The Drug Enforcement Administrationís Use of Intelligence Analysts

Audit Report 08-23
May 2008
Office of the Inspector General


Appendix VII
DEA Response to the Draft Report

U. S. Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Administration


www.dea.gov Washington, D.C. 20537



MEMORANDUM

TO: Raymond J. Beaudet
Assistant Inspector General
for Audit
Office of the Inspector General

FROM: Gary W. Oetjen
Deputy Chief Inspector
Office of Inspections

SUBJECT: DEAís Response to the OIGís Draft Report: The Drug Enforcement Administrationís Use of Intelligence Analysts

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reviewed the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) draft audit report, entitled: The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Use of Intelligence Analysts. DEA thanks OIG for taking a second look at DEA’s hiring practices and revising its final draft report in an effort to conduct a complete comprehensive review of DEA’s Use of Intelligence Analysts (IA). As a result of this review, DEA concurs with the nine recommendations, and will take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations.

The preliminary objectives of OIG’s audit were to determine (1) how effectively the DEA recruited, trained, and retained intelligence analysts and reports officers; and (2) the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of intelligence reports and related products produced by the intelligence analysts and reports officers. OIG noted that 75 percent of IAs surveyed by OIG reported that Basic Intelligence Research Specialist training met or exceeded their expectations. OIG also noted that the attrition rate for IAs was low, ranging from 3.5 percent to 2.6 percent during the scope their review. DEA’s IA workforce has a high job satisfaction rate, which is evidenced by the fact that 81 percent of the IAs surveyed by OIG indicated that they planned to stay with DEA for the next five years. OIG further acknowledged that both internal and external users of DEA intelligence information were satisfied with the IAs’ work products, and that members of the Intelligence Community (IC) found DEA intelligence information to be invaluable.

DEA provides the following response to the OIG’s recommendations:

Recommendation 1:  Develop a plan to ensure that the DEA meets its intelligence analysts hiring goal.

DEA concurs with this recommendation. The OIG correctly points out that DEA came very close but did not achieve its hiring goals for Intelligence Analysts (IAs) in 2004 through 2007. In each of the years examined by the OIG, DEA's on board rate was within 2-4 percent of the hiring goal. There were several factors that contributed to slightly missing DEA's internal hiring goals. The most important among these was the uncertainty of our funding situation in each of those years. As the OIG points out, during 2003 through 2007, DEA absorbed over $210 million in budget reductions. Some portion of these reductions occurred each year, but the amount of each year's cut was never known until the appropriation was enacted, and none of the bills were enacted until well into the fiscal year. The worst example of this uncertainty occurred just prior to the time period examined by the OIG. In FY 2003, DEA's House mark was $75 million over our base need and the Senate mark was $80 million below our base need; the bill was not enacted until February 20, thirty-eight days before the mid point of the fiscal year. With uncertainties like this, extending half way into the fiscal year, it is difficult to plan and perfectly execute a hiring plan. Coming as close as we did, given the huge uncertainties and annual base erosions, is an accomplishment that DEA considers noteworthy.

Beginning with FY 2008, DEA established specific hiring goals for IA's. Establishing hiring goals at this level of specificity will help DEA hit its targets. The Financial Plan for FY 2008 has been developed and submitted to Congress for approval, as required by the FY 2008 appropriations bill report. We anticipate committee approval shortly and have already scheduled IA classes to ensure that our hiring goals for this year are met.

The DEA estimates that, for every Intelligence Analyst that it hires, it needs three qualified applicants in its hiring pool. Until FY 2007, the DEA maintained a sufficient applicant pool. Hiring limits in FY 2007 significantly impacted DEA’s ability to maintain that pool.

In early May, 2008, the DEA will issue a national announcement to regain a sufficient hiring pool to achieve its hiring goals. As reported to the OIG, the DEA remains concerned about the lengthy Office of Personnel Management (OPM) background process which inhibits DEA’s ability to manage IAs entry on duty scheduling to achieve its hiring goals.

Recommendation 2:  Maintain an adequate applicant hiring pool for IAs.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. The Intelligence Division (NC) will ensure that an adequate hiring pool is maintained, based on authorized hiring levels and concurs with the 3-to-1 ratio of applicants to actual hire, discussed previously with the OIG. During the audit period, NC maintained an adequate pool of applicants as indicated by its hiring achievement. NC will continue to contact and maintain close communication with all applicants in the current pool to reaffirm that they are still available for hire. NC will continue to advertise vacant IA positions as they occur, and as necessary, and will process all qualified candidates through NC’s hiring process in compliance with established personnel regulations. NC will participate in recruitment opportunities in coordination with the Office of Personnel and EEO Staff. NC will continue to monitor projected attrition rates of DEA IAs, as well as with the candidates in the pool who drop out of the process to garner more applications. NC will identify qualified applicants with existing USG security clearances to facilitate and expedite hiring of candidates by DEA. Based on the above, NC expects to be at the 3-1 ratio of applicants to hire within six months.

Recommendation 3:  Continue the recently initiated practice of establishing annual hiring goals specifically for intelligence analysts.

DEA concurs with this recommendation. Prior to FY 2008, DEA established only two hiring goals:  one specifically for special agents, and a combined goal for all other types of positions. IA hiring was part of this latter goal. As stated above, beginning in FY 2008, DEA has established hiring goals for several specific categories of employees, including IAs. Having separately-identified goals for Special Agents, IAs, Chemists, and other types of employees should make it easier to achieve the goals that were implicit in the broader "non-agent" category used in the past. DEA anticipates continuing this practice in the future, and therefore requests that this recommendation be closed.

Recommendation 4:  Consider reevaluating the Basic Intelligence Research Specialist Training Curriculum to determine if any classes could be taught through more economical means, such as web-based training or at field office locations.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. The Intelligence Training Section (TRN) convened a Basic Intelligence Research Specialist (BIRS) Review Committee, consisting of former BIRS students and HQ/field supervisory and non-supervisory IAs to conduct an in-depth, top-down assessment of the training curriculum in early 2007. This assessment resulted in additions and changes to the BIRS curriculum, increasing the course from 9 to 14 weeks. OIG noted that 75 percent of the IA respondents indicated that BIRS training met or exceeded their expectations. At the completion of each 14-week BIRS course, the Review Committee reconvenes, under TRN leadership, to evaluate the BIRS curriculum. That review includes student and trainer input. As a result of this process, TRN has made several changes to include: changed the practical exercises; modified the IC training module; and decided to utilize the Office of Special Intelligence to deliver the internet investigations module of the BIRS program instead of a contractor.

The Intelligence Division and TRN believes that by delivering a 14-week BIRS program, DEA is saving thousands of dollars in travel costs and improving the performance of the analysts at an earlier stage in their careers. Specifically, BIRS students receive training in: Asset Forfeiture, Penlink, i2, Diversion, Basic Telecommunications Exploitation Program, Presentation and Briefing Skills, and the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation. All of these courses previously had been delivered as stand alone, in-service training courses requiring multiple temporary duty (TDY) trips to Quantico. TRN also is researching and analyzing the BIRS curriculum to determine if courses can be delivered via web-based training. Potential web-based training programs are being developed for delivery when TR has a web-based training capability in the Fall 2009. Based on the above response, DEA requests closure of this recommendation.

Recommendation 5:  Establish an adequate system to monitor the status of the security clearances of IAs.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. Recently, the position of the Deputy Chief Inspector (DCI) for the Office of Security Programs (IS) was upgraded to the Senior Executive Service (SES) level in response to the issues pervading IS. This reflects the importance of the overall role IS plays within the agency. The DCI is reviewing all programs within IS to ensure that necessary resources are obtained to carry out IS’ vital mission. The Personal Security Section (ISR) received approval to hire seven (7) personnel security specialists to backfill vacant positions. Once the positions are filled, these resources will be strategically assigned to address the reinvestigation program and the review of all official DEA background files within the ISR in efforts to ensure compliance with all DOJ policies and Executive Orders. The Office of Security Programs will continue to work with the developers of the Eagle Eye data base to improve the monitoring capabilities of the system to capture the security clearance information for all employees. Additionally, The Office of Security Programs is researching a tracking system due to deploy at the Department of Justice in June 2008 and will study the feasibility of implementing at DEA, in conjunction with the current Eagle Eye system.

Recommendation 6:  Ensure that all IAs have Top Secret clearances.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. IAs who have been identified as requiring a Top Secret clearance are being processed. Of the 19 IAs identified in the audit as requiring Top Secret clearances, 4 still require a reinvestigation which will be initiated by March 30, 2008. The remaining 15 are in various stages of processing with either OPM or the Office of Security Programs. Upon favorable adjudication of the requisite background, all IAs will be granted Top Secret clearances.

Recommendation 7:  Ensure that IAs undergo required security reinvestigations every five years.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. Recently, the position of the Deputy Chief Inspector for IS was upgraded to the Senior Executive Service (SES) level, which reflects the importance of the overall role IS plays within the agency. The DCI is reviewing all programs within IS to ensure that necessary resources are obtained to carry out IS’ vital mission. The Personal Security Section (ISR) received approval to hire seven (7) personnel security specialists to backfill vacant positions. Once these positions are filled, these resources will be strategically assigned to address the reinvestigation program and the review of all official background files within the ISR in efforts to ensure compliance with all DOJ policies and Executive Orders. The Office of Security Programs will monitor all DEA background investigations, noting the accurate completion dates of last reinvestigations and ensure that correct dates are listed for the next 5-year update in the Eagle Eye database.

Recommendation 8:  Ensure that the customer surveys recently incorporated with the intelligence reports are utilized to assess and evaluate the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of each product.

DEA concurs with the recommendation. When the issue was first discussed with the OIG in early 2007, the Intelligence Divisionimmediately took action to implement a customer survey mechanism. DEA found that the feedback from the reports was generally positive. As feedback is received, it is immediately shared with the producers of the report for consideration and any required actions to improve DEA intelligence products. Feedback from our customers has alerted DEA to the issue of the reports readability and the dissatisfaction with paper copies of the report. DEA has addressed this issue by disseminating the report on compact disk (CD), in lieu of paper reports. As a result, DEA has significantly increased the number of CDs being disseminated. DEA will analyze the evaluation forms from a broader perspective, on a 6 month basis, to determine if product quality, usefulness, or effectiveness requires changes or improvements. The first evaluation is due in June 2008.

Recommendation 9:  Develop a process for reviewing and transmitting reports officer cables, especially terrorist-related cables, in a more timely manner.

DEA concurs with the recommendation.TheDEA’s Reports Officer (RO) program is an important mechanism for sharing DEA information with the IC. It produces sanitized reports of current drug-related investigative information to be shared with the IC, supports the information sharing requirements of the USA Patriot Act and the General Counterdrug Intelligence Plan (GCIP), and contributes to the IC’s collection of foreign drug trafficking information, including drug-related terrorism. NC will issue a teletype amending the RO cables’ review and approval process. The teletype will mandate that RO cables be electronically forwarded to the Office of Enforcement Operations for review and directly to the originating office to obtain approval for dissemination. DEA will require that approval/disapproval be provided to DEA headquarters within five working days.

Documentation detailing DEA’s efforts to implement the attached action plan will be provided to the OIG on a quarterly basis, until such time that all corrective actions have been completed. If you have any questions regarding DEA’s response to the OIG’s recommendation, please contact Senior Inspector Michael Stanfill at 202-307-8769.

Attachment

S:/IN/Team A/OIG/Audit/Utilization of IA/Revised DEA’s Formal Response to OIG’s Review of DEA IAs



Attachment 1
U.S. Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Administration
Intelligence Division
Drug
Enforcement
Administration,
Intelligence
Program
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NPMP-121



Action Plan

Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administrationís Use Of Intelligence Analysts

Recommendations Action Planned Projected
Completion Date
1. Develop a plan to ensure that the DEA meets its intelligence analysts hiring goal. The OIG correctly points out that DEA came very close but did not achieve its hiring goals for Intelligence Analysts (IAs) in 2004 through 2007. In each of the years examined by the OIG, DEA's on board rate was within 2-4 percent of the hiring goal. There were several factors that contributed to slightly missing DEA's internal hiring goals. The most important among these was the uncertainty of our funding situation in each of those years. During 2003 through 2007, DEA absorbed over $210 million in budget reductions. Some portion of these reductions occurred each year, but the amount of each year's cut was never known until the appropriation was enacted, and none of the bills were enacted until well into the fiscal year. With uncertainties like this, extending half way into the fiscal year, it is difficult to plan and perfectly execute a hiring plan.

Beginning with FY 2008, DEA established specific hiring goals for IA's. Establishing hiring goals at this level of specificity will help DEA hit its targets. The Financial Plan for FY 2008 has been developed and submitted to Congress for approval, as required by the FY 2008 appropriations bill report. We anticipate committee approval shortly and have already scheduled IA classes to ensure that our hiring goals for this year are met.

October 2009
2. Maintain an adequate applicant hiring pool for intelligence analysts. Continue to contact and maintain close communication with all applicants in current pool to reaffirm that they are still available for hire. Continue to advertise vacant IA positions as they occur and as necessary. Process all qualified candidates through NC’s hiring process in compliance with established personnel regulations. Participate in recruitment opportunities in coordination with the Office of Personnel and EEO Staff. Continue to monitor projected attrition rates of DEA Intelligence Analysts as well as the candidates in the pool who drop out of the process to garner more applications. Identify qualified applicants with existing USG security clearances to facilitate and expedite hiring of candidates by DEA. Based on the above, DEA expects to be at the 3-1 ratio of applicants to hire within six months. September 2008
3. Continue the recently initiated practice of establishing annual hiring goals specifically for intelligence analysts. Prior to FY 2008, DEA established only two hiring goals: one specifically for special agents, and a combined goal for all other types of positions. IA hiring was part of this latter goal. Beginning in FY 2008, DEA has established hiring goals for several specific categories of employees, including IAs. Having separately-identified goals for Special Agents, IAs, Chemists, and other types of employees should make it easier to achieve the goals that were implicit in the broader "non-agent" category used in the past. DEA anticipates continuing this practice in the future, and therefore requests that this recommendation be closed. Action completed, request closure April 2008
4. Consider reevaluating the Basic Intelligence Research Specialist training curriculum to determine if any classes could be tought through more economical means, such as web-based training or at field office locations. Convene BIRS Review Committee at completion of each Basic Intelligence Research Specialist (BIRS) training course to conduct in-depth review of training curriculum. The BIRS committee conducted an in-depth, top-down assessment of the training curriculum in early 2007. This assessment resulted in additions and changes to the BIRS curriculum, increasing the course from 9-to-14 weeks. Potential web-based training programs are being developed for delivery when TR has a web-based training capability in the Fall 2009. March 2008
5. Establish an adequate system to monitor the status of the security clearances of intelligence analysts. Recently, the position of the Deputy Chief Inspector for IS was upgraded to the Senior Executive Service (SES) level, which reflects the importance of the overall role IS plays within the agency. The DCI is reviewing all programs within IS to ensure that necessary resources are obtained to carry out IS’ vital mission. The Personal Security Section (ISR) received approval to hire seven (7) personnel security specialists to backfill vacant positions. Once these positions are filled, these resources will be strategically assigned to address the reinvestigation program and the review of all official background files within the ISR in efforts to ensure compliance with all DOJ policies and Executive Orders.

The Office of Security Programs (IS) will continue to work with the developers of the Eagle Eye data base to improve the monitoring capabilities of the system to capture the security clearance information for all DEA employees. Additionally, IS is researching a tracking system due to deploy at the Department of Justice in June 2008 and will study the feasibility of implementing at DEA, in conjunction with the current Eagle Eye system.
March 2009
6. Ensure that all intelligence analysts have required Top Secret clearances. Of the 19 IAs identified in the audit as requiring Top Secret clearances, 4 still require a reinvestigation which will be initiated by March 30, 2008. The remaining 15 are in various stages of processing with either OPM or the Office of Security Programs. Upon favorable adjudication of the requisite background, all IAs will be granted Top Secret clearances. October 2008
7. Ensure that intelligence analysts undergo required security reinvestigations every 5 years. Recently, the position of the Deputy Chief Inspector for IS was upgraded to the Senior Executive Service (SES) level, which reflects the importance of the overall role IS plays within the agency. The DCI is reviewing all programs within IS to ensure that necessary resources are obtained to carry out IS’ vital mission. The Personal Security Section (ISR) received approval to hire seven (7) personnel security specialists to backfill vacant positions. Once these positions are filled, these resources will be strategically assigned to address the reinvestigation program and the review of all official DEA background files within the ISR in efforts to ensure compliance with all DOJ policies and Executive Orders.

IS will monitor all IA background investigations, noting the accurate completion dates of last reinvestigations and ensure that correct dates are listed for the next 5 yr. update in the Eagle Eye database.
October 2008
8. Ensure that the customer surveys recently incorporated with the intelligence reports are utilized to assess and evaluate the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of each product. Attach to every DEA Intelligence publication an evaluation form to be completed by all readers. Provide immediate feedback to report authors so changes/improvements can be made. Analyze the evaluation forms from a broader perspective on a 6 month basis to determine if overall product quality, usefulness, or effectiveness require changes/improvements. June 2008
9. Develop a process for reviewing and transmitting reports officer cables, especially terrorist-related cables, in a more timely manner. The Intelligence Division will issue a teletype amending the Reports Officer (RO) cables’ review/approval process. The teletype will mandate that RO cables are to be electronically forwarded to the Office of Enforcement Operations for review and directly to the originating office to obtain approval for dissemination. Require that approval/disapproval be provided to HQ within 5 working days. Once approval is received, cables will be sent within 48 business hours Focus on timely dissemination of terrorist- related information. Potential imminent terrorist threat information will be disseminated within 24-48 hours. April 1, 2008



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