When we talk about Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, commonly called SCIFs, we are talking about a high security facility designed to secure information and communications. Whether the SCIF is a secure room within a facility or is a portable unit designed to be shipped to any part of the globe, the job is still the same. That said, there are a lot of components that go into getting that job done. No detail is too small when it comes to keeping secret information secret. Today I thought I’d share a few more details about the nuts and bolts of SCIF design.
The SCIF Door Does More
Unlike the door on your typical home or office, when you think of a SCIF door, think bank vault. These doors mean business. In fact, the DOD requires doors, hinges, and locking mechanisms on SCIFs to be compliant with Intelligence Community Directive 705. Among other things, this means that entry has to be permitted using a single motion deadbolt. In addition to securing the SCIF from physical entry, the doors must also contain sound within the room. Requirements of ICD705 mandate that doors, thresholds, and even door frames include sound suppression systems. All materials used on or inside the doors must be sound-rated and are required to pass an auditory inspection. In the case of retrofitting an existing room to SCIF specifications, even wood fillers must meet sound suppression requirements.
- SCIF doors must be solid wood core or a specially constructed door filled with sound attenuation material of STC 45 rating or higher.
- Sound sealing door gaskets and door sets must also be rated at a minimum of STC45.
- An STC 45-rated door bottom must be either routed in the door bottom or installed on the door face.
- The threshold must be fitted to the automatic door bottom for positive seal.
More Than Meets the Eye
To the untrained observer, the interior of a SCIF may look like any other office. However, the materials used to secure these facilities won’t be found in Home Depot. Everything from construction materials to access controls and detection/alarm systems is built to government specifications using the latest technology as mandated by the DOD. For the current technical specifications for SCIF construction, refer to Technical Specifications for Construction and Management of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, Version 1.2.
Whether used by the military or by civilian contractors, SCIFs are designed from the ground up to safeguard the nation’s most sensitive information. To that end, no amount of time, effort, or technology would be construed as excessive.