HomeInformation SystemsPosition Designation System (PDS) and Position Designation Tool (PDT)

Position Designation System (PDS) and Position Designation Tool (PDT)


 The Position Designation System (PDS) assesses the duties and responsibilities of a position to determine the degree of potential damage to the efficiency or integrity of the service from misconduct of an incumbent of a position. Parts 1400 and 731 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations establishes the risk level of that position. This assessment also determines if a position’s duties and responsibilities present the potential for position incumbents to bring about a material adverse effect on the national security, and the degree of that potential effect, which establishes the sensitivity level of a position. The results of this assessment determine what level of investigation should be conducted for a position.

Proper position designation is the foundation of an effective and consistent suitability and personnel security program. The process determines, through the evaluation of national security and suitability requirements, what type of investigation is required and the depth that an individual is screened for a position. In order to ensure a systematic, dependable, and uniform method of determining position designations, OPM provides the hard-copy PDS and the Position Designation Automated Tool (PDT) for those individuals within agencies charged with position designation responsibilities. The PDT is an interactive tool on the OPM website.

Before using the PDT, designators should first develop a thorough familiarity and understanding of the PDS. The success and consistency of the PDT are directly connected to the user's understanding of the various possible selections related to the national security and suitability (public trust) requirements, duties, and responsibilities available within the PDS. Without fully understanding the possible selections available, the users could inadvertently fail to make appropriate selections early in the PDT process, and this would impact the accuracy of the final position designation. A full understanding of the PDS and proper application of the PDT will ensure consistency.

If you have questions concerning position designation, please contact Suitability Adjudications at (724) 794-5612, extension 7400 or SUITEA@opm.gov. If you are interested in Position Designation training, please view our Agency Training.