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Date: July 10, 2003
This notice is to remind agencies of the importance of timely and careful adjudication of investigations and the availability of useful data from our system of records when our records are properly documented. OPM Director Kay Coles James recently notified Agency Heads and Chief Human Capital Officers of their responsibility to make timely and careful adjudication decisions, and to report these decisions to OPM as required by Executive Order and regulation. Director James places the highest level of importance on this issue, because of its implications for national security. She plans to work closely with the Chief Human Capital Officers to ensure that each agency places an appropriate level of emphasis and resources on this program. Agency Heads were asked to complete the review of all outstanding adjudication decisions within 60 days and report the results to OPM. We will conduct personnel security program oversight audits of those agencies that do not meet this deadline.
Although some agencies may believe they are exempt from reporting adjudication decisions to OPM, Executive Order 10450 provides OPM the authority to require agencies to report on adjudication actions they take based on OPM investigations. OPM issued regulations on this topic [5 CFR 731.203(e) and 5 CFR 732.302(b)]. Agencies are required to report adjudication decisions within 90 days of receiving completed investigations from OPM.
Derogatory issues such as serious criminal acts, drug or alcohol abuse, patterns of employment problems and falsification of pertinent facts are often developed during OPM investigations. As the Federal personnel security community continues to strive to protect homeland security, it becomes increasingly important that serious suitability issues are dealt with promptly and effectively.
Our Center for Investigations Services (CIS) has a number of processes in place to notify agencies when serious issues arise and to fulfill our responsibility under Executive Order 10450 to oversee agency adjudication of the investigations we conduct. Among these is a notice (form 79A, Report of Agency Adjudicative Action on OPM Personnel Investigations) that we send to the agency Security Office with the results of investigation. The form instructs agencies to call the CIS Suitability Adjudications Branch to coordinate adjudication of major issue cases and to report the final agency adjudication to CIS.
Although prompt reporting of adjudication is a requirement, agencies frequently do not report their adjudication actions to us. In FY 2002 issue cases, no adjudication action was reported in over 80% of the NACI investigations we conducted for non-sensitive/low risk positions, 52% of the NACLC/ ANACI cases conducted for secret clearance, and 45% of the field investigations conducted for higher clearance levels or public trust positions. We are asking you to be more diligent in adjudicating issue cases promptly and in reporting your adjudication to CIS via the 79A.
We enter 79A data in our system of records to document the actions agencies take when issues arise in OPM investigations. OPM uses this data to evaluate the effectiveness of agency personnel security programs. This data is also available to agency Security Offices. Upon request, we will provide agency Security Offices with statistical information showing the number of adjudicative reports returned by your agency and the actions your office has taken for each issue seriousness level. You can use this information to help manage security issues, identify inconsistencies in adjudicative decisions, and determine staff training needs.
To request data about your agency's adjudicative actions from our system of records, you may contact our Customer Services Group at 202-606-1042. You may also call our Suitability Adjudications Branch at 724-794-5612, with general questions about adjudication or to discuss adjudication of a specific case.
Kathy L. DillamanDeputy Associate Director for Investigations
Inquiries: OPM-CIS, Customer Services Group, 202-606-1042 OPM-CIS, Suitability Adjudications Branch, 724-794-5612
Code: 736, Investigations
Letter expires: When Superseded
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