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POSITION SENSITIVITY FOR PERSONNEL SUITABILITY AND PERSONNEL SECURITY PURPOSES

DAO 202-731: POSITION SENSITIVITY FOR PERSONNEL SUITABILITY AND PERSONNEL SECURITY PURPOSES
Number: DAO 202-731
Effective Date: 1989-11-06

SECTION 1. PURPOSE.

This Order establishes a 4-level system for designating the sensitivity of positions for personnel suitability and security purposes, as described in Federal Personnel Manual Chapter 731, "Personnel Suitability," and 732, "Personnel Security."

SECTION 2. IMPLEMENTATION.

The provisions of this Order shall be implemented in accordance with instructions issued by the Director for Personnel and Civil Rights.

SECTION 3. SCOPE.

This Order applies to positions established within the Department of Commerce, regardless of how they are filled. It does not apply to security or investigative matters related to research associates, guest workers, members of advisory committees who are not otherwise employees, contractor personnel, and other non-employees. These are covered in the Personnel Security Manual administered by the Office of Security. Members of advisory committees are covered in the Committee Management Handbook established under Department Administrative Order 201-2, "Committee Management."

SECTION 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

.01 Designation of Positions.

a. The head of the operating unit or Departmental Office is responsible for ensuring that the sensitivity designations of positions in the unit or Office are accurate.

b. The head of each operating unit or Departmental Office is responsible for making designations of sensitivity levels of positions in the unit using the sensitivity levels defined in Section 5 below. This authority may be redelegated only to those officials to whom full personnel management authority is delegated, as listed in Appendix A of Department Administrative Order 202-250, "Delegation of authority for Personnel Management."

c. The head of each operating unit or Departmental Office has the authority to approve the redesignation of a position from one sensitivity level to another. This authority may not be redelegated. Requests for approval of redesignations must be in writing and must state the rationale for the change, including an explanation of the changes in position requirements that necessitate the redesignation. Approvals must also be in writing and must occur in advance of any actions that depend on the outcome of the request (e.g., the placement of an individual in the position or the initiation of a background investigation). Records of position redesignations must be maintained in accordance with Sections 6.03 and 6.04 of this Order.

d. The authority to approve exceptions to the level definitions in Section 5 is reserved to the Director for Personnel and Civil Rights. When the exceptions pertain to vacant positions, written requests for exceptions must be reviewed and approved before the positions in question are filled. When requests for exceptions involve matters relating to access to classified information or restricted facilities, decisions will be made in consultation with the Director, Office of Security.

e. Supervisors are responsible for making recommendations to designating officials on sensitivity levels for positions.

f. The servicing personnel officer must review position designations for adherence to level definitions and for consistency with designations for similar positions and provide advice and guidance as needed. The servicing personnel officer discusses any disagreement on the designation of a position with the designating official. If, following this discussion, the disagreement remains unresolved, the matter is referred to the next higher management level within the operating unit or Departmental Office for decision. Following the designation of a position, the servicing personnel officer is responsible for initiating an appropriate personnel investigation, as required by the Office of Security Personnel Security Manual.

g. Servicing security officers provide advice and guidance to designating officials where position designations involve access to classified information or other national security issues.

.02 Basis for Designation. The designation of a position must be based on an overall assessment of the damage that its incumbent, by occupying the position, could cause to the efficiency of the service or the national security. Efficiency of the service, the basic element of the assessment, involves consideration of the duties and responsibilities of the position as they impact on specific programs or operations in the agency. National security interests, comprising the second element, involve consideration of the duties and responsibilities of the position as they impact directly or indirectly on the promulgation or implementation of war plans or foreign policy. This includes the need for access to information classified under Executive Order 12356 or similar authority, or access to sensitive, restricted facilities. The sensitivity levels that follow incorporate these elements. Final designation of a position must be at the highest sensitivity level reached in assessing the elements.

SECTION 5. SENSITIVITY LEVEL DEFINITIONS.

.01 Special-Sensitive. A "Special-Sensitive" position is one with potential for inestimable damage to national security or for inestimable adverse impact to the efficiency of the service. This sensitivity level includes:

a. Positions that exceed the Critical-Sensitive level because of:

1. The greater degree of damage that an individual by virtue of occupying the position could do to the national security;

2. Duties that are especially critical to the agency mission with broad scope and authority, such as is associated with the overall direction of a major government program or other extremely important responsibilities which affect the overall efficiency of the service; or

3. A greater risk in terms of ADP-computer security.

b. Positions having special requirements such as the need for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or other compartmented information deemed "special-sensitive" by the Office of Security.

c. Other positions designated by the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office concerned.

.02 Critical-Sensitive. A "Critical-Sensitive" position is one with potential for exceptionally grave damage to national security or for exceptionally grave adverse impact on the efficiency of the service. This sensitivity level includes:

a. Positions involving duties of clearly major importance to the agency mission with major program responsibilities which affect the efficiency of the service.

b. Positions involving access to Top Secret classified information.

c. Positions involving the development or approval of war plans, plans or particulars of future or major or special operations of war, or critical and extremely important items of war.

d. Positions involving development or approval of plans, policies or programs which affect the overall operations of an agency; that is, policy-making or policy-determining positions.

e. Positions involving the issuance of personnel security clearances or duty on personnel security boards.

f. Positions involving fiduciary, public contact, or other duties demanding the highest degree of public trust. This includes:

1. Positions in the Senior Executive Service or equivalent, and above;

2. Positions in grades GS-15 or equivalent except those which the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office determines clearly do not involve fiduciary, public contact, or other duties demanding the highest degree of public trust;

3. Positions involving foreign duty, except those involving only infrequent, irregular foreign travel and those which the head of the operating unit determines clearly do not involve fiduciary, public contact, or other duties demanding the highest degree of public trust;

4. Positions involving investigative, compliance, and inspection responsibilities, regardless of grade;

5. Positions requiring a CD-277, "Official Investigative Credential," or an Official Investigative Badge, under the terms of Department Administrative Order 207-11;

6. Positions in the GS-511 Auditing Series at the GS-13 level and above or equivalent;

7. Positions requiring the exercise of judgment in making or recommending a Government decision or in taking or recommending a Government action in regard to contracting or procurement, administering or monitoring grants or subsidies, regulating or auditing private or other non-Federal enterprise, or activities where the decision has an economic impact on the interests of any non-Federal enterprise; and

g. Positions in which the incumbent is responsible for planning, directing and implementing a computer security program; has a major responsibility for directing, planning, and designing a computer system, including the hardware and software; or, can access a system during operation or maintenance with relatively high risk for causing grave damage or realizing a significant personal gain. Such positions may involve:

1. Responsibility for developing and administering Commerce computer security programs, including direction and control of risk analysis and/or threat assessment;

2. Significant involvement in life-critical or mission-critical systems;

3. Responsibility for preparing or approving data for input into a system which does not necessarily involve personal access to the system, but with relatively high risk for effecting grave damage or realizing significant personal gain;

4. Relatively high risk assignments associated with or directly involving the accounting, disbursement, or authorization for disbursement from systems of (a) dollar amounts of $10 million per year or greater, or (b) lesser amounts if the activities of the individual are not subject to technical review by higher authority at the Critical-Sensitive level to insure the integrity of the system; or

5. Major responsibility for directing, planning, designing, testing, maintaining, operating, monitoring, and/or managing systems hardware and software.

h. Positions designated as the head of a major organization unit in the field service (e.g., Regional Director, Bureau of the Census; Area Director, Economic Development Administration).

i. Commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, except as approved by the Administrator with respect to officers below the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

j. Other positions designated by the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office.

.03 Noncritical-Sensitive. A "Noncritical-Sensitive" position is one with potential for moderate to serious damage to national security or for moderate to serious impact on the efficiency of the service. This sensitivity level includes:

a. Positions involving duties of considerable importance to the agency mission with significant program responsibilities which affect the efficiency of the service.

b. Positions involving access to Secret or Confidential classified information.

c. Positions involving duties that may directly or indirectly adversely affect the overall operations of the agency.

d. Positions involving duties that demand a high degree of confidence and trust.

e. positions in which the incumbent is responsible for directing, planning, designing, operating, or maintaining a computer system, and whose work is technically reviewed by a higher authority at the critical-Sensitive level to insure the integrity of the system. Such positions may involve:

1. Responsibility for systems design, operation, testing, maintenance, or monitoring that is carried out under technical review of higher authority at the Critical-Sensitive level to ensure the integrity of the system. This level includes, but is not limited to:

(a) Access to or processing of proprietary data, information requiring protection under the Privacy Act of 1974, and Government-developed privileged information involving the award of contracts; or

(b) Accounting, disbursement, or authorization for disbursement from systems of dollar amounts of less than $10 million per year; or

2. A degree of access to a system that creates a significant potential for damage or personal gain less than that in Critical-Sensitive positions.

f. Positions at GS-14 and above or equivalent, except as otherwise determined by the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office.

g. Other positions specified by the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office.

.04 Non-Sensitive. A "Non-Sensitive" position is one that does not fall into a higher sensitivity level.

SECTION 6. RECORDS.

.01 Position Sensitivity Level Designations. The sensitivity level designation for a position must be recorded on Form AD-332, "Position Description Cover Sheet."

.02 Exceptions to Level Definitions. When an exception to a sensitivity level definition has been approved under Section 4.01d, documents requesting and approving the exception must be attached to the AD-332.

.03 Position Redesignation. When a position is redesignated at a new level under Section 4.01c, the documents requesting and approving the change must be attached to the AD-332.

.04 Records Retention. Records of position sensitivity level designations are retained for as long as they apply. Records of approved exceptions to level definitions and records of position redesignations must be retained for three years or until there has been a Departmental review under Section 7.01 of this Order, whichever is later.

SECTION 7. PROGRAM REVIEWS.

.01 Personnel Management Evaluation (PME). Programs and records established to comply with the terms of this Order are subject to periodic review by the Office of Personnel and Civil Rights, in cooperation with the Office of Security, as part of its personnel management evaluation and oversight responsibilities.

.02 Other Reviews. Programs and records established under this Order are subject to ad hoc inspections by the Office of Personnel and Civil Rights and by the Office of Security.

SECTION 8. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDERS.

This Order supplements Department Administrative Order 207-1, "Personnel Security and Suitability Program," effective November 20, 1984.

Signed by: Director for Personnel and Civil Rights

Signed by: Director for Procurement and Administrative Services

Approved by: Assistant Secretary for Administration

PLEASE CALL (202) 482-7873 FOR COPIES OF THE FORM

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