Checklist for a New Facility Clearance

  • Sponsorship: The very first step in the FCL process is sponsorship. A contractor must be sponsored for a facility clearance by either a government contracting activity (GCA) or another cleared company. Contractors cannot sponsor themselves for a FCL.
  • DSS Begins the Process: Once the contractor sponsorship has been accepted in NISS, the system will send a Welcome Email initiating the process. Contractors are encouraged to review the PDF FCL Orientation Handbook located on the DSS homepage at www.dss.mil under the “Most Requested Links” section. The Welcome Email and FCL Orientation Handbook contain detailed information about the process, responsibilities, and critical deadlines. It is very important that contractors read and follow the instructions contained in the Welcome Email and the FCL Orientation Handbook.
  • Commercial and Government Entity Code (CAGE Code): DSS uses CAGE Codes to track basic facility information. If your company does not already have a CAGE Code, you can register with the System for Award Management (SAM) database to get a CAGE Code at https://www.sam.gov/. If a company does not have a CAGE code prior to initiation of the FCL process, significant delays or discontinuation of the process could occur.
  • Prepare for the Telephonic Survey: A member of the Facility Clearance Branch will be contacting you to schedule a telephonic survey. To prepare for this survey, you must be familiar with the guidance provided in the FCL Orientation Handbook. You are encouraged to collect and review your legal documentation discussed in the handbook prior to this call. A person familiar with the legal structure of your company as well as the Facility Security Officer should participate.
    • Upon review of your legal documentation, you are encouraged to start identifying the Key Management Personnel (KMP) for your company. KMP are discussed in detail in the FCL Orientation Handbook. Certain KMP are required to be cleared in connection with the facility clearance based off the legal structure of the company. To streamline the process, KMP who you believe will be required to be cleared, after reviewing the handbook, can start collecting information pertaining to their background investigation paperwork. To get an idea of what information will be required, KMP can visit the Personnel Clearance toolkit and review the form “SF 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions”. Please be aware that DSS will require proof of citizenship for any KMP that DSS will put in process for a background investigation.
    • You should also begin researching the best method for your KMP to obtain electronic fingerprints. There are many different ways to submit these fingerprints and details are provided in the e-QIP and Electronic Fingerprint Guide for In-Process companies.
  • Prepare for DSS' Orientation Visit:
    • NISPOM: Download the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM). Becoming familiar with the NISPOM will take a great deal of time and will, likewise, require a determined effort.
    • FSO/ITPSO Training: You are encouraged to visit the Security Toolkits under the “Most Requested Links” on the home page of www.dss.mil. These toolkits will provide information on required training for the FSO and the ITPSO. You are also encouraged to begin taking these courses.
  • DEFENSE SECURITY SERVICE FACILITY PROCESS FORMS: You will be required to complete certain forms as part of the facility clearance process. The DD Form 441 and the SF 328 are two of these forms. Please visit the Facility Clearance Toolkit for links to these forms. If you are a branch or division office, you will need to complete the addendum to the DD 441, called the DD Form 441-1. If you will be excluding parent companies or certain KMP, you will need to complete exclusion resolutions. Examples of these are located in the FCL Orientation Handbook.

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