Recently, we have been asked by several clients how to obtain a facility clearance and are providing the most common questions we have received.
What is a Facility Clearance License?
A Facility Clearance License (FCL) is not clearing a physical facility, but it is an administrative determination that a company or individual can be entrusted with classified information. It is also a prerequisite for personnel clearances and a clearance of Key Management Personnel who must have clearances at the same level as the FCL.
What are the types of classified information?
- Confidential – Information in which, if improperly divulged could cause some measurable damage to national security. Majority of military personnel are given this basic level of clearance.
- Secret – Information in which, if improperly divulged could cause grave damage to national security.
- Top Secret – Information in which, if improperly divulged (without authorization) could cause exceptional grave damage to national security.
Why is a Facility Clearance License Needed?
FCL’s are needed for contracts that may be classified, require access to classified information/data, or work is performed in a classified location.
How does a Company get a Facility Clearance License?
To get a FCL a company must be sponsored by either a Prime Contractor who already has their FCL or the Government Contract Agency. After a sponsorship letter along with a DD Form 254 is submitted, DSS* will conduct an investigation appropriate to the level of classified material. DSS will ensure the company is not debarred, identify the organizations structure (i.e. Corporation, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship), identify Foreign Ownership, Control, or Interest, and will identify and assist with security applications for Key Management Personnel (i.e. President/CEO, Chairman of Board, and Facility Security Officer). Also, the company will sign a Security Agreement stating they will comply with NISPOM, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, security requirements. Processing times range from 35 days to 1 year.
Five Essential Elements of FCL Process:
- Business Structure / Organization
- Foreign Ownership, Control, Interest (FOCI)
- Key Management Personnel
- Security Agreement
Additional Security Clearance Information and Resources: For additional information, please visit the following site: Facility Security Clearance (FAQs): http://www.dss.mil/isp/fac_clear/per_sec_clear_proc_faqs.html
*The Defense Security Service (DSS) is an agency of the Department of Defense (DoD) located in Virginia with field offices throughout the US. DSS provides the military services, Defense agencies, 24 federal agencies and approximately 13,300 cleared contractor facilities with security support services.
Ramiro is a Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) and as a Senior Consultant with Coley GCS, LLC, a Government Contracts Consulting, Coaching and Training company. Ramiro has over 10 years’ experience helping companies succeed with their GSA schedules.