When sites, documents, processes, materials and information need extra security, the best way to protect them is through a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF. Government, government-related contractors, and other groups that require high security are the primary customers for SCIFs. The facilities are constructed according to the needs of the user and its certification agencies, but they typically include physical, audible, visual and electronic security.
The minimum requirements for SCIFs are in the Intelligence Community (IC) Directive 705 but they are not limited to those listed in the directive. Often, organizations that need SCIFs will require that all inside surfaces (walls ceilings, floors, etc.) be constructed so that they are attached to one another in order to reveal compromise or tampering. Additional materials may be required for wall construction, such as foil, steel or expanded metal, to provide physical insulation as well as protection from eavesdropping on audio intelligence within the SCIF. Further audible protection is possible through sound masking at windows, in duct work, or in other openings. SCIF doors must have a minimum solid thickness, have non-removable hinges inside the facility, and close automatically.
All telephone, electrical power, security systems, data and emergency systems equipment must be dedicated to and contained within the SCIF to assure official use only. When ever the conduit for any of these systems penetrate the SCIF perimeter, they must be treated to minimize the chance of compromize. Fire sprinkler systems that penetrate SCIF walls must be grounded.
Additional shielding and isolation is often required to prevent interference or electronic eavesdropping through electromagnetic or radio frequencies.
There are very specific requirements for ductwork. If ductwork for mechanical operations has openings in the SCIF larger than 96 square inches, they must be equipped with steel manbars that are 1/2-inch in diameter and 6 inches on center each way, welded at the intersections, with inspection ports inside the SCIF. The openings, the duct work and the duct breaks must also have linings to secure the sounds emitted within the SCIF.