What Is Required to Get an FSO Certification?

To become certified as a Facility Security Officer, candidates must undergo training as mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense that includes three mandatory courses: Essentials of Industrial Security Management, Protecting Secret and Confidential Documents, and the Facility Security Officer Program Management Course. The first two courses can be taken through correspondence, while the third course is an in-residence course. Additional training courses may be required depending on the facility’s involvement with classified information.

The Essentials of Industrial Security Management course provides an overview of the National Industrial Security Program, or NISP, and its operating manual. It explains concepts of facility and personnel security clearances, procedures for visitors and briefings for security education, and review processes. The course requires about 15 hours to complete, and candidates must have access to the NISP Operating Manual. It is a prerequisite for trainees, interns and anyone who takes the resident Industrial Security Specialist course.

The Protecting Secret and Confidential Documents course outlines procedures for safeguarding classified information. It includes topics such as proper storage, receipt and generation of information, as well as its reproduction, transmission and disposition. This course takes about 25 hours to complete.

Facility Security Officer Program Management is a mandatory course for all FSOs who have received certification since July 1, 1987 and who work in facilities that store classified information. Designed for personnel of contractors who participate in the National Industrial Security Program, the course provides an overview of the NISP and the administrative requirements and procedures for protecting classified material. The course is free of charge and is regularly held in-residence in Southern California.

Facility Security Officers work for the U.S. Coast Guard as part of its mandate to provide maritime security. FSOs must be U.S. citizens.