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Adjudications


Terms

Security Clearance Eligibility: A determination that a person is able and willing to safeguard classified national security information and/or occupy a national security sensitive position. The three national security clearance eligibility levels are: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. Military members, federal employees, or contractors who require access to classified national security information and/or assignment to a national security position must be granted security clearance eligibility at the proper level to access that information or occupy the national security sensitive position.

The Adjudication Process: The adjudication process is based on decisions made by applying a standard set of guidelines to an individual’s specific circumstances. Trained adjudicators assess an individual's loyalty, trustworthiness, and reliability and determine whether it is in the best interest of national security to grant the individual an eligibility for access to classified information or render a favorable suitability determination.

National Security Determinations: National security determinations are governed by the principles established by Executive Order 12968 adjudicative guidelines are established by Security Executive Agent Directive 4.

Suitability/Fitness: Suitability refers to a person's character or conduct that may have an impact on the integrity or efficiency of the individual’s government service. Suitability adjudicative determinations are in accordance with Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 731. Fitness determinations are made under separate guidelines determined by the entities making the decisions.

Fitness: Fitness refers to the adjudicative decision made on excepted service, contractor, and other federal personnel working for or on behalf of the federal government. These adjudicative guidelines are like suitability guidelines but governed by different regulations. Instead of being governed by Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 731 (5 CFR 731), fitness determinations are made under separate guidelines determined by the entities making the decisions. Although no one standard exists for fitness decisions, the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) within the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued “Contractor Fitness Adjudication — Best Practices” guidance in 2013, which can be found on the CHCO website here.  

The 2004 Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) implemented a requirement for a federal standard for secure and reliable forms of identification, establishing the use of Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards.

Clearance Eligibility Levels

  • (C) Confidential
  • (S) Secret
  • (TS) Top Secret

Types of Adjudication

  • HSPD-12 adjudication
  • Suitability adjudication under 5 CFR 731
  • Fitness determinations that are equivalent to criteria in 5 CFR 731
  • National Security adjudication under Executive Order 12968
  • Other agency authorities

Additional Information

  • To obtain investigation and/or adjudication results, contractor applicants must communicate with their Facility Security Officer (FSO), while military and civilian applicants must communicate with their Servicing Security Officer (SSO) or Security Management Office (SMO).
  • Any applicant may submit a request to DCSA to receive a copy of the complete Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) using the INV100 Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Record Request Form. For more information about Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, click here, or email whs.meade.dodcaf.mbx.dodcaf-privacy-act@mail.mil.
  • To preview required types of information, access the Questionnaire for National Security Positions Standard Form 86 (SF-86).
  • An applicant can assemble this information at any time so it will be available when needed.
  • The appropriate security office provides an online tool to the applicant to fill out the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP). The online tool is used to enter and submit information.
  • An individual who has received a final revocation or denial of their security clearance from the DoD CAF may appeal a decision through the Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) of the associated military service branch or the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), the legal entity managing the case. Specific guidance for appealing a decision is provided directly to the applicants within the final decision packages.

Policy

The DoD CAF customer base includes all military service members, military applicants, civilian employees, and consultants affiliated with the Department of Defense (DoD), to include the staff of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the Congressional Budget Office, the United States Capitol Police, selected judicial staff, DoD personnel at the White House, and contractor personnel under the National Industrial Security Program(NISP). The DoD CAF executes its mission in accordance with appropriate laws, DoD regulations, and policy.

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) is a program designed to ensure individuals entrusted with access to federal property and information systems do not put the U.S. government at risk or provide an avenue for terrorism (DoD Instruction 5200.46). The HSPD-12 program provides guidance for issuing Common Access Cards (CAC), which serve as the DoD Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credential.

The DoD CAF adjudicates all favorable suitability, HSPD-12, and fitness determinations for the entire DoD. Cases containing issues that the DoD CAF is unable to mitigate and/or cases that are lacking the minimum scoping requirements are transferred back to the requesting component for a local adjudicative decision. 

To comply with required guidance, Security Managers follow these steps:

1.  Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP):

  • For non-sensitive, low-risk Tier-1 investigations, use Standard Form 85 (SF-85).
  • For non-sensitive, moderate- and high-risk Tier-2 investigations and non-sensitive, high-risk Tier-4 investigations, use the SF-85P.
  • For sensitive, non-critical Tier-3 investigations and sensitive, critical Tier-5 investigations, use the SF-86.
  • Please note that an SF-86 CANNOT be submitted for a National Agency Check with Law and Credit (NACLC), Access National Agency Check with Inquiries (ANACI), or Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). These are not designated for suitability, fitness, nor HSPD-12

2.  Investigations: Make sure the investigations are closed. Investigations being considered for adjudication require a closed complete National Agency Check with Inquiry Tier-1/National Agency Check with Inquiry (NACI), Tier-2/Minimum Background Investigation (MBI), or Tier-4/Background Investigation (BI) in the Security/Suitability Investigations Index (SII).

3.  Security Office Identifier (SOI): Use the correct SOI. Investigation requests must be submitted to DCSA using the correct SOI. Suitability and fitness investigations must use DODS. HSPD-12 investigations must use DODH. Suitability, fitness, and HSPD-12 investigations using SOIs other than DODS and DODH are considered misrouted and are returned to their originating components.

4. Optional Form (OF) 306: Use the OF-306 for new employees. An OF-306 is required when an individual is investigated as a new federal civilian employee or an applicant for federal employment. Short-term positions that are 180 days or less, (i.e. volunteers, interns) do not require the OF-306.

5. Child Care: Confirm whether the subject's current position and duties fall under the requirements of DoD Instruction 1402.05 for child care checks. If so, a State Criminal History Repository (SCHR) must be scheduled through using Extra Coverage Code 8, or Position Code H, which should appear on the Agency Use Block (AUB).

6. Mission Date: All case determinations for HSPD-12, suitability, and fitness made after October 1, 2013, will be reflected in the DoD CAF portal and DCSA’s Central Verification System (CVS).

7. Component Adjudicator (CA) Role: It is imperative to register your component’s Unit Identification Code (UIC) in the DoD CAF portal. Also necessary is designating a CA within your UIC. The DoD CAF cannot send investigations or messages unless both are present.

8. Defense Information Security System (DISS) Portal: The best way to access the Joint Clearance and Access Verification System (JCAVS) and the Case Adjudication Tracking System (CATS) is through your component security hierarchy. Defense Information Security System (DISS) is a Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) run system. Information about DISS capabilities and login can be found on DMDC's website here.

9. Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) and Communication: JPAS is not the system of record for HSPD-12, suitability, or fitness. Please do not submit JPAS Customer Service Requests (CSR) — formally known as Research, Recertify, Upgrade (RRU) — regarding these cases. Send DODS and DODH case messages via the DoD CAF portal, or contact the DoD CAF Call Center at 301-833-3850 or whs.meade.dodcaf.mbx.dodcaf-callcenter@mail.mil for additional guidance.

 

Military and civilian personnel may appeal either directly to the Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) or request a personal appearance at the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) board pursuant to their PSAB appeal. DOHA conducts personal appearances and issues written recommended decisions to the PSAB of the appealing member’s component. DOHA has the sole authority to conduct appeals and make final clearance determinations on contract personnel.

Reconsiderations

An individual’s employer may submit a request for reconsideration if there is a need for access to classified information one year from the final decision. The year is counted from the date of the denial or revocation decision by the DoD CAF, or if the individual elected to appeal, one year from the date of the final appeal determination.

The individual is responsible for providing documentation that the circumstances or conditions which resulted in the denial or revocation have been rectified or sufficiently mitigated to warrant reconsideration.

The DoD CAF may approve or deny the reconsideration request.

For further guidance on reconsiderations, contact the employing security office.

Requesting Adjudicative Records

The DoD CAF conducts a review of the completed background investigation, along with all other available, relevant records in making a security clearance eligibility and/or suitability determination. If security concerns are not present, a favorable eligibility decision shall be entered into the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) and the component security manager is notified. Thus, not all security clearance eligibility and/or suitability determinations require adjudicative correspondence and/or records to be created by the DoD CAF.

While the FOIA/Privacy Office is unable to answer specific questions regarding the status of an individual's security clearance eligibility determination, individuals may contact their component security manager or designated security official for assistance. If you believe the DoD CAF maintains records regarding your security clearance eligibility and/or suitability determination, you may submit a request for records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to:

 

Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency

Attn: FOIA/Privacy Office for Adjudications

600 10th Street

Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-5615

E-mail: whs.meade.dodcaf.mbx.dodcaf-privacy-act@mail.mil

 

E-mail Advisement: You may submit your request and identity source documents as scanned attachments to an email. However, you should ensure that the security of your email system is adequate for transmitting sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII), e.g., full name, social security number, date/place of birth, etc. Encrypted email is the most secure means of transmittal.
 

Your request should include the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Full social security number
  • Description of the record(s) you are seeking
  • Mailing address (required) and email address if you would like your records returned electronically (.mil or .gov email address preferred as they can be encrypted for security purposes).
  • An original, notarized statement or an unsworn declaration in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:
  • I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing [concerning my identity] is true and correct. Executed on [date] — (your signature).
  • Photocopies of two different identity source documents (examples provided below)

Acceptable Identity Source Documents

Requesters seeking records containing their sensitive PII are required to provide photocopies of two forms of identity (ID) source documents. ID source documents provided by a requester must be the individual’s own and the ID must be current (not expired nor cancelled). The two ID source documents must bear the same name.

Approved Identity Source Documents:

  • U.S. Social Security Card issued by the Social Security Administration
  • U.S. passport or a U.S. passport card
  • Driver's license or an ID card issued by a state or possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph (student ID Cards are not acceptable)
  • U.S. Military ID card or CAC card
  • U.S. Military dependent ID card
  • Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card issued by U.S. government
  • Copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority, possession, or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal
  • Certification of Birth Abroad or Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350)
  • Voter registration card from the U.S.
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)