Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Cleared Defense Contractor Performance and How to Protect Classified Information Fundamentals By: Jeffrey W. Bennett, SAPPC, SFPC, ISOC, ISP


Cleared Defense Contractors use classified information during performance of contracts. The Department of Defense makes the rules and governs how the classified contractors protect classified material. The Federal Government has published a policy appropriately titled: The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM). This page turner is sponsored by the Presidential Executive Order (E0)12829 for the protection of information classified under E.O. 12958, As Amended. Having poured over both publications and the updates, I can confidently assure you that they take this business very seriously.

    When specific work declares performance objectives on classified efforts, provisions of the applicable DD Form 254 and Security Classification Guide (SCG) shall govern. Both the DD 254 and SCG spell out what specific work a contractor can and cannot perform, what exactly is classified and how to protect it. Both of these documents not only should be available prior to execution but read and understood by all performing employees.

    Classified information is marked with CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET designations and must be afforded protection at the appropriate level. For example, unauthorized disclosure of CONFIDENTIAL information could reasonably be expected cause damage; SECRET could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage; and TOP SECRET could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. Prior to discussing or providing classified data, cleared employees are required to ascertain the receiving party’s clearance level and need-to-know. 

   Facility security officers and industrial security professionals should develop measures to safeguard classified information at the highest level indicated. Employees should be trained to perform on these contracts based on NISPOM Guidance. This training includes:

Non Disclosure Agreement (SF 312)

Derivative Classifier

Security Awareness Initial and Annual Refresher

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 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 "How to Get U.S. Government Contracts and Classified Work", "ISP(R) and ISOC Master Exam Prep", and NISPOM/FSO Training".

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