facilities. They will follow the same road map to determine the state of security as related to those elements.

Understanding the requirements of protecting classified information and applying the elements to the cleared facility is fundamental. In past, I’ve written articles about using these elements to determine cleared facility type, how to conduct targeted security training, how to use elements to build an ISP Certification exam study program and more. This next series of articles will address each element individually and give application that most FSOs can adopt.

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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