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News Release

Thursday, May 01, 2008
Contact: Edmund D. Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

Statement from OPM Director Linda Springer Regarding the Revision of Background Investigation Questionnaire

Washington, DC- The following statement was issued by Director Linda M. Springer of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

"The Secretary of Defense today announced the implementation for all DoD components of a revision to Standard Form (SF) 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires for all background security investigations. The revised Question 21 (see text below) will also apply government-wide to all persons completing SF86.

As the agency with the statutory authority to conduct background investigations for the Federal government - including responsibility for the background investigation questionnaire, OPM takes its responsibility to ensure the safety of the Federal workforce very seriously. Our background investigation process has always recognized that our men and women in the armed forces must not be discouraged from seeking mental health counseling when appropriate."

Mental health counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny a clearance.

In the last 7 years, have you consulted with a health care professional regarding an emotional or mental health condition or were you hospitalized for such a condition?

Answer "No" if the counseling was for any of the following reasons and was not court-ordered:

- strictly marital, family or grief not related to violence by you; or

- strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment.

If you answered "Yes," indicate who conducted the treatment and/or counseling, provide the following information, and sign the Authorization for Release of Medical Information Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).


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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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