Security Clearance Process

Facility Security Clearance Processing Backlog


Flying under the radar because of all of the recent security clearance news, little has been written about the facility security clearance backlog that has impacted companies who need the clearance in order to perform work on classified contracts. A Facility Security Clearance (FCL) is an administrative determination that a facility (company) is eligible to access or store classified information at the same or lower classification category as the clearance being granted.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) is responsible for processing and granting FCLs on behalf of the U.S. Government and there are over 12,000 companies that currently have an FCL. These are established companies who work on multiple government contracts and have no problem with FCLs because they are always working on one classified contract or another. But what about new start-ups or companies who have never before worked on a classified government contract? When bidding on potential contracts one of the requirements is to be able to obtain an FCL. The kickback is that in order to have an FCL you have to be sponsored for an FCL by a government agency for a contract that requires it.

The rumble on the street is that DSS is backlogged with processing new FCL applications. Some reasons for this are the new foreign ownership control, or influence (FOCI) requirements, an increase in the number of applications, everyone still getting used to the new e-FCL (electronic) process, and not having enough industrial security specialists to process the applications. What does this mean for the company? It may delay them being able to start work on classified projects, which costs time and money for the company, as well as for the cleared employees.