Contrary to misleading statements made elsewhere on the World Wide Web, the U.S. federal government charges companies nothing to grant them facility clearances (a.k.a. facility security clearances). Nor does it cost companies anything for their employees to gain their individual personnel security clearances.

As for the true costs of facility clearances, this varies. For companies that hold a facility clearance but do not possess classified information at their facility, the physical safeguards required are minimal and cost little. For companies possessing (termed “safeguarding”) Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret classified national security information, the physical security measures are more substantial and more costly; so, too, are the requirements for the facility’s security program. In either case, an employee of the company must be designated the Facility Security Officer to run the security program in accordance with federal regulations. The time this employee must devote to the security program should be considered as a cost of sorts.

We can help with understanding these costs and establishing a sound security program, however an employee of your company must still be designated the Facility Security Officer (FSO). To designate a consultant or contractor the FSO violates clause 1-201 of the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM).