Security Clearances: Agencies Need Clearly Defined Policy for Determining Civilian Position Requirements

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), as Security Executive Agent, has not provided agencies clearly defined policy and procedures to consistently determine if a position requires a security clearance. Executive Order 13467 assigns DNI responsibility for, among other things, developing uniform and consistent policies to determine eligibility for access to classified information, and gives the DNI authority to issue guidance to agency heads to ensure uniformity in processes relating to those determinations. In the absence of this guidance, agencies are using an Office of Personnel Management ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. July 12, 2012.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), as Security Executive Agent, has not provided agencies clearly defined policy and procedures to consistently determine if a position requires a security clearance. Executive Order 13467 assigns DNI responsibility for, among other things, developing uniform and consistent policies to determine eligibility for access to classified information, and gives the DNI authority to issue guidance to agency heads to ensure uniformity in processes relating to those determinations. In the absence of this guidance, agencies are using an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) tool that OPM designed 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 in implementing OPM’s tool. In an April 2012 audit, OPM reviewed the sensitivity levels of 39 positions in an agency within the Department of Defense (DOD) and reached different conclusions than the agency for 26 of them. Problems exist, in part, because OPM and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) did not collaborate on the development of the position designation tool, and because their roles for suitability—consideration of character and conduct for federal employment—and security clearance reform are still evolving. Without guidance from the DNI, and without collaboration between the DNI and OPM in future revisions to the tool, executive branch agencies will continue to risk making security clearance determinations that are inconsistent or at improper levels."

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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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  • July 12, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Security Clearances: Agencies Need Clearly Defined Policy for Determining Civilian Position Requirements, report, July 12, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299086/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.