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Security Clearance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Praetorian Secure DoD Personnel Security FAQ page, commonly referred to as frequently asked questions page. Populated with excellent clearance FAQ’s to help you answer questions you have related to gaining a DoD Personnel Security Clearance.

1.Benefits of having an FCL/PCL

  • Greater Control
  • Operational Improvements
  • Additional Revenue

2.What is Industrial Security?

  • The National Security Industrial Program (NISP) is a partnership between the U.S. federal government and private industry to safeguard classified information.
  • The NISP is governed under Executive Order 12829.
  • http://www.archives.gov/isoo/oversight-groups/nisp/

3.What does the NISP consist of?

  • Facility Security Clearance (FCL) – the highest security clearance level a company or business possesses
  • Personnel Security Clearance (PCL) – the security clearance level held by individuals at a company or business that has a FCL

4.Who administers the NISP?

  • The NISP is administered by the Defense Security Service (DSS).
  • Each company that is cleared has a Facility Security Officer (FSO) who is responsible for implementing, maintaining and inspecting the IS program.
  • The FSO must be a U.S. citizen, and must be eligible for a security clearance at the highest level her company is authorized to operate at.

5.How does a company get its' FCL/PCL?

  • Businesses and companies that wish to compete for classified contracts to support the U.S. government must get sponsored, or a sponsorship.
  • There are two ways to get a sponsorship:
    • U.S. government
    • Cleared contractor

6.What happens when the sponsorship request is sent?

  • Whoever initiates and signs the letter sends it to the DSS via email, USPS, or fax.
  • DSS assigns the case to a local DSS office; the office assigns an Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep)
  • The IS rep is a U.S. government special agent who investigates the company and its employees to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements for obtaining the company and personnel security clearances
  • If the company receives its FCL/PCL, the IS rep works with the FSO to get her trained, establish her program, conducts periodic inspections, and is generally available to answer any industrial security questions the FSO may have in administering her IS program

7.How long does it take for a company and employees to get the FCL/PCL?

  • It depends upon several factors. They are:
    • The level of security clearance requested
    • The number of employees investigated
    • Whether the company is foreign-owned and/or controlled
    • Whether the company will store, process, safeguard and distribute classified information at it’s location, or only at government facilities that are secure
    • How many cases the IS rep currently has in her caseload
    • If any employees require additional investigation
    • And more

    In general, it can take several months to a couple years to get the FCL/PCL. No two requests are alike.

8.How much does getting the FCL/PCL cost?

  • There is no charge to the company being sponsored and investigated. Every sponsorship request letter must have the acquisition document number and title listed. Valid acquisition documents include:
    • RFI
    • RFP
    • RFQ
    • Task Order
    • SOW
    • Contract

9.What sort of resources are required to establish and maintain a company's IS program?

  • At least one FSO per company.

10.How much time do the FSO duties require?

  • It depends upon the size of the company, the number of classified contracts, and the number of employees that must be investigated for security clearances.
  • For small companies, the FSO may only need to devote 5 – 10 hours per week to stay on top the IS program.
  • For large contractors, the FSO is a full-time in-house position, and she may also have a full-time assistant FSO.

11.What are the training requirements for the FSO?

  • She has mandatory online and in-person training that is required by the DSS.
  • FSO training requirements may be increased, depending upon the updated program requirements from the DSS.

12.How much does it cost for the company to get its' FCL/PCL?

  • There is no cost to the company being sponsored for its’ FCL/PCL.

13.How does a company keep its clearance?

  • The business or company must always have at least one active contract that requires access to classified information in order to maintain its FCL/PCL with the DSS.