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Decentralized Copies: Agency Use & Retention
DCSA shall control the reports, information, and other investigative materials developed during the vetting process. These materials are maintained as part of Personnel Vetting Records System, DUSDI 02-DoD, system of records notice. When DCSA discloses a record from this record system to an agency, the disclosed record shall be considered a “decentralized copy”. The decentralized copy remains a part of the Personnel Vetting Records System even while the copy is in the recipient agency’s custody. Under sections 1.1(e) and 1.3(q) of E.O. 13467, as amended, investigative records “developed during the vetting process,” including for “ongoing assessments,” are subject to the investigating agency’s controls while in use by recipient departments and agencies.
Retention of a Decentralized Copy
Decentralized copies shall be retained consistent with the guidance defined in applicable NARA General Records Schedules. Under NARA General Records 5.6, section 170, investigative reports and related documents furnished to an agency by the investigation service provider (ISP) should be destroyed in accordance with the ISP’s instructions.
DCSA instructs that decentralized records may be maintained only so long as the subject of the report remains of interest to the agency for the purposes defined in the DUSDI 02-DoD SORN (e.g. suitability, security, credentialing purposes). Upon separation or when the subject is no longer of interest to the agency, the agency must dispose of any/all background investigation records.
Internal Dissemination of a Decentralized Copy
Recipient departments and agencies may retain and use the decentralized copy (which include the received reports, information, and other investigative material) within that recipient for authorized purposes (including, but not limited to, adjudications, hearings and appeals, continuous evaluation (CE), inspector general functions, counterintelligence, research, and insider threat programs), in compliance with subsection (b)(1) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (section 552a of title 5, United States Code).
While EO 13467 section 1.1(e) allows agencies to release records, “any redisclosure” should be coordinated with the DCSA FOI/PA office to ensure that the redisclosure “…does not violate statutory restrictions or result in unauthorized disclosure….”
If your office intends to share an DCSA background investigation record internally within your agency, and you question the releasability of certain items, you can contact the DCSA FOI/PA office at (724) 794-5612 ext.7000 and ask to speak with a Government Information Specialist in the Records Receipt & Maintenance branch.
As a note of caution, DCSA background investigation records do include items that have been disclosed to NBIB with redisclosure limitations. Even when internally sharing a background investigation, recipient agencies should be mindful of the purpose/need and should be cognizant of the following limitations:
External Dissemination of a Decentralized Copy to a Subject for the Purpose of Providing Procedural Rights or Administrative Due Process
Recipient departments and agencies may only release a decentralized record to an investigative subject for the purpose of providing procedural rights or administrative due process, in compliance with EO 13467, section 1.1(e), as amended.
Recipient agencies shall direct any other requests for external releases of copies of the reports, information, or other investigative materials to the DCSA FOI/PA office. DCSA’s FOI/PA office will make a release determination by applying the routine uses described in DUDSI 02-DoD or other uses permitted in 5 U.S.C. 552a(b); or, in the case of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) referral, by applying the FOIA.
While EO 13467 section 1.1(e) allows agencies to release records, any redisclosure should be coordinated with the DCSA FOI/PA office to ensure that any redisclosure “…does not violate statutory restrictions or result in unauthorized disclosure….”
The received investigative information may include items disclosed to DCSA with redisclosure limitations. Agencies should be cautious of:
Requesting Releasable Copies: DCSA’s FOI/PA office can, if the agency requests, prepare a version of the background investigation report for release to the subject for due process or procedural purposes, such as the “materials relied upon”. The request can be emailed to FOIPARequests@nbib.gov, faxed to (724) 794-4590, or sent to DCSA at the following address:
If an Agency Receives a Privacy Act Access or Amendment Requests
Under 32 CFR 310, only DCSA’s FOI/PA office can respond to initial Privacy Act requests for background investigation records in the Personnel Vetting Records System, DUSDI 02-DoD, system of records. If an agency receives, from the subject of investigation and/or their representative, a request for access to or amendment of the background investigation in their agency’s possession, the agency should contact the DCSA FOI/PA office and refer that request to DCSA’s FOI/PA office accordingly.
Exceptions: Release of the following items may be made to the subject of investigation without first requesting permission from the DCSA FOI/PA: