How to get a Facility Clearance
If you ever want to hire employees with a security clearance, you need a Facility Clearance (FCL).
This will allow you to hold your own clearance, and handle the administrative stuff of your employees' clearances too.
If you are looking to expand from your solo 1099 operation, here is how I'd do it:
- Get on a cleared contract as a sub-contractor (make sure the prime adds your company and not just you)
- Do a good job
- Ask the prime program manager if he'd be willing to sponsor your company for a FCL
- Do all the paperwork for the FCL
That is more or less what I did. I did a good job on a project and then a position opened up. Leidos offered me the opportunity to fill it and we discovered I couldn't hire anyone without an FCL. So I asked them to sponsor my company.
It was mostly an administrative exercise, but like many things with the government, boring administrative exercises can make or break your company.
I'll also note a few other things
You will need at least one other person in your company to be the FSO. If you're a solo company, DISS documentation says you don't need a FCL
- I had a business partner who took on that role but it's possible you can hire a part-time FSO to be "Key Management Personnel (KMP)" and satisfy the requirement
- It's possible this person can be your spouse but there is some language that suggests if the only other person involved is your spouse it's not permitted. BUT, I imagine there is flexibility if your spouse has a clearance and is "actively involved" in the company.
- The KMPs (including you) will need to be cleared and you can only receive an FCL up to the level you have. If you have a Secret clearance, you can only get a Secret FCL. If you have a Top Secret, you can get a Top Secret FCL.
- Though it does add administrative headache to your business, being able to manage your own security clearance is a VERY nice privelege because it lowers the risks of screw ups by other companies
If you want to wade through the official FCL Orientation Handbook, you can click the link below.
Section 5 starting on page 8 has a nice table outlining some requirements for various business types.