The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has issued new standards for the construction of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs).
SCIFs (pronounced “skiffs”) are rooms, vaults, or even entire buildings that are specially constructed and certified for the handling and storage of classified intelligence information known as Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
The total number of SCIFs around the country and the world is not known, but is likely to be in the thousands. Each of them must be formally inspected and approved (or “accredited”) for handling intelligence information and protecting it against loss, theft, unauthorized disclosure, electronic interception or other forms of compromise.
The adoption of new uniform standards for all SCIFs, including existing facilities and new construction, is intended “to enable information sharing to the greatest extent possible.” So “Any SCIF that has been accredited by an IC element… shall be reciprocally accepted for use as accredited by all IC elements….”
Copies of the new standards are available on the Federation of American Scientists website. See “Physical and Technical Security Standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities” (pdf), Intelligence Community Standard Number 705-1, September 17, 2010, and “Standards for the Accreditation and Reciprocal Use of Sensitive Compartmented Information” (pdf), Intelligence Community Standard Number 705-2, September 17, 2010.
The Standards were signed by former Assistant DNI David R. Shedd, who became Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency on September 20, 2010.