The NISPOM is one of the most important components of the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), as it is the operating manual for the program.
The NISP, which was established in 1993 by Executive Order 12829 and signed by President George H. W. Bush, is the U.S. authority that oversees and manages requests from private industries to access information that is considered classified. It was implemented in order to protect classified information in accordance with Executive Order 12356 and the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
The NISP Operating Manual (NISPOM) is important because it sets the requirements for government contractors in relation to classified information. Some aspects of the manual include information on security clearances, intelligence and communication security.
Responsibility for issuing and maintaining the manual lies with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Director of Central Intelligence.
According to the manual itself, the NISPOM "applies to and shall be used by contractors to safeguard classified information released during all phases of the contracting, licensing, and grant process, including bidding, negotiation, award, performance, and termination."