Federal budget cuts jar DISP.
Since the Defense Investigative Service (DIS) is a service agency and 85 percent of its budget goes to personnel costs, the bulk of future reductions will be in personnel.
The basis of the DISP's work load - the inventory of cleared contractor facilities - has shown only limited decreases since 1989. Conversely, the number of special access programs for which DIS has direct inspection responsibilities has continued to increase while the defense budget dwindles. The result is the implementation of management initiatives to ensure program continuity within budget constraints.
Flexible inspection. An initiative of some tenure, originally established in 1989, is flexible inspection scheduling. It allows DIS security representatives to exercise their professional judgment within defined limits and according to existing formal guidance in establishing inspection frequency.
Depending on a facility's security posture and other factors, inspection scheduling may be altered to gear inspections directly to the individual facility's security requirements. This provides for more effective use of field personnel in their inspection, advice, and assistance roles through increased, locally established latitudes in field operations.
Contracting out. A newly developed initiative is contracting out. This idea takes advantage of fully trained individuals located in areas of the country where the work load has significantly exceeded resources.
This program has provided immediate and short-range field support in geographic areas requiring immediate attention due either to operational concerns or significant personnel shortages. This is a short-range solution used for brief periods to address immediate resource shortfalls that may have a negative impact on national security.
Dual-credential program. The most recent initiative is the dual-credential program. It provides formal training and operational use of selected personnel as both industrial security representatives and special agents.
The first group of agency employees selected for dual-credential positions recently completed training at the Department of Defense (DoD) Security Institute. This program provides field managers and line supervisors with increased flexibility in their use of field personnel on agency missions, particularly in addressing temporary work load imbalances. Additional savings will be realized through reduced requirements for travel in support of the missions.
National review. Another current initiative is a national review of the work load in the context of current personnel resource levels at the various DIS field and resident offices.
The need for periodic reviews is driven by attrition, which has the potential to create work load and resource imbalances at field and resident offices given the current DoD hiring freeze.
The first review was completed during the first quarter of the fiscal year. Because of the conclusions reached in this review, field personnel have volunteered for permanent station changes to offices where the work load and resource imbalances are the greatest.
Such reassignment of personnel will occur only where the imbalances cannot be managed through previously described alternatives. A second review will be completed during the last quarter of this fiscal year. These periodic reviews will ensure cost-effective applications of limited resources.
The objective in all these management initiatives is to minimize the negative impact of current and anticipated budget reductions in DISP and to continue to provide effective oversight and guidance in a program critical to national security. These management initiatives seek to provide continuity in these uncertain times.
John F. Donnelly is director of the Defense Investigative Service.