An organization’s eligibility for a facility security clearance (FCL) is determined in large part by whether the government deems the organization to be under Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI). It is a common mistake for companies to assume that because they are owned by U.S. citizens or other U.S. organizations that the government would not consider them to be under Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI). Increasingly in the twenty first century, U.S. organizations and their key management personnel (KMP) are doing business with or providing service to foreign entities. This can constitute foreign control or influence and affect the U.S. organization’s eligibility for a facility security clearance.
Failing to take factors constituting foreign control or influence—in addition to foreign ownership—into consideration when a U.S. organization applies for or holds a facility security clearance can lead the U.S. government to deny or revoke the facility security clearance (FCL). Some examples of foreign control or influence that companies may overlook are:
• contracts or agreements with foreign (non-U.S.) entities
• revenue from foreign sources
• foreign persons having direct or indirect control over the selection of management personnel
• key management personnel consulting to or holding positions in foreign entities
If factors constituting Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI) are identified, an organization may still be eligible for a facility security clearance if it selects and implements an appropriate instrument or “action plan” to mitigate the foreign ownership or control. There are a number of different such action plans that the U.S. government recognizes, which we explain and analyze on this other page.