Features

Features

National Counterintelligence and Security Center

Security vs. Suitability

 

A security clearance investigation is an inquiry into an individual's loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability to ensure that he or she is eligible for access to national security information.

 

"The Director of National Intelligence shall serve as the Security Executive Agent. As the Security Executive Agent the Director of National Intelligence shall direct the oversight of investigations and determinations of eligibility for access to classified information or eligibility to hold a sensitive position made by any agency; shall be responsible for developing uniform and consistent policies and procedures to ensure the effective, efficient, and timely completion of investigations and adjudications relating to determinations of eligibility for access to classified information or eligibility to hold a sensitive position." – EO 13467

 

A suitability investigation is an inquiry into a person's identifiable character traits and conduct sufficient to decide whether an individual's employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service.

 

"The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall serve as the Suitability Executive Agent. As the Suitability Executive Agent, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management will be responsible for developing and implementing uniform and consistent policies and procedures to ensure the effective, efficient, and timely completion of investigations and adjudications relating to determinations of suitability and eligibility for logical and physical access." – EO 13467

Approach to Reform

 

Guided by the PAC, the goals of reform are being achieved through the following seven-step process. The PAC uses this construct regularly to define, focus and manage reform objectives and activities. The seven process modules provide the approach for reporting deliverables and measuring performance.

approachReform

 

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VALIDATE NEED (VN)
For agencies that request investigations, Validate Need will provide a standard method to ensure that requests for investigations meet and do not exceed the needs of the positions being filled and do not duplicate prior investigations or adjudicative determinations that meet standards for those positions, thereby eliminating unnecessary investigations, improving timeliness, and reducing costs.

 

eAPPLICATION (eAPP)
For applicants and agency users who submit requests for background investigations, eApplication will collect information required for investigations, adjudications, and continuous evaluation through the use of information technology to minimize the need for manual review for data correction, leveraging storage of data to eliminate redundant data collection and support complete, accurate, and timely initiation of requests for investigations.

 

AUTOMATED RECORDS CHECKS (ARC)
For authorized investigating agencies and investigative service providers, ARC will provide an automated process to run subject data against appropriate government and validated commercial databases to collect, analyze, and validate data, and to flag potential issues, thereby providing cost, consistency, and time efficiencies.

 

eADJUDICATE (eADJ)
eAdjudication will provide standard sets of business rules to be computer executed for consistent, automated, electronic determinations, and provide adjudicative decision support tools.

 

ENHANCED SUBJECT INTERVIEW (ESI)
For investigators who interview subjects, ESI will provide a common framework for the complete collection and full development of favorable, unfavorable, and explanatory information from the subject.

 

EXPANDABLE FOCUSED INVESTIGATION (EFI)
For investigative service providers, EFI will provide a common framework to focus investigative resources on flagged cases to fully resolve all known and developed issues.

 

CONTINUOUS EVALUATION (CE)/PERIODIC REINVESTIGATION (PR)
For agencies with personnel who are eligible for access to classified information, CE will more frequently evaluate those personnel by using periodic, aperiodic, and event-driven assessments to better identify risks to national security.

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The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) challenged the Federal Government to address longstanding problems with the timeliness and effectiveness of the process for granting national security clearances. Congress called for performance improvements and established specific timeliness goals.

 

The leadership of the Executive Branch agencies primarily responsible for performance of these security and suitability processes - the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Defense (DOD) – took charge of the reform effort to ensure the goals of the IRTPA are met.

 

Executive Order (EO) 13467, among other things, required greater alignment of the processes for determining suitability for Federal employment, eligibility for access to classified information, and employment in sensitive national security positions. It also created the Performance Accountability Council (PAC), as well as the Security and Suitability Executive Agents. The PAC is chaired by the Deputy Director for Management, OMB, and is accountable to the President to ensure coordination across the Federal Government, align processes to the extent possible, drive reform efforts, and oversee implementation of reform.

Security and Suitability Reform Effort

 

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA)  called for improvements in the U.S. Government’s security clearance processes.  The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence co-authored a charter to establish a Joint IC/DoD Security Clearance Reform Team that convened on 18 June 2007.  Additionally, Executive Order (EO) 13467, Reforming Processes Related to Suitability for Government Employees, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to National Security Information, and Executive Order 13764 amended and clarified several personnel security-related statutory and executive authorities when creating the DNI’s Security Executive Agent (SecEA) role. The SecEA is a key figure with Security Clearance Reform and is a Principal member on the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council (PAC). Chaired by Office of Management and Budget, the PAC is the principal interagency forum for ensuring the alignment of security clearance and suitability processes across the Executive Branch.

Background Investigator

Security Adjudicator

Form SF 312:

Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement

Last revision date 07/2013

 

Form SF 714:

Financial Disclosure Report

Last revision date 02/2015

 

National Counterintelligence and Security Center