The difficulties of getting an at-home SCIF
During the pandemic, working from home became commonplace across many industries. However, for those who work with classified, secret or top-secret information in a secure facility, that’s a significantly more complicated prospect. Classified information is accessed and protected in SCIFs and SAPFs, and if an employee wishes to work from home, they’ll need to get an accredited SCIF constructed within their walls.
This facility will still need to meet ICD 705 Technical Specifications, or Tech Spec, requirements that all SCIFs and SAPFs are built to and be approved by an Accrediting Official (AO). Building the facility to these standards will mean renovations like adding expanded metal mesh to the walls and access control to the facility door.
These facilities are not commonplace because of the high cost, as well as needing to be accredited, which can be a time-consuming process that can take anywhere from weeks to years. Because of this, only high-ranking officials will have a SCIF constructed in their home, like the President of the United States or senators, as it’s a large investment.
Average SCIF personnel won’t need to access classified information outside the workplace. However, for some high-ranking officials, a SCIF in their home allows them to respond rapidly to any national security issues that could arise.
In areas where basements are common in home construction, this space makes a great location for a SCIF due to them being underground and typically having concrete walls. In other locations, the building’s walls will likely need to be redone to include extra layers of drywall and plywood or expanded metal mesh for better Security in Depth (SID).
This type of construction can cost up to $1,000 per square foot, meaning a 10×10 room will cost around $100,000 to renovate into a secure space. This price can vary based on your need to meet STC requirements, as adding acoustic protection will raise costs. If the employee isn’t having classified phone conversations within the facility, they can get away with no acoustic protections, which will save money on the SCIF door and wall construction.
The agency responsible for the information accessed within the SCIF will be the one to decide whether or not the official has a justified need for a facility within their home. Once they decide to move forward, they’ll be responsible for assigning an AO who will ultimately ensure the space is built appropriately and approve it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to reevaluate how our modern workplace functions, as increased flexibility became necessary in many industries and work-from-home setups became more commonplace. This was also true for the high-security space, though the hurdles for SCIF employees to work from home remains prohibitive for the majority of people employed within those facilities.
Whether it’s in your home or office, if you need help navigating the Tech Spec or SCIF construction process, Adamo’s team of experts can partner with you and guide your project to guaranteed accreditation through our consulting services. For more information, contact us today.