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  • Question

    Must a contractor (with only 1 employee) working on a services contract with foreign government information require a facilities security clearance? What if the contractor hires employees?


    Answer

    The following response is based solely on the question and background information provided.  As we do not have all the facts particular to your contract, program and situation, we highly recommend you consult your Contracting Officer and Legal Office for guidance.
     
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    Executive Order 12829, National Industrial Security Program, 6 January 1993,   established the National Industrial Security Program (NISP).  This National Industrial Security Program was created to safeguard Federal Government classified information that is released to contractors (ALL), licensees, and   grantees of the United States Government. To promote our national interests,   the United States Government issues contracts, licenses, and grants to nongovernment organizations.  When these arrangements require access to classified information, the national security requires that this information   be safeguarded in a manner equivalent to its protection within the executive   branch of Government.
     
    NISP has an operating manual, DoD 5220.22-M.  This manual provides baseline standards for the protection of classified information released or disclosed   to industry in connection with classified contracts under the NISP. Chapter 1, General Provisions and Requirements; Section 1-102a & b, Scope states:
    a.  The NISP applies to all Executive Branch Departments and Agencies and to   all cleared contractor facilities located within the United States and its territories.
    b.  This manual applies to and shall be used by contractors to safeguard classified information released during all phases of the contracting, licensing and grant process, including bidding, negotiation, award, performance and termination.  It also applies to classified information not released under a contract, license, certificate or grant, and to FOREIGN GOVERNMENT INFORMATION furnished to contractors that requires protection in the interest of national security.  DOES THE FOREIGN GOVERNMENT INFORMATION (SENSITIVE, UNCLASSIFIED) REQUIRE PROTECTION IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY?
     
     
    Chapter 2 discusses Facility Security Clearances as well as Personnel Security Clearances. Section 2-200(a), General states:
    a.  An employee may be processed for a PCL, WHEN THE CONTRACTOR DETERMINES THAT ACCESS IS ESSENTIAL IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TASKS OR SERVICES RELATED TO THE FULFILLMENT OF A CLASSIFIED CONTRACT.  A PCL is valid for access to classified information at the same or lower level of classification as the level of the clearance granted.
    b.  The Cognizant Security Agency(CSA) will determine eligibility for access   to classified information in accordance with the national standards and notify the contractor that eligibility has been granted.
     
    I suggest you contact your POC (Cognizant Security Office or Cognizant Security Agency) to determine if the foreign government information(sensitive, unclassified) requires protection in the interest of national security.  If it does, then you can follow the guidance in DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual.
     

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