Secure Facilities and SCIFs: Building Classified Spaces for Aerospace and Defense

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Constructing secure facilities for the DoD and Aerospace industry requires a partner that understands complex needs and challenges.

Building Classified Spaces For Aerospace and Defense

Understanding the Importance of Secure Facilities

Secure facilities safeguard sensitive and classified information. These facilities provide a controlled environment where access is restricted and monitored, ensuring only authorized personnel can enter. By implementing physical and technological security measures, secure facilities create a barrier against unauthorized access and potential breaches.

Colorado is at the epicenter of the Aerospace and National Space Defense industry, with multiple critical operations located within the state. U.S. Space Command, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and U.S. Northern Command are all in Colorado. The announcement that the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command will be staying in Colorado Springs has only fueled the development of this industry.

Critical Considerations for Building Classified Spaces

From a landlord, developer, designer, and construction manager perspective, this industry’s consistent concern has been “How quickly can we construct our facility?” While several factors influence an aerospace client’s ability to open their doors, accelerated timelines have the most significant impact.

Typically, the companies we partner with are bound by performance contracts with the government that specify the speed at which they must operate. This contract-driven approach makes it impossible for them to wait 18-24 months for the entitlement, design, and construction required to open and use a new building. Therefore, existing building space is more attractive for this industry, enabling design and construction to begin immediately, with quicker permit approvals and faster opening. Sometimes, we can get clients through this process in as little as 4-6 months. However, the selection of the building is crucial for these projects. Adequate building power, access to fiber infrastructure, and types of existing tenants play a pivotal role in the selection of space for aerospace clients.

WHEN THE PRIMARY DRIVER IS THE TIME IT TAKES TO OPEN, CONSIDER THESE MAIN FACTORS:

➡️Contracts

Contracts with the government require speed to operate. Work with your construction partner early in the process.

➡️Existing Building Space

Renovating existing building space is more attractive than constructing a new building. Existing building space will enable design and construction to begin immediately with quicker permit approvals and faster opening times.

➡️Selection of the Building is Crucial

You must consider adequate building power, access to fiber infrastructure, and existing tenant types.

DELAYS IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO OPEN YOUR SCIF

Opening a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) can be time-consuming. Several factors can contribute to delays, and it is essential to be aware of them to minimize potential disruptions.

Supply chain issues are the main reason for delays in opening any facility. Supply chain issues are especially relevant for aerospace facilities that require a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF), a highly secure space where government officials and contractors review classified information.

In the current market, it has been a challenge to procure critical materials for SCIFs, such as power filters, sound-rated doors, and R.F. shielding products, to name a few. However, a good design and construction partner can reduce these delays by identifying long lead items, expediting the design of these critical materials, and releasing them early in the process. This way, we can ensure that materials are secured and scheduled for shipment while we complete the project’s design and permitting phase.

If not appropriately managed, a delay in critical materials could set the schedule back by 20-30 weeks, depending on procurement timelines. Therefore, for an aerospace client to open their doors on a demanding timeline, selecting an experienced design and construction partner who can help navigate these hurdles is paramount.

Working closely with experienced professionals who specialize in building secure facilities, classified spaces, and SCIFs will help to streamline the process and ensure a smooth opening.

ACCREDITED SECURE FACILITIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Accreditation is an essential aspect of secure facilities. It provides validation that the facility meets the necessary security standards and requirements. When considering building a secure facility, it is crucial to understand the accreditation process and what it entails.

All facilities with a SCIF must be sponsored and accredited by the U.S. Government. This process requires the approval of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who strictly follow a 205-page set of standards for these facilities.

The accreditation process is highly regulated and time-consuming; therefore, knowing the process, designing and constructing the spaces according to Government requirements, and engaging the inspection process as early as possible can help clients achieve accreditation smoothly.

Failure to comply with Government standards and pass inspection can result in significant setbacks, ranging from a few weeks to several months, depending on the inspection process and the specific issues that need addressing.

A SUCCESSFUL PARTNER TO THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY MEANS UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES

The Aerospace industry is confronted with distinct obstacles when it comes to guaranteeing the security of its facilities. With the constant advancements in technology, it is crucial to stay ahead of potential threats and preserve the confidentiality of sensitive information.

Protecting intellectual property is one of the primary challenges in the Aerospace industry. Companies invest heavily in research and development to create innovative products and technologies. Secure facilities are essential to safeguard these investments by providing a controlled environment where authorized personnel can store and access intellectual property.

As industries become more interconnected and reliant on digital systems and networks, the risk of cyber threats and hacking attempts increases. This poses a considerable challenge to secure facilities that need to maintain the integrity of information. Hence, robust cybersecurity measures are essential to ensure secure facilities are well-protected against cyber threats.

The Aerospace industry frequently deals with confidential information regarding national security, which presents a complex security challenge. Facilities must adhere to strict regulations and protocols to appropriately handle and protect classified data.

The aerospace industry is a complex ecosystem that involves multiple businesses working together to achieve success. It is imperative to comprehend the intricacy of these businesses and establish appropriate partnerships to ensure that the challenges of this industry are manageable for speed to market. That is the key to being a successful partner and front-runner for aerospace clients.

➡️Best practices when building a secure space

Collaborate closely with seasoned professionals in the industry who possess a deep understanding of accreditation, the importance of swift market entry, and the complexities of construction.

➡️Choose the right construction partner

Choose a construction partner who understands the successes and challenges of building a SCIF. Choose a partner who can minimize lead times and manage procurement for success and quicker construction.

➡️Work with your construction partner early in the process

A construction partner who understands the industry’s requirements, possesses a track record of constructing classified spaces, and holds expertise in accreditation, lead times, procurement, and government contracts will be crucial for success. By expediting the opening of your doors, you can promptly delve into the core of your business.

Bryan Construction has a proven track record of constructing both classified and non-classified spaces for various clients in the aerospace community, including the government and private sector industries. Since the early 2000s, we have executed over a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts, completing more than 350 projects specific to this market.

5475 Tech Center Drive, Suite 300
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
(719) 632-5355

7807 East Peakview Ave., Suite 150
Centennial, CO 80111 
(720) 974-2557

4700 Innovation Drive, Building C
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 377-0937

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Ümraniye
Istanbul, Turkey
+90-212-446-2858, ext. 119

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