A bi-weekly newsletter from the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control
Providing timely information to help keep NIH safe and secure
June 3, 2020 Issue of DPSAC News

In this issue:
  • Third NIH Virtual Town Hall Focuses on the NIH Framework for Returning to Physical Work Spaces
  • Dealing with Browser Issues When Accessing the OPM Position Designation Tool (PDT)
  • It's Important to Respond to DCSA Requests for In-Person Interviews if Contacted
  • FAQs: How to Return PIV Badges of Departing Staff to DPSAC During the Pandemic
  • AOs Who Wish to Obtain Sponsor Authority
Third NIH Virtual Town Hall Focuses on the NIH Framework for Returning to Physical Work Spaces 
On May 21, 2020, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., hosted the NIH Third Virtual Town Hall meeting which focused on the NIH Framework for Returning to Physical Work Spaces.

More than 19,000 NIH staff tuned into the town hall, during which Dr. Collins and senior staff recapped Julie Berko’s  video presentation on the framework  for returning to physical work space and responded to the most frequently asked questions. As in the previous two virtual Town Halls, Dr. Collins was joined by NIH senior leadership to help answer some of the nearly 775 questions that had been submitted by NIH staff prior to the meeting. On hand to assist were Alfred Johnson, NIH Deputy Director for Management, Julie Berko, Director, NIH Office of Human Resources and NIH Chief People Officer and Sharon Milgram, Director, NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education.

In recapping the meeting in an open letter to the NIH workforce the following day , Dr. Collins noted that a bout 80% of the approximately 775 submitted questions focused on issues such as testing, timing of returns, trainee concerns, cleaning of facilities, and safety concerns, so those topics were prioritized for discussion.

Dr. Collins noted that the key takeaway from the town hall is that “all changes to bring staff back to their physical work spaces will be careful, gradual, and measured, with safety as our highest priority. NIH staff who have been teleworking will continue to do so until further notice as we assess local health and operational conditions.”

Acknowledging that everyone is intensely interested in the plans for returning to the workplace, Dr. Collins encouraged all staff to take the time to review the abundant resources now available to NIH employees via the NIH Employee intranet website [see: NIH Guidance for Staff on Coronavirus ]

Links to these resources are also provided here:

To read Dr. Collin’s full m essage recapping the Virtual Town Hall and his Update on COVID-Research, please click here, or visit the NIH Intranet site at: https://employees.nih.gov/pages/coronavirus/all-staff-email-20200522.aspx.
Dealing with Browser Issues
When Accessing the OPM
Position Designation Tool (PDT)
The PDT is the newly required tool for determining the correct background investigation individuals at NIH must complete. As part of the NED registration process, AOs are now required to complete the PDT and upload the results to NED. 

To access, the PDT, visit https://pdt.nbis.mil/ . Many AOs are reporting that when they visit this link, they get an error message stating “Your connection is not private” which warns individuals not to proceed (see Figure 1).

DPSAC recently had several staff members attempt to access the PDT using different web browsers (Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox). DSPAC was able to successfully access the tool using every browser except Chrome. The other browsers would pause for approximately 1-2 minutes and then proceed to the site.

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) which maintains the PDT site is aware of the issue and is actively working to correct it. They recommend individuals try different web browsers to access the site. Users presented with a warning message will have the option to 'visit the site anyway' or continue by clicking the 'advance' button. (see the sample screen shots below).
By selecting the 'Advance' option the user will be taken to the OMP PDT site. DCSA has indicated that you can contact them at 724-794-5612, ext. 4600 if you are still not able to access the site.
It's Important to Respond to DCSA Requests for In-Person Interviews
If Contacted
Individuals hired at NIH for positions designated above Tier 1 should be aware that they may be contacted by a Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) investigator for an in-person interview. If you are contacted by a DCSA investigator, please make sure to respond to their call or email as soon as possible.
 According to DPSAC, quite a few individuals being contacted by DCSA to participate in in-person interviews think these requests are a scam. Please be assured that these requests are a legitimate part of the investigative process. It is important that applicants respond to these requests. Not responding will result in an incomplete investigation and possibly having one’s physical and logical access to NIH deactivated until the requirement has been completed.
If you are contacted by an investigator who wants to arrange an in-person interview, but you are wary, you may ask the investigator for his/her badge number and confirm the person’s authenticity by calling DCSA at 1-888-795-5673 or emailing them at RMFSIMSST@nbib.gov. DCSA will be happy to confirm that the person is who s/he says s/he is. Here is a link to the DCSA website with further instructions:  https://www.dcsa.mil/mc/pv/mbi/vi/
Q .  D o you have any advice/guidance regarding the return of badges during the COVID-19 pandemic? Given current conditions, and the fact that AOs are effectively on full-time telework, it is nearly impossible for AOs to collect the badges of departing personnel.
Are there any badge-return process updates that we should implement? Would it make sense to have departing staff mail badges back to a central NIH location that is able to collect mail?
We were hoping you had an alternative method already identified or possible suggestions.
To this point, we have guided departing staff to return their badges to their respective AOs (who then deactivate in NED and return badges to your office), but we want to confirm that AOs can direct departing staff to mail their badges directly to: Access Control Branch, 31 Center Drive, Building 31, Room 1B03. Bethesda, MD 20892
 A.   B adges are accountable property and DPSAC is required to track every badge throughout its lifecycle. Badges should be returned to the Access Control Branch, Building 31, Room 1B03 within 24 hours of a person’s departure. Access Control will document the return and properly destroy the badges.  
Badges may be mailed back to the address printed on the back of each badge. If badges are not returned, when HHS audits DPSAC and the badges are unaccounted for, NIH could lose its ability to print ID badges locally. NIH would then have to have HHS issue the badges at PSC locations with long delays. 
Please note: Should an individual choose to mail his/her PIV badges directly to DPSAC, the AO will still have to deactivate the NED record. 
Avoiding Additional
Delays in Processing
New Hires

Processing times are often delayed due to reasons outside of DPSAC control, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Incomplete or not submitted OF-306
  • Candidate response time
  • Issues requiring clarification by the candidate
  • Untimely submission of initial e-QIP or corrected e-QIP

How the AO and HR communities can assist:
  • By ensuring all required documents have been uploaded into HR's 'Onboarding Manager' prior to establishing a NED account
  • By entering candidates as early as possible but no later than 8 weeks prior to their Entry on Duty (EOD) date
  • By working with DPSAC to ensure candidates respond in a timely manner to inquiries

ALT cards -- should be returned to the  IC ALT card coordinator - NOT to DPSAC.
Administrative Officers (AOs) who wish to obtain sponsor authority must complete the sponsor training. To access the training module, click on: Sponsor .

Upon completion, the AO should sign and email a copy of the certificate found at the end of the training module to Alex Salah at: salaha@ors.od.nih.gov . Upon receipt of the certificate, Mr. Salah will authorize the AO as a Sponsor. 

Note: ONLY individuals with an Administrative Officer role in NED are eligible to be HHS ID Badge/PIV Card Sponsors.  
Are there topics you would like to read more about in future issues of DPSAC News?
Please send your suggestions to: Lanny.Newman@nih.gov . Your input is greatly appreciated.
A biweekly e-newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Research Services, Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (ORS/DPSAC) to keep its readers informed of personnel security and access control policies and practices designed to safeguard the NIH and its workforce. DPSAC is responsible for verifying personal identity, validating suitability, reviewing background checks, authorizing facility access and issuing ID badges for NIH personnel. 

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