Defense Research:

Protecting Sensitive Data and Materials at 10 Chemical and Biological Laboratories

NSIAD-91-57: Published: Jul 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed security controls at government and contractor laboratories engaged in Department of Defense (DOD) chemical warfare and biological defense research programs, focusing on the: (1) adequacy of controls over foreign visitors, technical data, and sensitive chemical and biological materials at the laboratories; and (2) security over the shipment of those materials.

GAO found that: (1) security controls and procedures at the 10 research laboratories reviewed generally provided adequate protection of chemical and biological materials and sensitive information; (2) the Army's Medical Research and Development Command did not always comply with the DOD requirement that authorization requests for foreign representatives visiting Army facilities be submitted at least 30 days before the proposed visits; (3) the Army took such actions to correct its approval requirement processes as reminding foreign embassy military attaches of its 30-day requirement; (4) DOD based its 30-day requirement primarily on reciprocity with other countries and the need for coordination and preparation; (5) the Army Chemical Personnel Reliability Program did not check the credit records of individuals assigned to the program or consolidate and report information to properly oversee the program; and (6) an Army center did not establish a document accountability system until several years after receiving classified information for several of its special access programs, and once established, did not consistently control classified material through the system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army stated that, in October 1992, all civilian personnel will have credit checks done on National Agency Check Inquiry by the Defense Investigative Service, and by late 1993, all military personnel will have credit checks done. No additional reports are required.

    Recommendation: To improve security and oversight of the Chemical Personnel Reliability Program, the Secretary of the Army should establish periodic credit checks for individuals assigned to the program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army stated that the change will be incorporated in the fiscal year 1992 report. The Army will also monitor the use of the report analysis. No additional reports are required.

    Recommendation: To improve security and oversight of the Chemical Personnel Reliability Program, the Secretary of the Army should require an annual consolidated status report showing the number of individuals assigned, the number disqualified from the program, and the reasons for disqualification.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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