Nuclear Security:

DOE's Reinvestigation of Employees Has Not Been Timely

RCED-87-72: Published: Mar 10, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1987.

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Keith O. Fultz
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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the adequacy of the Department of Energy's (DOE) periodic reinvestigations of employees' security clearances for access to nuclear defense programs.

GAO found that DOE: (1) has been unable to meet its goals to reinvestigate security clearances at headquarters and some field offices; (2) may have cleared employees in its work force who were unsuitable for clearance because of serious drug, alcohol, or other problems; (3) should develop a plan to ensure timely reinvestigations; and (4) should review the appropriateness of the number and level of active clearances, since these factors largely determine the reinvestigation work load.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Plans for all 11 offices have been received and approved. Annual monitoring is provided for.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should develop a plan to bring headquarters and the field offices into compliance with the December 1985 Personnel Security Program Order. The first step in the planning process should focus on how the numbers and levels of active clearances can be reduced. DOE may be able to reduce clearance numbers and levels by ensuring that only employees who require clearances have them, that employees have the lowest clearance level needed to do their jobs, and that clearances for individuals who are no longer associated with DOE are promptly terminated. The plan should consider: (1) reinvestigation work-load requirements; and (2) resources needed to meet those requirements. In addition, the Secretary should direct the Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs (ASDP) to review and approve the plans, monitor their implementation, and annually report to him on compliance with the order.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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