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Quick Guide: How to Obtain a Facility Clearance (FCL) as a Small Business

By John Rutherford | Harkcon's Facility Security Officer

The first step to doing work for the Federal Government is to complete the necessary GSA registration and other basic administrative work. Once this is done, finding opportunities, submitting proposals, and winning government business is a much more defined path than winning business in the private sector. However, if a company is interested in doing cleared work with the Federal Government, it must complete another step and obtain a Department of Defense (DoD) Facility Clearance (FCL).

Does a Small Business Need a FCL to Do Business with the Federal Government? It is not necessary to have a FCL to do business with the Federal Government. However, a FCL is necessary for companies that would like to compete for contracts that require security clearances (i.e., Top Secret, Secret, Confidential clearances) in order to access and create classified information. The ability to do cleared work can open up access to a lot of work across the entire Federal government since classified contracts are not limited to the DoD; instead they are issued by nearly every government agency from the Department of Commerce to the US Postal Service. Classified work also covers every industry segment: research, information technology, human resources, strategic planning, training, process improvement, acquisition management and much more. Even companies that provide building maintenance, janitorial services, and equipment maintenance (e.g., copy machines and HVAC) will need a FCL to compete for business at certain agencies. How Does a Small Business Obtain a FCL? The bad news is that a business cannot just apply for an FCL; they must first have the need to obtain the FCL (e.g., have won a contract requiring classified work) and they must be sponsored by a company that already has an FCL. The best way to do that is to develop relationships and partner with companies that already have FCLs. Companies with FCLs, whether they are small, medium, or large are always looking for new partners to help strengthen their team by bringing resources and new skills to the company’s portfolio. For example, Harkcon recently teamed with two companies to enter the information technology space. In turn, Harkcon sponsored these companies to help them obtain their FCL. This benefits the government by bringing new innovation, resources, skills, and competition into government contracting. Ultimately, obtaining a FCL is not an easy task, but following these guidelines will help streamline the process! In my next blog, I will talk about what it takes to maintain a FCL.

If you would like to contact the author of this blog, send an email to and reference the title, "Quick Guide: How to Obtain a Facility Clearance (FCL) as a Small Buisness."

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