440.7 – National Security Position Program
OPR: Office of Administrative Policy and Services/Office of Management Services
Instructions: This chapter replaces chapter 440.7, dated March 6, 1992.
1. Purpose: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Security Position Program chapter prescribes the Survey’s policies, procedures, and standards for the operation of the National Security position program.
2. Scope. The provisions in this Survey Manual chapter are applicable to all USGS employees assigned to sensitive positions regardless of the type of appointment or position or tenure. Nothing in this chapter is intended to eliminate or modify any personnel security requirements established by law or Executive Order (E.O.).
A. E.O. 10450, Security Requirements for Government Employment; E.O. 12968, Access to Classified Information; and E.O. 12958, Classified National Security Information.
B. Code of Federal Regulations 5, Parts 731, Suitability; 732, National Security Positions; and 736, Personnel Investigations.
C. Security Policy Board (SPB) Issuance 1-97, Investigative Standards; and SPB Issuance 2-97, Adjudicative Guidelines.
D. Departmental Manual 441.
E. E.O. 12829, National Industrial Security Program.
A. The USGS will employ and retain in employment in sensitive positions only those persons whose employment or retention in employment is clearly consistent with the interests of National Security.
B. Every appointment to a sensitive position within the USGS will be made subject to the appropriate background investigative processing and review.
C. A demonstrable need for access to classified information shall be established before initiating administrative clearance procedures, and the number of persons granted access to classified information shall be limited to the minimum consistent with USGS operational and security requirements.
5. Definitions. A glossary of terms and definitions which relate to the National Security position program is in the USGS National Position Handbook, 440-7-H, Appendix A.
6. Responsibilities. Specific areas of responsibility for implementation of the USGS National Security position program are as follows:
A. The Director.
(1) Implementing and administering a bureau National Security position program in compliance with the requirements of DM 441 to ensure employment or retention of each person is clearly consistent with the interests of National Security.
(2) Designating a USGS Security Manager and alternate to discharge these responsibilities.
(3) Designating a Primary Special Security Officer to implement and administer the bureau Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) programs.
B. USGS Security Manager.
(1) Ensuring the National Security position program is in conformance with all applicable directives.
(2) Ensuring the appropriate background investigation is conducted prior to granting a National Security information clearance.
(3) Ensuring the review and adjudication of completed investigations for positions
designated sensitive, and ensuring that those individuals reviewing and adjudicating
investigations for security determinations have undergone a favorably evaluated
background investigation commensurate with the scope and coverage of the investigative information being reviewed.
(4) Ensuring security determinations are consistent with the criteria and procedures provided in applicable directives.
(5) Establishing an update program to ensure that all employees in special-sensitive, critical-sensitive, and applicable noncritical-sensitive positions are updated within the required reinvestigation timeframe.
(6) Ensuring individuals granted security clearances are briefed prior to authorizing them to classified information and debriefed, as required.
(7) Ensuring positions occupied by individuals granted security clearances are periodically reviewed to determine a continuing requirement for the clearance, and administratively withdrawing or downgrading security clearances determined to be no longer required.
(8) Ensuring the maintenance of appropriate sensitive-position file documentation.
(9) Conducting periodic security compliance appraisals at primary regional security offices.
(10) Providing guidance on personnel security matters to personnel and Regional Security Officers.
(11) Submitting personnel security reports to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of the Interior (DOI), as required.
(12) Obtaining and certifying personnel investigation and National Security clearance information with other agencies and bureaus, as required.
(13) Exercising the oversight of all bureau SCI programs.
C. Primary Special Security Officer. The Primary Special Security Officer serves as the single point of contact for the coordination, operation, and administration of the special access program governing the SCI program activities within the USGS.
D. Personnel Officers.
(1) Preparing departmental pre-clearance cases for individuals selected for USGS Security Manager and alternate.
(2) Ensuring no appointments are made to special-sensitive and critical-sensitive
positions prior to completion of preappointment background investigations, except
for critical-sensitive positions with an authorized waiver approved by the Director
of the USGS; and ensuring no appointments are made to noncritical-sensitive
for noncritical-sensitive positions with an authorized waiver signed by the USGS Security Manager.
(3) Advising applicants and individuals transferring to special-sensitive, critical-sensitive, and noncritical-sensitive positions of the preappointment background investigation requirement in job vacancy announcements.
E. Regional Directors. Regional Directors are responsible for ensuring the implementation and administration of their respective regional National Security position program. The program must be in conformance with the requirements of this chapter. This includes the formal written designation of a Regional Security Officer and alternate, and a Security Officer and alternate for each major regional field location located within their region to assist in the management and coordination of all National Security position activities. This also includes designating Special Security Officers (SSO) for the purpose of receiving, processing, and storing SCI.
F. Regional Security Officers.
(1) Carrying out a program to screen all relevant personnel actions for incumbents in sensitive positions to include reassignments, transfers, or terminations to determine if a security action is required (i.e., security clearance debriefing).
(2) Ensuring that requests for appropriate background investigations and reinvestigations are initiated for incumbents in positions designated sensitive and the timely forwarding of the appropriate investigative forms to the Security Management Office.
(3) Assisting in the coordination of a security education program to ensure employees with access to classified information are provided initial briefings, refresher briefings, and termination debriefings.
(4) Assisting in the coordination of an update program to ensure that all employees in special-sensitive, critical-sensitive, and applicable noncritical-sensitive positions are updated with the required reinvestigation within the required timeframe.
(5) Ensuring that National Security information clearances for employees within their region are reviewed on a periodic basis to reduce the number and level of clearances to the minimum number necessary to meet operational requirements, and providing the results of this review to the Security Management Office.
(6) Designating appropriate field security representatives to assist the Regional Security Officer in the discharge of the above listed responsibilities.
G. Supervisors or Other Authorized Officials.
(1) Initiating a request for the waiver of preappointment investigative requirements for noncritical-sensitive positions and critical-sensitive positions when such action is necessary in the national interest.
(2) Reviewing National Security information clearances on an annual basis to reduce the number and level of clearances to the minimum number necessary to meet operational requirements.
H. Adjudicators. Persons responsible for adjudicating personnel background investigations must be thoroughly familiar with the laws, regulations, and criteria pertaining to security and suitability determinations. The adjudicator must consider all the information of record, favorable and unfavorable, and assess it in terms of the person’s loyalty, reliability, and trustworthiness.
7. General Procedures.
Federal agencies are required to designate all competitive Federal service positions at risk or sensitivity levels commensurate with the public trust responsibilities and National Security duties of the position to assure appropriate screening. Risk designation is based on an assessment of the position’s potential for adverse impact on the efficiency of the service. Sensitivity designation is based on an assessment of the degree of damage that an individual, by virtue of the occupancy of a position, could affect the National Security. All positions that have National Security duties must be designated at National Security sensitivity levels to assure appropriate screening. The National Security sensitivity criteria described in Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 732, are used together with the risk designation criteria described in Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 731, to determine the final position designation.
Detailed instructions and procedures for National Security sensitive positions are listed in the USGS National Security Position Handbook, 440-7-H.
8. National Security Information Clearance. The Security Management Office issues Top Secret and Secret security clearances for access to Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential National Security information and materials. The level of clearance issued is commensurate with the level of information and material required by the official duties of the position, except for those individuals requiring access to only Confidential information who will be granted Secret clearances. The Security Management Office bases the security clearance on a justified need-to-know provided by the supervisor of record and a favorable background investigation. Additionally, an initial security clearance briefing must be performed by the Regional Security Officer or alternate. All requests for Top Secret and Secret clearances must be forwarded to the Security Management Office through the Regional Security Officers or their alternates.
9. National Security Information Clearances for Contractors and Consultants.
Security clearances are required for all contract or consultant work involving
access to classified information. Requisition originators are responsible for
documenting the contractor’s need for access to classified information
in the documentation provided to the Office of Acquisition and Grants and must
consider the lead time required to secure
clearances for the contractor’s personnel. USGS contracting officials will ensure that security clearance requirements and costs are clearly defined in the contractual
document/consultant agreement. Security clearances for contractors and consultants are obtained through the Defense Security Service.
10. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Special Access Program. Special accesses for this program are provided by FEMA. The requirements for the FEMA special access include: a USGS Top Secret clearance, a favorable single scope background investigation completed or updated within the most recent 5-year period, and a special access briefing by FEMA. All requests for FEMA special access must be forwarded by memorandum to the Security Management Office through the Regional Security Officers or their alternates.
11. Department of Energy (DOE) “Q” and “L” Security Clearances. These two clearances are part of DOE’s program for protection of information as required under the Atomic Energy Act. The clearances may be granted only by DOE based on an individual’s need for access to the information and a favorable adjudication of the required investigation. All requests for DOE “Q” and “L” clearances must be forwarded to the Security Management Office through the Regional Security Officers or their alternates.
12. Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Access. The USGS SCI program is administered by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of the Interior and the member agencies of the intelligence community. Under the MOU, the USGS must comply with CIA directives and regulations which govern access to SCI. The requirements for access to SCI include: a USGS Top Secret clearance, a favorable single scope background investigation completed or updated within the most recent 5-year period, specific justification for the SCI access, and concurrence by the USGS cognizant security authority for SCI matters. All requests for SCI access must be forwarded to the Security Management Office through the Regional Security Officers or their alternates.
13. Personnel Security Appraisals. The Security Management Office will periodically conduct National Security position program appraisals for each regional security office. A formal report will be prepared and submitted to the appropriate Regional Security Officer with a copy to the Department of the Interior.
14. Reporting Requirements of USGS National Security Information Clearances. The Security Management Office will provide an annual list of those persons cleared for access to classified information or material to include names, dates cleared, and the investigative basis for clearances to DOI. Prior to submitting this report to DOI, the Regional Security Officers or their alternates will certify that responsible supervisors have reviewed the list for security clearance downgrade or termination actions.
(signed) Carol F. Aten
Chief, Office of Administrative Policy and Services