A bi-weekly newsletter from the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control
Providing timely information to help keep NIH safe and secure

January 15, 2020 Issue of DPSAC News
 In this issue:
  • Using the Position Designation Tool - Step 1: Identifying Any National Security Duties
  • Check Out DPSAC's New and Improved Website
  • DPSAC's New Kiosk Allows Users to Electronically Complete, Submit OF-306
  • Helpful Tips: Avoiding Additional Delays in Processing New Hires
  • AOs Who Wish to Obtain Sponsor Authority
Using the Position Designation Tool ( PDT):
Step 1- Identifying Any National Security Duties
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 i 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 the position 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

[ X ] 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:

O  Inestimable Damage: 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)   
O  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
O  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
In order to ensure a systematic, dependable, and uniform method of determining position designations, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) maintains the Position Designation Automated Tool (PDT). The PDT is an interactive tool that can be accessed at: https://www.opm.gov/suitability/suitability-executive-agent/position-designation-tool/

 For a quick video tutorial on the PDT, please click here .
DPSAC's Revised Website Offers Fast Search Capabilities to Find Personnel Security and Access Control Services
With DPSAC's launch of its new website on November 8, 2019, visitors can now navigate the site more easily to find the Personnel Security and Access Control information they need, whether to enroll as an NIH employee, contractor or affiliate, obtain access to NIH facilities or the NIH IT network or be issued their federal ID credentials (PIV Card or RLA Badge).

Services are presented in easy to follow, step-by-step sequences, beginning with an introductory ‘Know Before You Go’ section designed to help answer many of the basic questions newly arriving employees and contractors may have about background investigations, the badge issuance process at NIH, and a host of other topics before they visit the DPSAC offices.

If you haven't visited the DPSAC website yet, we invite you to 'stop by' and look for yourself. To check it out, click on the link: www.idbadge.nih.gov . We are excited to present this new and improved version of the DPSAC website to the NIH community and visitors.

While the URL for the website will remain https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/ser/dpsac/Pages/Home.aspxmany
users will want to continue using the  site’s easier-to-remember alias,  https://www.idbadge.nih.gov .
DPSAC's New Kiosk Workstation Enables Users to Electronically Complete, Submit OF-306 Form for Background Investigations
DPSAC recently rolled out a pilot Kiosk station located in the DPSAC main office (Building 31, Room 1B03) that allows individuals to electronically complete and submit the required OF-306 form for their background investigation directly to the DPSAC office. The Kiosk contains built-in logic to avoid common errors in form completion.

DPSAC has published a User Guide that includes a general description of the kiosk, as well as information about who can use it, where the station is located and hours of operation.

To view the Guide, click here.
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 classification 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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