SCIF Glossary of Terms

Access Control System:

A system to identify and/or admit personnel with properly authorized access to a SCIF using physical, electronic, and/or human controls.


The formal approval of a specific place, referred to as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), that meets prescribed physical, technical, and personnel security standards.

Acoustic Security:

Those security measures designed and used to deny aural access to classified information.

Astragal Strip:

A narrow strip of material applied over the gap between a pair of doors for protection from unauthorized entry and sound attenuation.

Authorized Personnel:

A person who is fully cleared and indoctrinated for SCI, has a valid need to know, and has been granted access to the SCIF.

High Security Switch (HSS):

A type of IDS sensor which may be installed on any rigid, operable opening (i.e., doors, windows) through which access may be gained to the SCIF. Under previous governing documents for SCIF/SAPF facilities this sensor was commonly refered to as a Balanced Magnetic Switch (BMS).

Break-Wire Detector:

An IDS sensor used with screens and grids, open wiring, and grooved stripping in various arrays and configurations necessary to detect surreptitious and forcible penetrations of movable openings, floors, walls, ceilings, and skylights. An alarm is activated when the wire is broken.

Closed Storage:

The storage of SCI material in properly secured GSA approved security containers within an accredited SCIF.

Computerized Telephone System (CTS):

Also referred to as a hybrid key system, business communication system, or office communications system.

Cognizant Security Authority (CSA):

The single principal designated by a SOIC (see definition of SOIC) to serve as the responsible official for all aspects of security program management with respect to the protection of intelligence sources and methods, under SOIC responsibility.

Continuous Operation:

This condition exists when a SCIF is staffed 24 hours every day.

Controlled Area/Compound:

Any area to which entry is subject to restrictions or control for security reasons.

Controlled Building:

A building to which entry is subject to restrictions or control for security reasons.


Two or more organizations sharing the same SCIF.

Dead Bolt:

A lock bolt with no spring action. Activated by a key or turn knob and cannot be moved by end pressure.

Deadlocking Panic Hardware:

A panic hardware with a deadlocking latch that has a device when in the closed position resists the latch from being retracted.

Decibel (db):

A unit of sound measurement.


Any recorded information regardless of its physical form or characteristics, including, without limitation, written or printed matter, data processing cards and tapes, maps, charts, paintings, drawings, photos, engravings, sketches, working notes and papers, reproductions of such things by any means or process, and sound, voice, magnetic or electronic recordings in any form.

Dual Technology:

PIR, microwave or ultrasonic IDS sensors which combine the features of more than one volumetric technology.

Expanded Steel:

Also called EXPANDED METAL MESH. A lace work patterned material produced from sheet steel by making regular uniform cuts and then pulling it apart with uniform pressure.


A properly trained and equipped individual whose duties include the protection of a SCIF. Guards whose duties require direct access to a SCIF, or patrol within a SCIF, must meet the clearance criteria in Director of Central Intelligence Directive 6/4. CSA will determine if indoctrination is required.

Intelligence Community (and agencies within the Community):

Refers to the United States Government agencies and organizations identified in section 3.4(f) (1 through 7) of Executive Order 12333.

Intrusion Detection System:

A security alarm system to detect unauthorized entry.


A device or assembly of devices which isolates or disconnects a telephone or Computerized Telephone System (CTS) from all wires which exit the SCIF and which as been accepted as effective for security purposes by the Telephone Security Group (TSG approved).

Key Service Unit (KSU):

An electromechanical switching device which controls routing and operation of an analog telephone system.

Line Supervision:

Class I:

Class I line security is achieved through the use of DES or an algorithm based on the cipher feedback or cipher block chaining mode of encryption. Certification by NIST or another independent testing laboratory is required.

Class II:

Class II line supervision refers to systems in which the transmission is based on pseudo random generated or digital encoding using an interrogation and response scheme throughout the entire communication, or UL Class AA line supervision. The signal shall not repeat itself within a minimum six month period. Class II security shall be impervious to compromise using resistance, voltage, current, or signal substitution techniques.

Motion Detection Sensor:

An alarm sensor that detects movement.

Non-Conductive Section:

Material (i.e. canvas, rubber, etc.) which is installed in ducts. vents, or pipes, and is unable to carry audio or RF emanations.

Non-Discussion Area:

A clearly defined area within a SCIF where classified discussions are not authorized due to inadequate sound attenuation.

Open Storage:

The storage of SCI material within a SCIF in any configuration other than within GSA approved security containers.

Response Force:

Personnel (not including those on fixed security posts) appropriately equipped and trained, whose duties include initial or follow up response to situations which threaten the security of the SCIF. This includes local law enforcement support or other external forces as noted in agreements.

Secure Working Area:

An accredited SCIF used for handling, discussing and/or processing of SCI, but where SCI will not be stored.

Senior Official of the Intelligence Community (SOIC):

The head of an agency, of fine, bureau, or intelligence element identified in section 3.4(f) (1 through 6) of Executive Order 12333.

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI):

SCI is classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods or analytical processes, which is required to be handled exclusively within formal control systems established by the Director of Central Intelligence.

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF):

An accredited area, room, group of rooms, building, or installation where SCI may be stored, used, discussed and/or electronically processed.

Sound Group:

Voice transmission attenuation groups established to satisfy acoustical requirements. Ratings measured in sound transmission class may be found in the Architectural Graphic Standards.

Sound Transmission Class (STC):

The rating used in architectural considerations of sound transmission loss such as those involving walls, ceilings, and/or floors.

Special Access Program (SAP):

Any approved program which imposes need-to-know or access controls beyond those normally required for access to CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, or TOP SECRET information.

Surreptitious Entry:

Unauthorized entry in a manner which leaves no readily discernible evidence.

Tactical SCIF:

An accredited area used for actual or simulated war operations for a specified period of time.

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) Surveys and Evaluations:

A physical, electronic, and visual examination to detect technical surveillance devices, technical security hazards, and attempts at clandestine penetration.

Type Accepted Telephone:

Any telephone whose design and construction conforms with the design standards for Telephone Security Group approved telephone sets. (TSG Standard #3, #4, or #5).


A room(s) used for the storing, handling, discussing, and/or processing of SCI and constructed to afford maximum protection against unauthorized entry.


An exemption from a specific requirement of this document.

Security In Depth (SID):

Describes the factors that enhance the probability of detection before actual penetration to the SCIF occurs.