A bi-weekly newsletter from the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control
Providing timely information to help keep NIH safe and secure
June 17, 2020 Issue of DPSAC News

In this issue:
  • NIH Completes Year-Long Project to Replace PIV Card Readers Across NIH Campuses
  • HHS to Replace All PIV Cards with More Secure Model by 2024
  • Dealing with Browser Issues When Accessing the DCSA Position Designation Tool (PDT)
  • FAQs: Prescreening Requirements
  • AOs Who Wish to Obtain Sponsor Authority
NIH Completes Year-Long Project to Replace PIV Card Readers Across NIH Campuses
Starting in early April 2019 DPSAC began installing new PIV-card readers equipped to read the v.8 PIV cards that will become the new standard when the current cards are replaced beginning in July 2020. NIH is undertaking this project to meet HSPD-12 requirements.

The NIH Bethesda campus has over 5,000 readers that operate with PIV cards to control access to doors at NIH buildings, offices and laboratories. There are an additional 1,000 readers at the other NIH campuses. This does not apply to leased buildings that use the Data Card or other fobs for door access.

DPSAC originally planned on installing approximately 100 readers a week to accomplish its goal. However, the exact time frame was dependent on the supply of card stock. In January 2020, the manufacturer informed DPSAC that it had discovered a defect in its last shipment of readers. DPSAC halted installations and awaited instructions from the manufacturer on how to proceed. In late April 2020 the manufacturer informed DPSAC that they had come up with a solution to the reader problem and that DPSAC could resume installations. 

Originally DPSAC was concerned that If the existing supply of cards was used up quicker than anticipated, DPSAC would be forced to speed up the installation process. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the ‘burn rate’ of badges slowed down and DPSAC has been able complete the card reader installations before the V.7 card stock was depleted (see the following article: HHS to Replace PIV Cards by 2024).   
HHS to Replace All PIV Cards with More Secure Model by 2024

NIH to Begin Migration from v.7 to v.8 PIV Cards in June 2020
Sometime in June 2020, NIH will begin issuing new PIV Cards that contain the more advanced ‘v.8’ chip. These new credentials, which will replace the v.7 cards currently in use, will be faster and more secure. The Department approved the new v.8 PIV card in February 2020. 

NIH must retire all v.7 PIV cards currently in use by NIH employees, contractors and affiliates by June 30, 2024 and will no longer be supported after that date. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established this deadline to eliminate physical access using proximity or “prox” readers.

As NIH migrates to the v.8 cards, badge users with the new cards will no longer be able to unlock a door or open a gate just by waving their badge NEAR (in proximity of) the new reader. Card users will need to remove their credential from the electromagnetically opaque card holder sleeve and ‘touch and hold’ their cards IN CONTACT WITH the reader. A video showing how to properly use the PIV card with the card reader is posted on the DPSAC website at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFt0hPnNv3I

The faster v.8 chip will mean less time required to physically issue the card and faster access at entry gates when scanning the card with the new card readers.

The life cycle of the v.7 chip cards issued after June 30, 2019 was shortened to 4 years. This will ensure that cards issued after that date expire before June 30, 2024. Once the v.7 chip card supply is exhausted NIH will begin using the v.8 card and will revert back to issuing a 5-year badge.
Helpful Tips on Accessing the
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, users will use the link https://pdt.nbis.mil/ . The June 3, 2020 issue of DPSAC News reported that many AOs visiting this link get an error message stating “Your connection is not private” which warns individuals not to proceed. In testing the site, DPSAC staff were able to successfully access the tool using several browsers (including Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer), but were unsuccessful when using Chrome.

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.

By selecting the 'Advance' option the user will be taken to the 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.
Q. What is the prescreening process?
A. Once the AO sponsors the candidate's PIV/RLA badge request for access to NIH facilities and information systems, the NED system sends a web service call to the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) Background Investigations Tracking System (BITS) to open a case to process the candidate. At this point, DPSAC begins the prescreening process. 

Prescreening includes the collection and review of the following :

  • Fingerprints
  • OF-306 Declaration for Federal Employment
  • A copy of the resume used during the application process
  • Submission of, or completed background investigation at the Tier designated by the duties/responsibilities of the individual’s position
  • For federal employee candidates, DPSAC will first verify that the Office of Human Resources (OHR) package is complete by checking the following: 
  • OF-306 is complete in "Onboarding Manager"
  • Ensure the individual has disclosed Selective Service Registration (SSR) if required. If the individual has not disclosed SSR as required, the case will be rejected and sent back to HR. (Note: Individuals who did not register for Selective Service as required may be found ineligible for employment in the federal service). 
  • DPSAC is in possession of the candidate's Resume, OF-8 (Official Position
  • Description) and Position Description Document.

Q. How does DPSAC determine whether a background investigation is required?
A. Once the HR 'package' is collected, DPSAC will validate the individual's need for a new background investigation. Federal investigation repositories are searched for an investigation that would meet or exceed the requirements of the current Position Designation Sensitivity and Risk Level.

Candidates with a favorably adjudicated Background Investigation on file
DPSAC will order the prior investigation, collect and review the results of prescreening to determine if the candidate's prior investigation can be reciprocally accepted for their position at NIH. Non-FTEs (i.e., Contractors, Affiliates) will be required to submit 2 years' worth of employment history to determine if a break in service exists since the investigation was completed. Federal Employees (FTEs) will submit their resume. 

If there are any issues with the prescreening results, or if the issues in the previous investigation are incompatible with the duties of the candidate's new position, DPSAC will attempt to mitigate these issues as part of the reciprocal acceptance review. Additional investigative checks may be required if the issues cannot be mitigated, or if the investigation cannot be reciprocally accepted. 

Candidates without a Background Investigation on file
These individuals will be initiated into the electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) to complete a new background investigation at the level determined by the duties and responsibilities of their current position at NIH. DPSAC will send the candidate instructions on completing e-QIP and other background forms.
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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