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Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 4: Personnel Suitability/Security Program
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C July 11, 2005  

Par.

  1. What is the purpose of this chapter?
  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive?
  3. What references were used when writing this chapter?
  4. What is FHWA's policy regarding the Personnel Suitability/Security Program?
  5. What are the key definitions associated with the Personnel Suitability/Security Program?
  6. What are the responsibilities of the Personnel Suitability/Security Program?
  7. What are the investigative requirements for Federal employees and contractors?

 

  1. What is the purpose of this chapter? The purpose of this chapter is to provide basic information to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) employees concerning the FHWA Personnel Suitability/Security Program as it pertains to Federal employees and to contractors.

  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive? Yes. This chapter cancels Personnel Management Manual (PMM) Chapter 4, Personnel Suitability/Security Program, dated June 28, 1996.

  3. What references were used when writing this chapter?

    1. Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), Sections 7531-7533 (Public Law 81-733);

    2. Executive Order (E.O.) 10450, Security Requirements for Government Employment, as amended, dated April 27,1953;

    3. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 731, Personnel Suitability, 732, National Security Positions, and 736, Personnel Investigations;

    4. Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 1630.2B, DOT Personnel Security Handbook, dated May 30, 2001;

    5. E.O. 12829, National Security Industrial Program, dated January 6, 1993; and

    6. Investigative Standards for Background Investigations for Access to Classified Information, Security Policy Board (SPB) Issuance I-97, approved by the President and dated March 24, 1997.

  4. What is FHWA's policy regarding the Personnel Suitability/Security Program? The FHWA policy regarding the Personnel Suitability/Security Program is to ensure the integrity of FHWA's daily operations and the Agency's personnel and contractor staff assignments by conducting background investigations as necessary, in accordance with Federal requirements and DOT Personnel Security Handbook, dated May 30, 2001.

  5. What are the key definitions associated with the Personnel Suitability/Security Program?

    1. Suitability. This term refers to identifiable character traits and past conduct that are reviewed to determine whether an individual is likely to carry out the duties assigned to a Federal job efficiently and effectively and in an honest, ethical manner. When significant information arises regarding an individual's fitness for employment, the personnel security officer shall provide this information to the appropriate management official (typically the supervisor, provided that he/she has been the successful subject of a background investigation) for a suitability determination.

    2. Security. This term refers to a position's access to information classified as Confidential, Secret or Top Secret. Positions that require a security clearance are designated at sensitivity levels. Every position having National security duties must be designated at a National security sensitivity level. The National security sensitivity levels are "non-critical sensitive" and "critical-sensitive." "Non-critical sensitive" positions require a Secret security clearance, and "critical sensitive" positions require a Top Secret security clearance.

    3. Position risk level. Every FHWA position that is not designated as a position with national security responsibilities is designated at a specific risk level for suitability purposes. Each employee's background is investigated to determine his/her suitability to meet the risk level requirements of the position. The risk levels are:

      1. (1) High risk - positions that have the potential for causing exceptionally serious impact on the Agency's programs and operations. Examples of positions at this level are Senior Executive and Division Administrator positions.

      2. (2) Moderate risk - positions that have the potential for moderate to serious impact on the Agency's programs and operations. Employees who have extensive access to computerized systems are designated at this risk level. An example would be human resources assistants.

      3. (3) Low risk - positions that have limited impact on the Agency's programs and operations. Positions that are not designated at the moderate or high risk levels are designated at the low risk level. Most FHWA positions fall within this category.

  6. What are the responsibilities of the Personnel Suitability/Security Program?

    1. The personnel suitability/security officer's role is to ensure that the management and operation of the personnel security/suitability program is efficient and meets all DOT requirements.

    2. Each Associate Administrator, Chief Counsel, Director of Field Services, Resource Center Director, Division Administrator, and Federal Lands Division Engineer shall designate a personnel suitability/security coordinator.

    3. The personnel suitability/security coordinator will perform the necessary liaison functions working with the personnel security officer to ensure that all requirements are met.

    4. Supervisors and managers are responsible for working with their servicing human resources office and their personnel suitability/security coordinators to ensure that each Federal employee and contract employee has the appropriate investigation needed for their positions. If necessary, supervisors and managers will work with the coordinator and the personnel suitability/security officer to adjudicate any issues identified as a part of an employee investigation.

  7. What are the investigative requirements for Federal employees and contractors?

    1. Each FHWA employee must undergo a successful background investigation conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, or any other Federal agency authorized to conduct background investigations. Each contractor working for the FHWA who has access to FHWA systems, sites, and equipment must successfully undergo an investigation conducted by the aforementioned Federal agencies.

    2. Certain low risk positions are exempt from the background investigation requirements. This exception shall not be viewed as a prohibition from processing the person under the normal investigative requirements. Persons appointed without an investigation cannot be granted access to any Agency classified information or access to areas that are restricted for security reasons. The exempt positions are:

      1. (1) Intermittent, seasonal, per diem, or temporary positions, in which a person's employment does not exceed an aggregate of 180 days in either a single or continuous appointment or series of appointments.

      2. (2) Positions located outside of the United States (U.S.) that are occupied by persons who are not U.S. citizens.

    3. Individuals who currently occupy permanent positions and/are detailed formally or informally to critical sensitive, non-critical sensitive, high risk, or moderate risk positions must meet the normal investigative requirements prior to beginning any detail that is expected to exceed 120 days. If access to classified information is required, the person must first have completed the background investigation required for the clearance or the FHWA Security Officer must obtain approval of an interim clearance from the Departmental Office of Security. If a detail is unexpectedly extended for an additional 120 days or less, the detailee is to contact the servicing human resources office for guidance.

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