Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shipping Classified Information with Commercial Carriers
This article continues the series covering the Self-Inspection Handbook For NISP Contractors and guidance found in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) Incorporating Change 2.  

When shipping classified information, the sender is responsible for requesting approval to use commercial carriers. The DSS or other Cognizant Security Agency (CSA) approves the use of commercial carriers. For overnight shipping, the Government Services Administration (GSA) provides a list of approved . 


Does the contractor use a qualified carrier, authorized by the Government, when shipping classified material?
5-408. SECRET Transmission by Commercial Carrier. SECRET material may be shipped by a cleared commercial carrier that has been approved by the CSA to transport SECRET shipments.

Cleared Commercial Carriers

Department of Defense contractors may use government approved commercial carriers to transport SECRET and below. When SECRET is to be delivered, the carrier must be approved and cleared to the SECRET level. CONFIDENTIAL can be transmitted by an approved uncleared carrier. The deliveries are not authorized for international travel and can only be made within the continental US or within Alaska, Hawaii and each territory with Government Contracting Agency providing routing information.

When requesting commercial carrier support, the contractor should notify the CSA of the proposed classified material to be shipped, the point of origin and the destination. The CSA will review the information and make an approval decision. If approved, the sender should notify the consignee and the shipping activity of the shipment and provide details of the type of shipment, information about shipping seals, and projected time of arrival. Further coordination should be made with the intended recipient to expect the delivery of classified material along with a projected timeline and what they should expect to receive. If the shipment does not arrive within 48 hours the receiver should notify the sender


Does the contractor use a qualified carrier, authorized by the Government, when shipping classified material?
5-408b. The contractor shall utilize a qualified carrier selected by the U.S. Government that will provide a single-line service from point of origin to destination, when such service is available, or by such transshipping procedures as may be specified by the U.S. Government.

 GSA Approved Overnight Delivery Service

SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL material may be sent using GSA approved companies. These services should not be used without DSS approval. When using an overnight delivery service, the FSO of the sending organization should alert the receiving organization that classified information will be arriving via overnight service. Though overnight carriers are approved through the GSA, the carrier companies do not need to hold a facility security clearance. The carriers are only required to meet requirements of tracking shipments.

Every precaution should be made to ensure that the overnight delivery will not arrive during a holiday or scheduled day off. The best method is to not deliver the day prior to a weekend or federal holiday unless the receiver is operating a mail room with cleared persons and the proper storage capability.


1. Produce request to CSA for commercial carrier use and the CSA response.
2. Produce receipts for classified shipments involving commercial carriers and / or GSA approved overnight shippers.
3. Provide policy and procedures for use of commercial carriers and / or GSA approved overnight shippers.
4. Provide documentation of signed receipts of classified information sent via commercial carrier and / or GSA approved overnight shippers.


Security Awareness, FSO and NISPOM Training

 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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