A bi-weekly newsletter from the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control
Providing timely information to help keep NIH safe and secure
December 16, 2020 Issue of DPSAC News
 In this issue:
  • Using the Position Designation Tool - Properly - to Help Safeguard the Federal Workforce, Enhance National Security 
  • News Briefs: Revised Visitor Access Procedures for NIH Facilities
  • AOs Who Wish to Obtain Sponsor Authority
Using the Position Designation Tool - Properly - to Help Safeguard the Federal Workforce, Enhance National Security 
The release of NED v.5.2, in the first quarter of 2020 required the NIH administrative community to begin using the Position Designation Tool (PDT) for determining the appropriate background investigation required for a position and recording the results in NED. The PDT assesses the duties and responsibilities of a position to determine the degree of potential damage to the efficiency or integrity of the service from misconduct of an incumbent of a position. 
The Need to Accurately Enter Data into the PDT
Recently DPSAC has seen an increase in positions being categorized and entered into NED with an incorrect Tier. As a result DPSAC must contact the administrative officers for correction resulting in delays in badge issuance and background investigations.
DPSAC wants to remind PDT users that parts 1400 and 731 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations establishes the risk level of a given position. This assessment also determines if a position’s duties and responsibilities present the potential for position incumbents to bring about a material adverse effect on the national security, and the degree of that potential effect, which establishes the sensitivity level of a position. The results of this assessment determine what level of investigation should be conducted for a position. As an AO, if you are unsure what risk factors listed in the PDT apply to a given position, DPSAC recommends contacting the supervisor, Project Officer or any other person who will oversee the position. This person should be able to provide additional guidance on which factors are relevant. 
Proper position designation is the foundation of an effective and consistent suitability and personnel security program. The PDT determines, through the evaluation of national security and suitability requirements, what type of investigation is required and the depth that an individual is screened for a position.
Available PDT Resources
DPSAC wants to remind PDT users that they have a number of resources available to them to help guide them through the PDT process. One very helpful resource resides on the DPSAC website at https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/ser/dpsac/resources/Pages/investigation-requirements-for-your-position.aspx . This easy-to-follow tutorial on the Position Designation Tool begins with a definition of the Tool, followed by sections on regulatory guidance, where to get additional help with PDT, understanding the PDT’s underlying logic, who is responsible for completing the PDT, and a description of the four step process to complete the PDT.
For the definitive PDT resource, users should refer the Position Designation System and Glossary published by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and posted on the OPM website at: https://www.opm.gov/suitability/suitability-executive-agent/position-designation-tool/. This PDF ‘Position Designation-System-with-Glossary’ can also be accessed by clicking on the link: PDS).
This publication describes the four-step process that will guide the designator through an examination of the position’s duties and responsibilities. The completion of this process will result in a final designation for the position which, in turn, will determine the investigative requirements for the position in question. OPM has added a glossary to the document that readers should find particularly helpful.
5-Part DPSAC News series
In January 2020, DPSAC News ran a five-part series on the PDT to help the administrative staff and DPSAC News subscribers understand how this updated tool works. The series provides an excellent overview of the Position Designation Tool and carefully describes how to properly use and upload the PDT into NED when entering a new person into the system or updating the position information section for existing NED records.
Below is a summary of each of the 5 series parts and links to the DPSAC News issue in which it appeared. 
  •  Part II, Step 1, January 15, 2020 DPSAC News showed readers how to use the tool to determine whether the position being evaluated had any national security duties associated with it. 
  • In this final installment of the series, February 26, 2020 DPSAC News (Part V, Step 4), DPSAC News described how the Position Designation Tool calculates the required background investigation for the evaluated position. Step 4 also spells out the required tasks the administrator must complete in order to successfully conclude the process.

Position Designation Completion [STEP 4]
Upon completing Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the PDT, the tool will indicate the required background investigation for the evaluated position (see Figure 1 below). In addition, the tool provides the ability to download a PDF copy of the completed output.

This PDF file must be uploaded to the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) when entering a new person into the system or updating the position information section for existing NED records. The PDF copy of the PDT will then be transmitted to DPSAC to ensure the correct background is initiated for the position.

If you have any questions on using the PDT, please contact DPSAC at: ORSPersonnelSecurity@mail.nih.gov or (301) 402-9755.
News Brief
Revised Visitor Access Procedures for NIH Facilities
The NIH recently modified its visitor procedures to increase safety and promote security awareness for the entire community. Visitors will be allowed to pass through the Gateway Visitor Center and Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) only if they can show they have a legitimate purpose or sanctioned business reason. 

Perimeter Security Access Changes: NIH security personnel now ask all daily visitors the reason for their visit, the location they intend to visit, and if applicable, who they are visiting. It is incumbent on the visitor and the NIH host to coordinate arrival times to ensure that when security calls the NIH host, s/he is available to confirm the visit. This change does not apply to individuals with an NIH-issued ID badge.

The security staff will still conduct their screening activities in the same professional and respectful manner to ensure our visitors have a positive first impression of the NIH. Patient and patient visitor procedures at the West Drive entrance (7 days a week, 6AM – 10PM) and CVIF (all other hours) will remain unchanged.

Additional details on the revised visitor procedures and building access can be found at: https://security.nih.gov/.
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 coordinatorNOT 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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