SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility)

Sensitive compartmented information (SCI) is confidential information that only a select few individuals have access to on a need-to-know basis. Sophisticated and elaborate precautions are taken to keep the information safe from surveillance and espionage. A sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) is a type of facility specifically designed so that SCI can be handled and stored with minimal risk to national security.

Learn more about the purpose, requirements, and benefits of SCIFs.

What Is the Purpose of a SCIF?

A SCIF is a permanent or temporary secure location where classified material can be used, stored, electronically processed, or discussed. A container SCIF is a smaller-scale secure facility similar in purpose to a conventional SCIF, but it can be transported using traditional methods. Container SCIFs are a suitable solution for storage, server rooms, conference rooms, workstations, and briefing rooms. They are a preferred option for securing SCI for organizations with minimal free space or as a temporary solution that offers mobility while maintaining its SCIF accreditation.

A SCIF that has undergone system hardening minimizes the risk of cyberattacks on the organization. However, compliance drifts resulting from changes in SCIF configuration after system hardening can cause audit issues or security breaches. Whenever the organization introduces a new server or application to the system, it creates new potential vulnerabilities.

SCIF Requirements

A SCIF must meet specific requirements to maintain the high standards necessary to protect SCI. A proper SCIF will meet the following guidelines under the Intelligence Community Directive 705 (ICD705):

  • Structural: SCIFs require vault-like doors, locks, and hinges according to ICD705 standards. Perimeter doors require two access control technologies, and door and frame constructions must meet the same sound transmission class (STC) rating as the SCIF’s walls.
  • Ductwork: All ductwork and ventilation units require barriers with all inspection ports installed within the SCIF to prevent intrusion. All breaks require special inserts to prevent electronic emanations from leaving the SCIF.
  • Electrical: Electrical systems, including emergency, security, and communication systems, must be solely for the SCIF. Utilities entering the SCIF must terminate within the facility and not travel throughout the space.
  • Visual: SCIF design must ensure individuals outside the facility cannot see into the space, which means windows are rare.
  • Acoustic: SCIF perimeters must comply with STC 45 or 50 ratings to ensure any sounds within the SCIF are inaudible to the human ear outside of the facility.
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): All entry and access points to the SCIF must be protected with a UL 2050-approved IDS installed by a UL 2050-certified contractor.
  • Accreditation: Before a SCIF can be trusted with safeguarding SCI, a regulatory agency must formally approve the facility. The SCIF must meet all of the above criteria outlined in ICD705.

Benefits of SCIFs

When a SCIF is designed and constructed to ICD705 standards, it meets the organization’s specifications and prevents sensitive conversations and documents from being heard or seen by unauthorized individuals or groups. Due to their compact size, container SCIFs in particular offer the following advantages:

  • Mobility: The mobile design of a container SCIF means it can be installed temporarily or permanently in an empty parking lot, field, or warehouse. Installation is simple, requiring only utility connections to begin operations. Their inherent mobility is ideal for government contractors using leased building space. Container SCIFs look like a conventional shipping container and provide protection identical to standard SCIFs.
  • Speed: Container SCIFs minimize construction time, providing the fastest solution available to meet an organization’s needs. Traditional SCIFs have an extended design, approval, and construction process that can take at least 6 to 18 months to complete. Container SCIFs have a short, three-month design, construction, and assembly process off-site in a controlled production facility, after which they are delivered to the installation site.
  • Easy Acquisition: Container SCIFs offer a preferred solution for government organizations because of their simplified purchase process. A traditional SCIF requires public bidding, design, approvals, and construction, making the process more complex and time-consuming. Container SCIFs are purchased like standard equipment, reducing the complexity of procurement.

Why Work with Captor Corporation

A sensitive compartmented information facility is a facility that protects confidential information from being seen or heard by unauthorized individuals outside the location. All SCIFs must be built to standards outlined in ICD705 to prevent surveillance or espionage. Container SCIFs are a type of SCIF that can be designed and fabricated in a controlled production facility. They offer ease of procurement and transportation as a quick and convenient solution for organizations that need mobility or have minimal space and time to dedicate to a traditional SCIF.

Captor Corporation has over 55 years of expertise and advanced equipment to deliver the highest quality EMI filtration solutions. We have a proven track record in successful low to medium-volume contract manufacturing projects. We offer everything from new design and engineering to reverse engineering. For SCIFs, we specialize in manufacturing the protection for electrical power and signal lines, such as those for video feeds, cameras, and fire alarms. For all other aspects of the SCIF, we work with trusted vendors so that we can offer our customers a full SCIF solution.

Contact us to learn how Captor Corporation can deliver a seamless solution for your container SCIF needs.