The physical security controls that protect impenetrable safe rooms known as SCIFs – or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities – are heavy duty, to say the very least.

SCIFs are government-accredited structures used exclusively for the storage, processing, and discussion of classified research, information, and data. To accomplish these critical goals, their construction must adhere to a byzantine set of standards known as the Intelligence Community Directive 705-01, Physical and Technical Security Standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities.

In short, the physical security controls at work in must be top of the line in order to protect the United States’ top secrets.

Take a look:

  • Access: Specific, stringent standards are in place regarding all potential points of entry in a SCIF, including certain perimeter hardening criteria and techniques that eliminate any threat of intruders. Entrances and exits are built to vault-like specifications, along with all accompanying hinges, locks, gaskets, and other paraphernalia, while a minimum of two access control systems are required for perimeter access.

A SCIF’s ventilation systems, too, are typically protected with physical security controls such as inspection ports and barriers that mitigate the risk of any outside meddling.

  • Acoustics: SCIFs must be protected with Sound Transmission Class of 45, 50, or better, that stretches to sub-compartmented areas within the structure, as well. An STC value denotes a facility’s ability to retain sound, preventing sensitive discussions and conversations from penetrating walls. Sound suppression measures include the installation of masking devices on walls, windows, floors, doors, and other features.
  • Visuals: No peeking! Generally speaking, SCIFs are designed without windows. However, if an approved feature, steps must be taken to mitigate line of sight concerns.
  • Intrusion Detection: UL2050 requirements must be met by every SCIF. These Department of Defense-approved, high-security standards apply to all access points, which must be equipped with Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) installed by a certified contractor using only UL2050-approved components.
  • TEMPEST countermeasures: All electric emanations generated in a SCIF must be kept closely in check to prevent sensitive intelligence from leaving the facility inadvertently. Such measures are governed by guidelines known as TEMPEST (Telecommunications Electronics Materials Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions.) That means utilities that enter into the SCIF must terminate there. Many SCIFS are also equipped with metallic radiant barrier foil to shield against radio frequencies.

Secom understands what goes into designing an impenetrable facility to protect classified and Top-Secret information. Our team regularly installs, monitors, and maintains SCIFs, secured containers, and closed areas throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, while offering expedited service, exemplary accountability, and low annual fees. Most importantly, we remain one of only a scant few security providers nationwide with a UL 2050 certification, which allows us to provide monitoring services on existing physical security controls, often with no associated upfront costs. Find out how we can be your FSO’s best friend.