â€œAntiterrorism Measures In Contracting,â€ is this monthâ€™s quarterly AT theme on Fort Huachuca.
â€œContractors play a huge role not only on Fort Huachuca but also Department of Defense-wide; but there can be a down side. Itâ€™s a double-edged sword in a sense, because many times contractors have access to computers, sensitive materials and sites, to where if they are not properly vetted or the wrong people are hired, they can become an insider threat,â€ said Jesse Markum, antiterrorism officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, Fort Huachuca.
There are rules for hiring contractors; the Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 signed by President Bush, specifies criteria about hiring contractors, Markum said.
Monica Lake, garrison security manager, explained:
Signed in 2004, the document requires all government agencies to work together to ensure a process is in place to thoroughly vet all prospective employees contracted throughout DoD. It requires contractors working on a government installation or facility longer than six months have a background investigation. If the contractor is working on a classified contract then a clearance is required.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to have anyone working on post that is a threat to the population here. We have Soldiers, family members and children, so if someone is considered a significant risk after a background investigation, we are not going to allow them to work on Fort Huachuca,â€ Lake said.
As of May 1, new policy from Army Contracting Command will go into effect. This requirement mandates that all contract employees working on the installation for over 180 days be vetted, issued a Common Access Card and receive Antiterrorism Level I Training. For contracts to be renewed or awarded, the unit ATO as well as the operational security officer must confirm the proper language addressing these requirements are in the contract before signing off. This makes it incumbent upon the requesting agency and the Contract Office representative to ensure the appropriate language is included in all future contracts.
Future job announcements recruiting new employees should also include language on the form that tells the potential employee of these requirements prior to being considered for employment according to Markum.
â€œThese rules are in place to make sure the right people have access to post. Thatâ€™s why we have a vetting process in place to make sure we donâ€™t hire a potential threat posing as a contractor,â€ he said.