Glossary of Definitions
Access to Classified Information. The ability and opportunity to obtain knowledge or possession of classified information. An individual, in fact, may have access to classified information by being in a place where such information is kept if the security measures which are in force are not sufficient to prevent gaining knowledge or possession of the classified information.
Adjudication. A process that requires an examination of a sufficient amount of information regarding an individual to determine whether the individual is an acceptable security/suitability risk.
Adverse Action. A removal from employment, suspension from employment, reduction in grade, reduction in pay, or furlough of 30 days or less.
Agency. Any department or agency as defined in Section 105, Title 5, United States Code.
Background Investigation. A personnel investigation conducted to meet the requirements of Executive Order (E.O.) 10450 and E.O. 12968.
Break-In-Service. When continuing Government service is disrupted for a period of time greater than 24 months.
Classified Information. Information that requires protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security and that is classified for such purposes by an appropriate classifying authority in accordance with the provisions of E.O. 12958, or any successor order, or E.O. 12951, or any successor order, or the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
Confidential. National security information or material, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security.
Consultant/Contractor. An individual performing a service under an agreement or contract with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Critical-Sensitive Positions. Positions that have the potential for exceptionally grave damage to the national security when occupied by individuals. This includes positions that require access to Top Secret national security information or materials and positions that require a Department of Energy (DOE) “Q” security clearance for access to DOE national security information, materials, and/or sites.
Credit Check. A credit check is a request for a report from a credit bureau showing the credit status of the subject of a personnel security investigation.
Derogatory Information. Information concerning an individual that indicates employment, or continuing employment, may not be clearly consistent with suitability for Federal service or in the best interest of national security.
Formerly Restricted Data. Information that has been removed from the Restricted Data category by joint action of the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. This is based upon a determination that the information relates primarily to the military utilization of atomic weapons and that the information can be adequately safeguarded as national security information.
High Risk Position. The term used for a position that meets the suitability and Information Technology (IT)/computer high-risk level criteria as related to the efficiency of the Federal service.
Industrial Security. That portion of internal security that is concerned with the protection of classified information in the hands of U.S. industry.
Investigative Processing. A procedure which examines an individual’s character, reputation, fitness, loyalty, qualifications, and other pertinent factors, by personal, written, or electronic contact with the sources of information.
IT/Computer Position. Any position in which the duties involve participation in designing, developing, operating, or maintaining sensitive computer systems or sensitive applications, as well as those positions requiring access to sensitive data.
Low Risk Position. The term used for a position that meets the suitability and IT/computer low-risk level criteria as related to the efficiency of the Federal service.
Moderate Risk Position. The term used for a position that meets the suitability and IT/computer moderate-risk level criteria as related to the efficiency of the Federal service.
National Interest. The national interest concerns the well-being and security of the United States. It applies to the furtherance of the Nation’s foreign policy objectives and overseas interests; protection of the Nation from internal subversion, sabotage, espionage, and other illegal acts as well as from foreign aggression; promotion of the domestic well-being and the economic and productive strength of the Nation; and fulfillment of the public trust through the proper and lawful conduct of the Government’s business.
National Security. Refers to the national defense or foreign relations of the United States.
National Security Information. Designated information which requires protection in the interest of national defense or foreign relations of the United States, that is, information classified in accordance with Executive Order 12958 and not falling within the definition of Restricted Data or Formerly Restricted Data.
National Security Information Clearance. An administrative determination based on the results of an investigation that an individual is trustworthy and may be granted access to classified information as required in the performance of assigned duties.
National Security Position Program. The segment of security that concerns the trustworthiness and integrity of Federal employees and others associated with the Federal Government who have national security duties or require access to national security information. It is also the process in the Government for complying with national security interest requirements under Executive Order 10450 and Executive Order 12968.
Need To Know. In addition to a security clearance, a person must have a need to have access to the particular classified information or material sought in connection with the performance of his/her official duties or by contractual obligations. The determination of that need will be made by the official(s) having responsibility for the classified information or material.
Noncritical-Sensitive Positions. Positions that have the potential for some damage to serious damage to the national security when occupied by individuals. This includes positions that require access to Secret or Confidential national security information or materials and positions that require a Department of Energy (DOE) “L” security clearance for access to DOE information, materials, and/or sites.
Personal Interview. One or more interviews with the subject of the investigation will be conducted in all Minimum Background Investigations, Limited Background Investigations, Background Investigations, Single Scope Background Investigations, Periodic Reinvestigations, Periodic Reinvestigation for Single Scope Background Investigations, and Upgrade and Update Investigations, with signed statements being taken when the issues warrant.
Personnel Security Processing. Any investigation required for the purpose of determining the eligibility of employees, contractors, and consultants with the USGS for access to classified information. This includes, but is not limited to, suitability information and affiliations with subversive organizations. It also includes investigations of allegations that arise subsequent to adjudicative action, which require resolution to determine an individual’s current eligibility for access to classified information.
Primary Special Security Officer. Designated by the Associate Director for Geography in accordance with SM 440.3.6.C., 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 Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) program activities within the USGS.
Public Trust Positions. Positions that have been identified as having met the High and Moderate Risk levels of the suitability and IT/computer position criteria as related to the efficiency of the Federal service.
Regional Security Officers. Individuals responsible for security related duties to include personnel security, physical security, and information security for their assigned region. There are five Regional Security Officer designations within the USGS: Headquarters’ Security Officer, Eastern Region Security Officer, Central Regional Security Officer, Western Region Security Officer, and the Geography Discipline Security Officer. The Geography Discipline Security Officer performs personnel security related duties for employees assigned to the Geography Discipline only for all regions to include Headquarters, Eastern, Central, and Western. All other Regional Security Officers perform personnel security related duties for all other disciplines within their region – Administrative Policy and Services Office, Biology, Director’s Office, Geology, and Water.
Restricted Data. All data (information) concerning design, manufacture, or utilization of atomic weapons; the production of special nuclear material; or the use of special nuclear material in the production of energy, but not to include data declassified or removed from the Restricted Data category pursuant to Section 142 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.
Secret. National security information or material, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.
Security Clearance. An administrative determination based on the result of an investigation that an individual is trustworthy and may be granted access to classified information as required in the performance of assigned duties.
Security Clearance Determination. An administrative decision which assesses the potential risks involved in granting an individual access to classified information. A favorable clearance determination establishes that the risk is acceptable. An unfavorable clearance determination establishes that the risk is unacceptable, which can result in denial or revocation of a security clearance.
Security File. A file of pending or completed security documents not prescribed for inclusion in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder. These files will be maintained by the USGS Security Officer for sensitive positions and by the servicing personnel office for public trust positions. Access thereto will be in strict conformance with Department of the Interior directives implementing the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.
Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). Classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes, which is required to be handled exclusively within formal control systems established by the Director of Central Intelligence.
Security Policy Board (SPB). The Board was established by Presidential Decision Directive 29 to consider, coordinate, and recommend policy directives for U.S. security policies, procedures, and practices.
Sensitive Positions. All positions requiring access to national security information that are designated as either Special-Sensitive, Critical-Sensitive, or Noncritical-Sensitive.
Special Access Program. Any program imposing access controls beyond those normally provided for access to Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. Such programs include special clearances, investigative requirements, or special access lists of persons determined to require special access.
Special Security Officer. The Special Security Officer administers the special access program policies, controls, and procedures governing the SCI program for an accredited Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.
Special-Sensitive Positions. Positions that have the potential for inestimable damage to the national security when occupied by individuals. This includes positions that require access to sensitive compartmented information or materials.
Suitability. A person’s character, reputation, trustworthiness, and fitness as related to the efficiency of the Federal service.
Top Secret. National security information or material, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.
USGS Security Manager/Officer. The USGS Security Manager/Officer has primary bureau responsibility for planning, directing, and implementing all activities relating to safeguarding national security information; physical security of USGS offices, buildings, and facilities; law enforcement; and exercising oversight over the personnel security program to include implementing all activities relating to the position sensitivity program.
Visit Authorization and Clearance Certification. The certification of an individual’s security clearance by an authorized security officer to facilitate the discussion and handling of classified information between different Government organizations to include Government contractors.
National Security Position Survey Manual Handbook 440-7-H
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