NED Release v.5.2 is tentatively scheduled for late March 2020. This version update will require the NIH administrative community to begin utilizing the Position Designation Tool (PDT) for determining the appropriate background investigation required for a position. As part of the lead-up to the NED Release, DPSAC and the NED Team will be communicating more details about these upcoming changes over the next several weeks.
In Part I of this 5-part series on the updated PDT, the
January 1, 2020 DPSAC News
ntroduced readers to this tool. That article described the tool's purpose and use in assessing the duties and responsibilities of a position and whether a position's duties may present any adverse effect on the national security and the degree of the potential effect. These determinations establish the sensitivity level of the position. The results of this assessment determine what level of investigation should be conducted for a position.
Part II through Part IV of this series guides the reader through the steps to successfully complete the PDT.
Part II: How to Use the PDT
Step 1 of the PDT Tool -- Identifying Any National Security Duties
Each position in the Federal service must be evaluated for a position sensitivity designation commensurate with the responsibilities and assignments of the position as they relate to national security.*
Step 1 of the PDT Tool asks the user to identify from a list of national security duties those duties performed in the position being evaluated.
The PDT requires the user to identify the national security duties that apply for the position in question by checking the appropriate box(es) (see the “List of National Security Duties below). For contractor positions, it is important to assess the duties
will be performing for the Federal Government and not for the individual’s contract employer. In evaluating the list of duties in Step 1, it can be easy to forget the context, which is national security.
For these duties to be relevant to the position being designated, there has to be a potential impact to the national security.
When ready to choose from the selection of possible national security duties, the user will be presented with a box at the bottom of the list labelled ‘No National Security Duties.’ This box is checked by default.
If the user selects one or more national security duties, the ‘No National Security Duties’ box will automatically get unchecked.
List of National Security Duties:
Requires eligibility for access to classified information
Homeland Security and duties involving protecting the nation’s borders, ports, critical
infrastructure or key resources
Developing plans or policies related to national defense or military operations
Planning or conducting intelligence or counterintelligence activities, counterterrorism
activities or related activities concerned with the preservation of the military strength
of the United States
Protecting or controlling access to facilities or information systems
Controlling, maintaining custody, safeguarding, or disposing of hazardous materials,
arms, ammunition or explosives
Investigative or adjudicative duties related to national security, suitability fitness or
identity credentialing duties related to criminal justice or law enforcement
Conducts internal or external investigations, inquiries or audits of the functions listed
here in Step 1
National security policy-making or policy-determining responsibility
Public health and safety
Fiduciary responsibility in support of activities with national security impact
Unclassified information (e.g. private, controlled unclassified, or proprietary
Other duties that could otherwise bring about a material adverse effect on national
] No National Security Duties
If any national security duties are indicated as applicable with the given position, the level of damage that may be caused by the position must also be indicated. Users must select one of the following options:
Position requires eligibility for access to Sensitive Compartmented
Information (SCI), other intelligence-related Special Sensitive Information, or involvement in
Top Secret Special Access Programs (SAP)
Exceptionally Grave Damage:
Position requires eligibility for access to Top Secret or “Q” level
Significant or Serious Damage:
Position requires eligibility for access to Secret, Confidential,
or “L” level information
No Material Adverse Effect on National Security:
Position does not require eligibility for
access to classified information
When completing the PDT, if you are not sure if any of the national security duties are applicable or how much damage could be caused, please contact the supervisor or project officer who will be overseeing the person filling the position.
This individual should be able to accurately identify the relevant duties (if any) and estimate the level of damage the position could cause to national security.
The definition of national security from 5 CFR 1400.102(a)(3):“refers to those activities which are directly concerned with the foreign relations of the United States, or protection of the Nation from internal subversion, foreign aggression, or terrorism.” In 5 CFR 1400.102(a)(4), a national security position is defined to include any position in a department or agency, the occupant of which could bring about, by virtue of the nature of the position, a material adverse effect on the national security.
More about the PDT
For a quick video tutorial on the PDT, please click