Information for the CIO, CSO, FSO, ISSO and other security professionals. Understanding NISPOM and ITAR compliance is tough. With over 12,000 cleared defense contractors, a majority of those don't have a security staff. We'll hope to help fill the gap. From security clearances to performing on classified contracts, you can find help here.
sending classified information via commercial carriers, the holder of the
classified information should gain approval of the intent to ship and the
method of shipment. Once the approval is
gained, the shipper should properly prepare the product and coordinate the
shipment with the government, shipper, and receiver.
classified shipments made only in accordance with the NISPOM or instructions
from the contracting authority?
NISPOM 5-408 addresses
SECRET Transmission by Commercial Carrier.
In an earlier article, “shipping Classified
Information with Commercial Carriers”, we discussed the coordinating
shipping with the DSS, government customer, and carriers. We also covered the
GSA website listing approved commercial carriers. This article assumes approval
to ship by commercial has been coordinated and begins the process of preparing
the classified information for shipment.
material should be prepared for transmission to provide protection against
compromise. Consider the requirements for packaging classified information for
shipment as discussed in the article, “Preparing
Classified Information for Shipment”, for those details.
As with smaller
packages that are easily wrapped in envelopes and boxes, larger items such as
weapon systems, vehicles, equipment and etc. should be prepared similarly with
hardened containers or equivalent unless the government authorizes an alternate
should request and receive all necessary approvals from the government. The government should
provide the shipper with the approved carrier and routing instructions from the
point of classified material pick up to the destination. Finally, the shipper
should coordinated the shipment with
the carrier and the intended receiver
Where the classified item(s) constitute a
full, load, compartment, crate, vehicle or other final packaging that
segregates items from other items in a shipment, numbered seals are
required. The numbers are also written
on the bill of lading for tracing and accountability at the receiving end. Any
discrepancies with seals, bills of lading, or inventory should be further
investigated and reported consistent with receiving any classified information.
According to NISPOM 5-408 the BL should
be annotated with the following wording: DO
NOT BREAK SEALS EXCEPT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR UPON PRIOR AUTHORITY OF THE
CONSIGNOR OR CONSIGNEE. IF FOUND BROKEN OR IF BROKEN FOR EMERGENCY REASONS,
APPLY CARRIER'S SEALS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY BOTH THE
CONSIGNOR AND THE CONSIGNEE.
Also on the BL: CARRIER TO NOTIFY THE CONSIGNOR AND CONSIGNEE (Telephone Numbers)
IMMEDIATELY IF SHIPMENT IS DELAYED BECAUSE OF AN ACCIDENT OR INCIDENT. IF
NEITHER CAN BE REACHED, CONTACT (Enter appropriate HOTLINE Number). USE HOTLINE
NUMBER TO OBTAIN SAFE HAVEN OR REFUGE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE EVENT OF A CIVIL
DISORDER, NATURAL DISASTER, CARRIER STRIKE OR OTHER EMERGENCY.
SECURITY SERVICE REQUIRED, on all copies of the BL and maintain the in a suspense file
to follow-up on overdue or delayed shipments.
Consistent with any classified
transmission (mail, fax, courier) the contractor (sender) notifies the
consignee (receiver and any U.S. Government Transhipper) of the shipment
details including the 5 W’s, specifically:
of the shipment
of the seals, if any
time and date of arrival by separate communication at least 24 hours in advance
As with classified mailing (see article “Preparing
Classified Information For Shipment”) the notification should be provided
to the address as found in the Industrial Security Facilities Database; identifying
the organization, office, entity and not a person.
Request that the consignee activity
(including a military transshipping activity) notify the consignor of any
shipment not received within 48 hours after the estimated time of arrival
indicated by the consignor.
1. Keep copies of the following government
Approval to ship
2. Keep signed shipping receipts and
bills of lading