The Defense Security Service (“DSS”) has partnered with the Department of Energy (“DOE”) to use the DOE electronic Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (“e-FOCI”) system to facilitate and enhance DSS facility clearance processes. The new e-FOCI system began operating June 1, 2009, and all companies seeking a new facility clearance (or facility clearance upgrade) or reporting a material change to the DSS are now required to use the DOE e-FOCI system to submit all relevant documents to the DSS.

FOCI determinations are rendered by the U.S. government to ensure that entities under foreign ownership, control, or influence are not given access to classified information or special nuclear material, particularly when such access may result in the compromise of U.S. national security interests. FOCI determinations must be rendered for all prospective federal contractors whose projects may require security clearances for access to classified matter, special nuclear material or unescorted access to security areas.

All prospective government contracts that may require security clearances must submit the following documents in the e-FOCI system: n Certificate Pertaining to Foreign Interests form (Form SF 328)

  • Explanations for affirmative answers on the SF 328
  • FOCI Summary Data Sheet
  • List of Key Management Personnel (formerly known as the Owners, Officers, Directors, and Executive Personnel (“OODEP”) List)
  • Representative of Foreign Interests Statements (if applicable)

Other required documents vary depending on the company’s business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.) and may include articles of incorporation, by-laws, annual reports, board meeting minutes, and SEC filings.

While the DOE may conduct a preliminary review of the FOCI submissions from firms in the competitive range in the procurement process, a final FOCI determination is only rendered for the successful bidder. Contractors must re-submit their e-FOCI package once every five years, along with significant changes in ownership, control, or influence as they occur. Contractors that have previously obtained a FOCI determination can access the e-FOCI system to submit their five-year updates and report any significant changes.

Besides offering a streamlined and automated process for submission of FOCI data and supporting documentation, e-FOCI will enable the DSS to process facility clearances more efficiently and effectively. Companies with questions about the e-FOCI system, or transitioning from the traditional FOCI submission process to the e-FOCI process, should contact the authors of this article.