Personnel Security Clearances: Actions Needed to Help Ensure Correct Designations of National Security Positions

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In July 2012, GAO reported that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), as Security Executive Agent, had not provided executive branch agencies clearly defined policy and procedures to consistently determine if a position requires a personnel security clearance. Absent this guidance, agencies are using an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position designation tool to determine the sensitivity and risk levels of civilian positions which, in turn, inform the type of investigation needed. OPM audits, however, found inconsistency in these position designations, and some agencies described problems implementing OPM's ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. November 20, 2013.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In July 2012, GAO reported that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), as Security Executive Agent, had not provided executive branch agencies clearly defined policy and procedures to consistently determine if a position requires a personnel security clearance. Absent this guidance, agencies are using an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position designation tool to determine the sensitivity and risk levels of civilian positions which, in turn, inform the type of investigation needed. OPM audits, however, found inconsistency in these position designations, and some agencies described problems implementing OPM's tool. For example, in an April 2012 audit OPM assessed the sensitivity levels of 39 positions, and its designations differed from the agency in 26 positions. Problems exist, in part, because OPM and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) did not collaborate on the development of this tool, and because their respective roles for suitability and security clearance reform are still evolving. As a result, to help determine the proper designation, GAO recommended that the DNI, in coordination with the Director of OPM, issue clearly defined policy and procedures for federal agencies to follow when determining if federal civilian positions require a security clearance. The DNI concurred with this recommendation. In May 2013, the DNI and OPM jointly drafted a proposed revision to the federal regulation on position designation which, if finalized in its current form, would provide additional requirements and examples of position duties at each sensitivity level. GAO also recommended that once those policies and procedures are in place, the DNI and the Director of OPM, in their roles as Executive Agents, collaborate to revise the position designation tool to reflect the new guidance. ODNI and OPM concurred with this recommendation and recently told GAO that they are revising the tool."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 20, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Personnel Security Clearances: Actions Needed to Help Ensure Correct Designations of National Security Positions, text, November 20, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297393/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.