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Notice No. 01-08

Subject: 5 CFR 731 Suitability Regulations

Date: March 19, 2001

On December 28, 2000, revised regulations covering suitability adjudication were published in the Federal Register (Volume 65, Number 250, Pages 82239-82246).   The new regulations were to become effective January 29, 2001.   However, per subsequent notice published on January 26, 2001, in the Federal Register (Volume 66, Number 18, page 7863), the effective date for implementation was extended 60 days until March 30, 2001.

The primary revision concerns the delegation of additional adjudication responsibility to Federal agencies.   Attached to this Notice is a summary of all major changes.

Agencies may continue to submit applicant suitability cases to OPM for up to one year after the new regulations take effect.   This "grace period" will allow agencies to train personnel, develop internal instructions, and implement any additional adjudication procedures needed to meet the new requirements.   After the grace period expires on March 30, 2002, we will offer reimbursable products to agencies interested in continuing to use our adjudication services.   Details on the type of products and costs will be communicated in a future Notice.

Supplemental guidance will be available to assist agencies.   At some point in the future a "Suitability Processing Handbook" will be published.   OPM Appraisal Officers will distribute the Handbook to agency headquarters Personnel/Human Resource and/or Personnel Security offices, as appropriate.   The Handbook will be a controlled document.   Although the initial distribution will be in paper form, it may eventually be available for download from a secure website, such as the Extranet for Security Professionals (ESP).   We recognize that not everyone may have access to the ESP or other such secure websites.   Accordingly, parts of the Handbook may eventually be available from the main OPM website.

We will conduct training classes to explain the changes in the revised regulations.   The initial training offered will be limited to agency personnel who in turn will be expected to train their own agency personnel.   We anticipate offering this "Train the Trainer" course, probably every several weeks from April through June at least, in the Washington, D.C. area.   This initial training will be at no cost to agencies.   We will then be offering ongoing suitability training, open to all agency personnel, on a reimbursable basis.   This will initially be in the Washington, DC area, but we may also be able to provide training at field locations, if requested.   The minimum class size for field sites would be 30 students.

Over the next month, we will be contacting agencies that had previously requested suitability training to see if they would be interested in the "Train the Trainer" course for specific personnel or if they prefer sending a number of personnel to the open reimbursable training.   Agencies should direct all future requests for training to their respective OPM Appraisal Officers:

Investigations Service Headquarters, Washington, DC:   Appraisal Officers: (202) 606-1042

General questions regarding the new regulations or training may also be directed to the following:

Federal Investigations Processing Center (FIPC), Boyers, PA:

Kim Truckley, Senior Suitability Specialist: (724) 794-5612, ext. 244; e-mail: Kim.Truckley@opm.gov

Mike Thiem, Suitability Specialist: (724) 794-5612, ext. 275; e-mail: mpthiem@opm.gov

We will soon be initiating a Suitability Focus Group, comprised of OPM staff and agency representatives who will meet periodically in Washington, DC to discuss topics of concern to the general personnel and personnel security communities regarding the new suitability regulations. We will be selecting 6-10 agency representatives to serve, and are seeking interested volunteers.   Call the above referenced IS Security Appraisal or FIPC staff to volunteer or if you have questions. We expect the first meeting of the Focus Group to occur in early May.   We recommend that volunteers be members of either Personnel Security and/or Personnel Offices who would benefit, or be able to contribute, the most from being a part of such a Group.

Richard A. Ferris
Associate Director for Investigations

Attachments:

Comparison of Prior and Current Versions of 5 CFR 731 Suitability Regulations

Inquiries: OPM-IS, Appraisal Officers, 202-606-1042

Code: 731

Distribution: SOI/SONs

Notice Expires: Until Superceded

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