The facts on freight forwarders.
Most purchasing agents in the United States do not have the capability to transport materials within and outside of the country. A freight forwarder undertakes these responsibilities as an agent for a foreign customer; thus its function is an integral element of the transportation cycle. An approved freight forwarder does not normally serve as a final destination carrier.
Cleared freight forwarders are listed in the Military Assistance Programs Address Directory (MAPAD). Because they are listed here, their clearances are not usually verified by the central verification activity of the Defense Investigative Service (DIS).
Freight forwarders must be sponsored for a security clearance like other contractors. Sponsorship for a security clearance comes from a foreign government through its embassy. The embassy's request designates the freight forwarder as its agent and specifies that the firm will assume full security responsibility for the material on behalf of the foreign government. The request is sent to the Defense Logistics Standard Systems Office (DLSSO) for inclusion in the MAPAD. DLSSO forwards the requests to DIS headquarters.
User agencies and contractors may also act as sponsors, and their requests may be submitted to DIS headquarters or to DLSSO. User agencies who receive clearance requests for freight forwarders on behalf of foreign governments to process foreign military sales (FMS) also send the requests to DIS headquarters or to DLSSO.
Before 1987 only US-owned freight forwarders could be cleared in the DISP and only then as a regular contractor facility; foreign-owned freight forwarders were limited to processing classified freight only to and from the country of ownership. At the request of several foreign governments, DIS conducted physical security surveys at foreign-owned freight forwarder locations to determine their ability to protect US classified material in accordance with DISP standards.
In June 1986 the information security program regulation had a policy change. The new policy read in part: ". . . only freight forwarders that have been granted an appropriate security clearance by the Department of Defense (DoD) or the recipient government are eligible to receive, process, and store US classified material authorized for release to foreign governments. However, a freight forwarder that does not have access to or custody of the classified material need not be cleared."
This change in policy made it necessary to clear several of the previously uncleared freight forwarders even though some were foreign-owned. DIS now has 27 cleared freight forwarders and 21 others in the clearance process. Currently, 19 foreign-owned freight forwarders are cleared with limitations, and eight US-owned freight forwarders are cleared without limitations.
DIS announced in Industrial Security Letter 86L-4 that each contract involving the release of classified material to foreign entities must contain transmission instructions or a transportation plan. These must be approved by appropriate DoD security and transportation officials prior to signing the contract. Defense contractors should also first consult with the purchasing government, their DIS cognizant security office (CSO), and the owning military department to obtain approval of the transportation plan or transmission instructions before the consummation of a contract.
Transmission instructions or the approved transportation plan on FMS must also be incorporated into the security requirements of the United States Department of Defense Offer and Acceptance (DD Form 1513). Unless the transportation plan or instructions are approved as submitted or modified to meet US security standards, shipping by any other arrangement than the Defense Transportation System (DTS) is not permitted.
Transportation plans must be sufficiently detailed to ensure secure handling from the materials' point of origin to their ultimate destination. A transportation plan for FMS must be forwarded to the sponsoring military department while one for direct sales must be forwarded to the CSO. After approval, the sponsoring military department must send a copy to the shipper's CSO.
It seems complicated, but all in all the freight forwarder clearance process enhances the security of classified shipments in and out of the United States.
Robert G. Schwalls, CPP, is deputy director of the Defense Investigative Service.
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|Author:||Schwalls, Robert G.|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1989|
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