How to know if outsourced Site Security Manager support is right for your project
The Site Security Manager (SSM) is a central role to the completion of a SCIF or SAPF project. While the role does need to be filled by someone in-house, you can outsource SSM support services, which can help take over some of the SSM’s major responsibilities and offer guidance and expertise in other areas. So in what situations would you want to use these outsourced services, and what are the benefits and drawbacks?
Pro: Knowledge of Construction and Requirements
Often for smaller organizations, the SSM will be someone in the company like the Facility Security Officer (FSO) who is expected to juggle multiple responsibilities. However, they may not have the construction knowledge necessary to guide the facility to accreditation. Required documents including the Fixed Facility Checklist (FFC), TEMPEST Addendum and Pre-construction Checklist require both general construction knowledge and specialized knowledge of the ICD 705 Technical Specifications, or Tech Spec, requirements.
SSM support allows companies to bring in someone with a breadth of knowledge pertaining to SCIF and SAPF projects. For portions of the project like completing the FFC, you really need to be able to read and understand design plans to be able to fill out the document. If you’re an FSO being thrust into the SSM role whose job doesn’t normally pertain to construction, these plans could feel like a foreign language. Having someone who has knowledge of both construction and security requirements to help with accreditation documentation makes them easier to fill out and can help you avoid mistakes. Outsourced SSM support will be able to spot issues that people without construction knowledge could easily miss.
Without the specialized knowledge of the Tech Spec requirements, you will be facing an uphill battle to get your space to the point where the AO will accredit it. An experienced SSM will be able to help you complete the accreditation package and guide the project to completion.
The biggest drawback to outsourced SSM support services is the cost. For a smaller contractor working on a SCIF project, these services may not be in the budget. Hiring SSM support costs several thousand dollars a week, which can add substantial cost to your project. However, these services will save your project money in the long run if you can afford the up-front cost.
Pro: Time Saving
For SCIFs and SAPFs, the program often needs to be operational as quickly as possible, meaning the construction process must move smoothly and efficiently. If you’re unfamiliar with these projects, you could end up making a mistake that extends your project significantly, especially if it’s something that occurs early on, like not properly installing RF foil in the walls. The SSM support will be able to catch these issues before they cause a problem. This is also where SSM support will ultimately save you money. By preventing issues that would extend the project time, you can prevent a substantial increase in budget.
This can also save you the time and money in training a full-time employee in SCIF construction or seeking out a new hire who already has the knowledge, especially if you don’t have a long-term need for an SSM beyond your current project.
Con: Limited Authority
While the SSM support has the experience and knowledge, you can’t give them full authority over the project. They don’t have direct access to the AO and don’t have authority to give direction to the general contractor, and while they can provide recommendations and guidance, all decisions ultimately fall to the official SSM.
With proper lines of communication established between the SSM support and the SSM, this problem can be negated. Start on the right foot with the general contractor and make it clear that the SSM support is there to offer their expertise and guidance and should be deferred to on decisions. You can also have the SSM support join the SSM for AO site visits to offer their perspective and expertise.
Pro: On-Site Presence
Different projects will require different amounts of on-site oversight, and for some SSMs, the time required will be too much with their other responsibilities. The AO may require you to have full-time presence on site from open to close of construction, which may not be a possibility for an SSM juggling multiple positions at their work. SSM support can be present during this time, freeing you up to focus on your other responsibilities.
The SSM support on-site presence can help your project significantly. They’ll know what they need to photo document for the AO and will be able to spot any problems in the construction. They’ll keep track of any changes made during construction, which will need to be included in the final version of the FFC. They can also act as your eyes and ears on site for any potential security issues. For example, if a worker brings a phone on site, they can talk to them, remove the phone for the day, and alert you to what happened.
Pro: Experience with a Variety of Projects
For many people assigned to the SSM role, they won’t be working on many SCIF or SAPF projects or even more than one in their career. SSM support staff work on many projects, meaning they will have an abundance of experience solving unique problems that equip them to find solutions to any issues you run into your project. Having someone who has worked on many projects increases the likelihood they will have already had experience with your project’s requirements and needs.
If you think SSM support services would be a good fit for your current project, Adamo offers SSM support services. Our experts have years of experience and can assist with everything from the creation of your Construction Security Plan to helping you create a full accreditation package. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you achieve accreditation.