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The big switch.

The Big Switch by John F. Donnelly

Last year, new government security forms were introduced to enable industry, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the military all to use the same forms to request clearances and investigations from the Defense Investigative Service DIS). Using a standard set of forms is beneficial and cost-effective.

The new forms are DD Form 3982, national agency questionnaire; DD Form 398, personnel security questionnaire; and DD Form 1879, DoD request for personnel security investigation to industry. These forms replaced DD Forms 48, 48-3, and 49.

Problems, however, have arisen with the conversion. Developing forms for all users and uses-which include initial clearances, conversion from government or military to industrial clearances, revalidations, reinstatements, and concurrent clearances - has been a formidable task.

One item DoD contractors find controversial is the requirement that they review local-or company-files. Concern has focused on two factors: contractor liability or litigation, which may result from the disclosure of adverse information contained in local files, and the review of medical records. Medical records are not always open for review or available to nonmedical personnel. In the latter instance, the concern includes which department-medical or security-is most qualified to review and provide information from medical records. Reporting information from local file checks on clearance applications is synonymous with the requirement of paragraph 6b(1) of the Industrial Security Manual (ISM), which requires contractors to report adverse information on employees cleared for access to classified information. The personnel security clearance (PCL) application provides another format for reporting th information.

Over the years various a ave been published on what constitutes adverse information and what must be reported to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO). This guidance should be followed when completing a request for a PCL. Unfortunately, specifically defining all "reportable" adverse information is not possible.

DIS maintains that any information that reflects adversely on the integrity or character of an employee and suggests that his or her ability to safeguard classified information may be impaired should be reported to DISCO for evaluation. Situations with no precedent or that are otherwise unusual or questionable should be discussed with an industrial security representative.

Company policy often prohibits nonmedical personnel from reviewing medical records. When that is the case, the PCL application may reflect that a review of medical files is not permissible. However, to comply with the requirements of paragraph 6b(1) of the ISM, a system should be established that allows medical and security personnel to exchange pertinent information. Usually such a system is already in place due to existing reporting requirements.

The requirement for an employee's immediate supervisor to certify that he or she is or is not aware of adverse information on the applicant and to provide any known adverse information has also been a concern. Specifically, concerns range from protecting supervisors from ensuing litigation to defining adverse information for supervisory personnel.

In two specific cases, the US Court of Appeals decided that a contractor is not liable for defamation of an employee because of reports made to the government according to the requirements of the ISM. The supervisor and the facility security officer (FSO) are responding to government requirements.

Paragraph 5af of the ISM has for some time required supervisors and managers to advise their FSO of information on cleared employees that indicates such access may be questionable or not in the interest of national security. They are now required to provide this information on the PCL application. The FSO is responsible for ensuring that supervisors understand adverse information requirements, that questionable behavior or circumstances are open for discussion with security personnel, and that supervisors found falsifying information with the intent to harm an individual's reputation are appropriately dealt with.

Finally, the FY 1991 Defense Appropriations Bill requires DoD to determine if an investigative file that may be used to determine whether to grant a security clearance is available from another government department or agency before it spends funds to determine whether to grant a PCL. Because the present forms contain questions pertaining only to a previously held security clearance, information on background investigations by the DoD or other government agencies or departments must also be provided now. Further details on this new requirement are available in the upcoming Industrial Security Letter or from industrial security representatives.

We ask for your patience and understanding during this period of trial and error in using the new forms. Additional changes may be required, and controversial or questionable items will be clarified. John F. Donnelly is director of the Defense investigative Service.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Pentagon Corner; new government security forms
Author:Donnelly, John F.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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