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    Subject Term: "Security clearances"

    3 publications with a total of 12 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to collect and monitor deployed civilians' perceptions related to mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to leverage recommendations made by the RAND Corporation in its 2014 report on mental health stigma in the military to update and clarify policies as needed to remove stigmatizing provisions, such as career restrictions that may be too limiting for individuals who have received mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish a clear, consistent definition of those barriers to care generally understood by DOD as "mental health care stigma," to include explanations of its causes or contributing risk factors and ways that stigma is apparent in behaviors and policies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish goals for efforts to address barriers to care generally understood by DOD as "stigma reduction efforts," and performance measures that link to these goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a method to collect and analyze information on barriers to seeking mental health care, including stigma, so that reliable data may be gathered and used to measure the effectiveness of stigma reduction efforts over time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to designate an entity to coordinate efforts to reduce mental health care stigma, among other barriers to care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to reissue consolidated guidance, incorporating subsequent updates for the denial or suspension of access to classified information and for assignment to sensitive duties based solely on information about mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    4 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should identify a mechanism to readily determine the universe of assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation, but has not yet identified a mechanism to readily determine the universe of assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training. As of March 2017, GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that management personnel responsible for assigning personnel to designated high-threat countries consistently verify that all assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training have completed it before arrival in the designated high-threat countries.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State agreed with the recommendation, and on July 7, 2014--subsequent to our report issuance and addressing this finding--State issued a memo to all agencies that states that it is the responsibility of each agency to ensure its employees are in compliance with FACT training requirements prior to travel to the relevant posts. The memo also requires employees to provide a FACT completion certificate to posts upon request. In October 2016, State officials reported that State had rolled out a ClassNet SharePoint site, and that they expected that the site would include Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs posts by January 1, 2017. The SharePoint site allows designated users in Washington, D.C. and at posts to access the Foreign Service Institute's training records database. As of March 2017, GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that management personnel responsible for granting country clearance consistently verify that all short-term TDY U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training have completed it before arrival in the designated high-threat countries.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In response to GAO's recommendation, as of March 2017, State had taken several steps to ensure that the electronic Country Clearance (eCC) is easier for personnel to use, but these steps do not ensure that the personnel responsible for verifying FACT training before deployment are doing so. For instance, State updated the current eCC to require personnel traveling to High Threat, High Risk Posts to certify FACT training, with radio buttons for the following: (1) whether the stay is greater than 45 days; (2) whether the traveler has spent more than 45 total days at a High Threat, High Risk Post within the last 365-days; and (3) whether the traveler has completed FACT. If the eCC user responds that the traveler has not taken FACT, he or she must provide a justification. In addition, the eCC system requires personnel traveling to High Threat, High Risk Posts to certify whether they have completed FACT and to provide the completion date. When the eCC user enters this information, he or she is prompted with a box that instructs him or her to "provide documentation of FACT Training (e.g. Certificate) upon arrival at Post" and to click OK to continue. Since May 2016, the agency had been developing a new eCC application that will include automated checks of training records. Agency officials expect to produce this new application in the summer of 2017. GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should monitor or evaluate overall levels of compliance with the FACT training requirement among U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are subject to the requirement.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of May 2015, State officials said that they are developing a plan to utilize various electronic systems to monitor overall levels of compliance for assigned and short-term TDY personnel. The plan is being developed iteratively and is subject to change based on findings and lessons learned from each stage as well as constraints based on cyber security compliance. As of March 2017, State did not report further progress on this recommendation.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency of costs and the efficiency of suitability andpersonnel security clearance background investigation processes thatcould lead to cost savings, the Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget, in the capacity as Chair of the Performance Accountability Council, should expand and specify reform-related guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, such as preventing duplication in the development of electronic case-management and adjudication technologies in the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Performance Accountability Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2013, OMB provided GAO with an update to this recommendation. Although OMB has not yet issued guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, OMB noted that it continues to work with Executive Agents on activities that reduce duplication in electronic case management and adjudication technologies for the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes and provided four examples of those activities. (1)In March 2012, OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology began meeting with OPM regarding opportunities to enhance the functionality of non-DoD adjudicative entities that are serviced by OPM's Central Verification System, a subsystem of OPM's Personnel Investigation Processing System. (2) In March 2012, OPM provided programming language to the National Security Agency for the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (EQIP), which the PAC previously identified as the Executive Branch solution for all investigation requests/applications. Since, NSA has begun development of a single classified automated EQIP solution for the Intelligence Community (IC). (3) In May 2012, DoD directed the consolidation of the seven non-IC DOD Central Adjudication Facilities under a single centralized authority. This more efficiently allocates adjudicative resources in a single case management system. (4) In anticipation of the IC's move to a cloud computing environment, ODNI's Special Security Directorate has begun discussion with IC components on how best to support further standardization and prevent duplication as they develop and modify IT systems to implement investigative and adjudicative training standards, respond to reporting requirements, and implement revised adjudicative guidelines. (5) The PAC, the Security Executive Agent, and DOD continue to promote the adoption of the DOD eAdjudication system (CATS) solution within other agencies across Government. The CATS e-Processing Suite (e-Delivery, e-Screening, and e-Adjudication processes) eliminates manual processes and realizes adjudicative efficiencies through the use of technology. DoD recently reported that During FY2012, e-Delivery saved the DoD approximately 590,000 hours (over 280 man-years) in employee processing and handling time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $33 million. In addition, during FY2012, e-Adjudication saved the DoD approximately 57,000 hours (over 28 man years) in employee adjudication time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $3.2 million. Shortly after the report was issued, OPM provided GAO with a letter dated May 25, 2012, that included its plans to address the recommendations that GAO made in GAO-12-197, to improve the transparency of the costs and efficiency of the suitability and security clearance background investigation process. Although this recommendation was geared toward the Deputy Director for Management at OMB, OPM pledged to support OMB in the implementation of this recommendation by 1) providing cost analysis data to support cost efficient Executive Branch implementation of new Federal Investigative Standards, 2) supporting standardization and consolidation of investigative systems and processes to the extent it benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity, and 3) providing recommendations for the standardization of technology supporting suitability adjudicative processes to the extent this benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity. OPM noted that, in March 2012, it provided OMB reform leadership with both cost analysis data to support the implementation of the new Federal Investigative Standards and recommendations for the standardization of technology for the consideration of OMB's e-Government experts.