Review of the Security and Emergency Planning Staff's Management of Background Investigations

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2005-010
September 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix III

The Justice Management Division’s Response

  U. S. Department of Justice

Washington, DC 20530
September 9, 2005


TO: Paul A. Price
Assistant Inspector General
  for Evaluation and Inspection
FROM: Paul R. Corts
Assistant Attorney General
  for Administration
SUBJECT: Response to DRAFT Inspector General Report on Review of the Security and Emergency Planning Staff’s Management of Background Investigations

We have reviewed your draft report on the Security & Emergency Planning Staff’s (SEPS) management of background investigations, and we have several comments.

Recommendation #1: Develop a Department-wide plan for implementing the personnel security requirements of the Intelligence Reform Act and HSPD-12, and identify the resources that will be needed to enable the Department to meet the new requirements.

    JMD Response: We concur. The Department has an HSPD-12 plan that includes the personnel security requirements imposed by that Directive. The Department’s final implementation plan was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on August 27, 2005. With respect to the Intelligence Reform Act, SEPS will develop a plan by September 30, 2005 to implement the personnel security requirements of that statute for adjudicating background investigations.

Recommendation #2: Develop a Department-wide database with imaging capability to enable uniform processing and tracking of employee and contractor personnel security actions, permit central oversight of personnel security operations, and reduce the vulnerability caused by reliance on paper records.

    JMD Response: We concur. A Department-wide database to track both employee and contractor personnel security actions is part of the HSPD-12 plan and budget. Although the database will not include imaging capability, record copies of all SEPS’ background investigations are maintained separately by the investigating agencies. In addition, under the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) e-gov initiative, all investigative agencies will eventually move to electronic records of background investigations and a paperless environment for their customers.

Recommendation #3: Once OPM provides the necessary policy decisions, expeditiously issue an updated Department personnel security policy, DOJ Order 261 O.2A.

    JMD Response: We concur. By November 21, 2005, JMD will circulate a revised DOJ Order 2610.2A for comment by the components.

Recommendation #4: Develop a plan for conducting routine oversight of components with delegated authority that provides reasonable coverage and ensures that the background investigations and adjudications meet established standards for quality and timeliness.

    JMD Response: We concur. Although authority to conduct background investigations is delegated by the Office of Personnel Management, we agree that SEPS should include in its compliance reviews oversight of the quality and timeliness of these investigations. Also, as your report notes, oversight of components with delegated adjudicative authority from SEPS is currently conducted by SEPS’ Compliance Review Section during security compliance reviews. We are currently seeking three additional positions in the FY 07 budget for the Compliance Review Section to enhance its ability to conduct effective oversight. In the meantime, SEPS will develop a plan by September 30, 2005, to ensure that personnel security issues receive more attention during security compliance reviews.

Recommendation #5: Institute an annual report to the Deputy Attorney General to describe the performance of the Department and each component at adjudicating background investigations and complying with personnel security regulations and Department policy.

    JMD Response: We concur. Following implementation of the enhanced oversight plan, the Assistant Attorney General for Administration will report annually to the Deputy Attorney General the performance of each component with delegated adjudicative authority in complying with the Department’s adjudication regulations and policies.

Recommendation #6: Establish procedures to identify policies, documents, and other information that is necessary for personnel security operations and, in coordination with the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, make the documents available through the SEPS Web site.

    JMD Response: We concur. SEPS is already implementing this recommendation.

We appreciate the opportunity to review the draft report. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact James Dunlap on (202) 514-2094 or via email at


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