Conditions for Access to and Use of NIH Facilities for Group Functions, Activities, and Special Events

The document establishes a policy on the appropriate use of NIH facilities for group functions, activities and special events under a graduated set of “Threat Conditions” as defined by the Homeland Security Advisory System. Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3 at describes the Homeland Security Advisory System and defines the various “Threat Conditions”.

NIH facilities exist for the benefit of NIH programs and NIH staff. Accordingly, it is the intention of this policy to enable such events to occur. The notice/and approval process prescribed below is necessary to ensure that an event does not unnecessarily increase the security risk to NIH, strain the NIH central service resources or create a dangerous situation. The decision to approve an event will be based on:

1. The availability of adequate NIH facilities and resources to handle the event including space, conference staff, security staff, parking, etc.

2. The effect on NIH resources including building and utility services, emergency response, public hygiene, etc.

3. The security risk to NIH employees, patients, visitors and property as determined by the “Threat Conditions” as outlined in Homeland Security Directive-3.

4. The cost to NIH and prudent use of Federal funds.


1. NIH owned and leased facilities are for the sole use of NIH staff, contractors, visitors, patient and patient visitors, and affiliates.

2. NIH facilities are managed and operated to support mission activities.

3. NIH facilities are open to members of the public who have business with NIH staff, contractors, visitors, patient and patient visitors, and affiliates from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm weekdays except for federal holidays.

4. NIH facilities may be open to the general public for an approved public event.

5. NIH facilities are restricted to NIH staff, contractors, patients and patient visitors at all other times.

6. The NIH Director is responsible for establishing polices that govern security and the safety of people and property in and on NIH owned and leased real property.

7. Security procedures and access control to all NIH owned and leased facilities will vary in response to the perceived level of risk and in accordance with the “Threat Conditions” as determined by the Homeland Security Advisory System.

Operating Policies

1. Under the Homeland Security Advisory System, the Attorney General in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security assigns one of five “Threat Conditions”. Threat conditions may be set for a particular geographic area or industrial sector and “Threat Conditions” shall be reviewed at regular intervals to determine whether or not adjustments are warranted. Each “Threat Condition” is identified by a description and corresponding color. From lowest to highest, the levels are:

Low = Green
Guarded = Blue
Elevated = Yellow
High = Orange
Severe = Red

The higher the “Threat Condition”, the greater the risk of a terrorist attack. The assignment of a “Threat Condition” shall prompt the implementation of an appropriate set of “Protective Measures” by Federal departments and agencies to further reduce vulnerability or increase response capability during a period of heightened alert.

NIH’s security procedures and access control policies are intended to ensure that proper “Protective Measures” are in place at the NIH to meet the applicable “Threat Condition”. NIH maintains a set of policies and procedures that define security and access control for each of the “Threat Conditions”. These are considered confidential information.

2. The Office of Research Services (ORS) is the NIH entity that manages and discharges security operations for the NIH Director.

3. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM excluding Federal holidays.

4. The restrictions on the use of facilities for all group functions and activities at each “Threat Condition” are described in Table 1.

5. The restrictions on the operations of the NIH auxiliary services at each “Threat Condition” are described in Table 2.

6. The restrictions on the operations of the NIH institutional tenants at each “Threat Condition” are described in Table 3.

7. When approval for a group function, activity or special event is required, the IC sponsor of such activity is responsible for ensuring that requests are submitted and approvals are received in advance of the activity date. This approval process applies to activities scheduled in IC specific facilities and outdoors as well as those scheduled through ORS centrally managed conference facilities.

8. Approvals are contingent on the “Threat Conditions” in force at the time of the request but are subject to change with changes in “Threat Conditions.”

Definitions and Classification of User Groups

NIH Mission or mission-related events (to be mission-related an event must meet all three of the criteria specified below:

(1) Sponsored by NIH IC and

(2) Paid for in whole or in part >50% with appropriated funds and

(3) Directly related to the conduct or support of medical research; the development and training of investigators; the support, construction and maintenance of laboratory facilities and programs; and/or the support of patients and patient visitors to NIH.

NIH Affiliate:
Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES)

NIH Auxiliary:
Child Care Centers
Dining Centers and Cafeterias
Concession Stands
Fitness Center and associated activities
Credit Union
Recreation and Welfare Association

NIH Institutional Tenant:
Howard Hughes Medical Center
Children's Inn