Sometimes no matter how careful we are, we forget. It’s not in our nature to multitask so much that we aren’t aware of our surroundings, but we’ve been conditioned to do more with less. Work is frequently interrupted by phone calls, impromptu meetings, or overcome by events as coworkers and email compete for our time. We are doing more busy work, but may not be learning skills necessary to keep our focus.
Security specialists, compliance officers, FSOs and others in positions of responsibility are depended upon to keep situational awareness. Items and information of national security importance must be safeguarded to the standards of the National Industrial Security Program. This includes proper markings, storage, and protection when hand carrying, mailing or otherwise transmitting from one cleared facility to another.
Some FSOs can attest to keeping guardian intense focus on classified information. However cleared employees who perform the actual contract work may not always maintain the laser focus. The interruptions mentioned earlier can compete for their attention and possibly cause them to temporarily forget they are in possession of sensitive information or to spin the combination or shut the GSA approved security container.
When such incidents occur, investigations, security awareness training and after action reports can help to change behavior and improve the security environment. Also helpful are reminders that classified information is unsecure. These can be door hangers, desk tents, combination reminders and OPEN/CLOSED security container or safe magnets.
Door hangers can be put on inside of doors to remind room occupants that they are in possession of classified information. If an interruption occurs, the cleared employees are reminded before they leave the area that classified is out. Desk tents work the same way. Additionally, door hangers can be placed outside of a door to notify other employees not to enter a room where sensitive work is being conducted.
Combination reminder magnets help prevent violations by helping authorized users remember words that relate to a combination. Additionally, OPEN/CLOSED safe or security container magnets remind employees that the safe may be unsecured. A blazing red 2 x 6 inch magnet will do the job.
While the FSO is focused on developing programs to protect classified items, cleared employees may need reminders. Simple things can help maintain the right amount of awareness and prevent security violations.