Monday, May 9, 2016

Supplemental Controls and Closed Areas

A secret is diluted by the square of the number of those who have heard it-Robert Half

This article continues the series covering of the Defense Security Service (DSS) Self Inspection Handbook for NISP Contractors. Now we'll review the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), Paragraph 5-303. This is another installation from the handbook under the topic of M. Classified Storage
Are supplemental controls in place for storage of SECRET material in Closed Areas? 

The NISPOM states:

5-303. SECRET Storage. SECRET material shall be stored in a GSA-approved security container, an approved vault, or closed area. Supplemental controls are required for storage in closed areas.

While those in the know understand what supplemental controls are and how to find them, the NISPOM in general does not identify or discuss supplemental controls until later in Paragraph 5-307 and in more detail in Section 9. A scan of the NISPOM table of contents should help. Another good idea is to download the electronic NISPOM and conduct a word search.

Supplemental Controls

Supplemental controls are intrusion detection systems (IDS) or an approved guard force. These controls are required for SECRET stored in closed areas and all TOP SECRET information. However, the NISPOM does not require supplemental controls standards for SECRET stored in GSA approved container when the CSA has determined that the GSA-approved security container or approved vault is located in an area of the facility with security-in-depth.

Closed Areas

Closed areas are great for storing bulk information that may not fit in a security container. As mentioned earlier, in situations where SECRET material is stored in a closed area without a GSA approved container, it does require supplemental protection. These closed areas require access control either with an ever present, cleared employee checking a roster or through a supplanting access control system such as biometrics, access card, pin number, and retina scan readers. The NISPOM does say that supplemental protection is not necessary at the time when the work area is occupied. It makes sense as cleared employees would be tripping IDS every time they breathed.

According to DoD Security Clearance and Contracts Guidebook, closed areas are a more permanent solution for possessing facilities and when classified items are difficult to store in a GSA approved container. When unique sizes and shapes do not fit into conventional GSA container storage capability, the FSO should seek approval from DSS for open shelf or bin storage.

Physical security measures employed in a closed area prevents unauthorized access at any time. Reinforced doors, windows and other access points should be installed to prevent anyone from easily breaking in or going around current security precautions. DSS approves new construction, modifications, and repairs of closed areas.

Though closed areas are built to standard, approved by the cognizant security agency, and inspected, they cannot be assumed theft proof. Supplemental controls close the loop on security during off duty times.


1. Written security policy for application of NISPOM Paragraph 5 Section 9 with Intrusion Detection Systems.
2. IDS records, incidents and results
3. Written policy for the use of Security Guards if in use
4. Document Security Guard Patrol Schedule and Results
5. Copy of properly completed Alarm System Description Form
6. Cognizant Security Agency approval for open bin storage
7. Security training includes use of supplemental controls

8. Supplemental control policy

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