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NPR 1600.3A
Effective Date: August 03, 2020
Expiration Date: August 03, 2025
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Personnel Security

Responsible Office: Office of Protective Services

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |

Chapter 2. Personnel Security Investigations and Adjudications

2.1 General

2.1.1 Individuals who perform work for or on behalf of the Agency shall be assigned to a position that has been designated in accordance with OPM position designation requirements.

2.1.2 Individuals who perform work for or on behalf of the Agency are subject to a PSI, in accordance with their assigned position, to determine whether they are:

a. Suitable for Government employment.

b. Eligible for logical and physical access.

c. Eligible for access to CNSI.

d. Eligible to hold a sensitive position.

e. Fit to perform work for or on behalf of the Government as a contractor employee.

2.1.3 A determination of suitability for Government employment for all NASA civil service employees, fitness for all NASA contractor employees, and eligibility for logical and physical access will apply to all NASA workers in accordance with NPR 3730.1 and NPR 1600.4, Identity and Credential Management. A determination of eligibility for access to CNSI and/or to hold a sensitive position may apply to NASA workers, in accordance with this policy and NPR 3730.1.

2.1.4 All information obtained regarding personnel security reports and/or records will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974.

2.1.5 Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) personnel shall be adjudicated for access based on their position designation.

2.1.6 Prior favorable suitability, fitness, and national security determinations will be reciprocated for that investigation tier and lower investigation tiers in compliance with the requirements for reciprocity found in this policy and NPR 3730.1.

2.1.7 A NASA worker who requires a higher tier of investigation will be subject to a new investigation commensurate with the requirements of the higher tier investigation.

2.1.8 All persons with a PSI will be continuously evaluated to ensure continued suitability/fitness and/or eligibility.

2.1.9 All investigations will be processed using approved Federal Government systems, in compliance with policies for the use of these systems.

2.1.10 The Identity Management and Account Exchange (IdMAX) system will be the authoritative system for tracking, initiation, and adjudication of investigations.

2.1.11 IdMAX will be the authoritative system for position designations of contractors. Position designations for NASA is maintained by OCHCO.

2.2 Risk and Sensitivity Levels

2.2.1 Position risk will be designated as Low-Risk, Moderate-Risk, or High-Risk. Positions designated as Moderate-Risk or High-Risk will be referred to as Public Trust positions. High-Risk positions will be a minimum Tier 4 investigation. Moderate-Risk positions will be a minimum Tier 2 investigation. Low-Risk positions will be a Tier 1 investigation, except when elevated by the position sensitivity.

2.2.2 Position sensitivity levels will be designated as Non-Sensitive, Non-Critical Sensitive, Critical-Sensitive, or Special-Sensitive. Critical-Sensitive and Special-Sensitive positions will be a Tier 5 investigation. Non-Critical Sensitive positions will be a minimum Tier 3 investigation. Non-Sensitive positions will be a Tier 1 investigation, except when elevated by the position risk.

2.3 Designation of Risk and Sensitivity Levels

2.3.1 All position designations will be made using the approved Federal Government position designation tool.

2.3.2 Position designations for civil service employees will be made by OCHCO in coordination with the supervisor and OPS.

2.3.3 Position designations for contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be made by the responsible NASA Center program office representative; typically, by the designated civil service project manager (sponsor/requester), COR, in coordination with OPS, and Information Technology Security Manager(s) and in compliance with position designation standards.

2.3.4 Position designations for national security contracts will be made in accordance with NPR 1600.2, NASA Procedural Requirements.

2.3.5 The risk and sensitivity level for contractor positions will be identified and designated in the statement of work of the contract.

2.3.6 If the duties of a position require overlap into a higher or lower risk level, the position risk will be set at the highest risk level anticipated. The COR, in consultation with the CO, will identify contract employees to be processed at each risk level designation and will specify the duties of the contractors. In instances where there is a wide variance in the security risk level of the work to be performed, individual contractor employees will be processed at the risk designation commensurate with the highest risk level of their duties. An entire contract, grant, MOA, or MOU may be designated high or moderate risk, but those NASA contractor employees whose work would be moderate or low risk will be investigated according to the highest risk level of their duties. In meeting this contingency, the contract, grant, MOA, or MOU will specifically apply controls to ensure that work of the lower-risk positions does not overlap with that for the higher-risk positions.

2.4 Non-U.S. Citizens

2.4.1 Non-United States (U.S.) citizens, including Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), are eligible for placement in low-risk and moderate-risk positions, but are not normally eligible for employment in positions designated as high-risk. Appointments to these positions will follow the requirements of NPR 3300.1.

2.4.2 Non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. for less than three years are ineligible for a background investigation and appointment to any low-risk, moderate-risk, or high-risk position.

2.5 Childcare Providers

2.5.1 A Tier 1 investigation, or higher, will be completed on all childcare providers. The appropriate extra coverage code will be requested during the initiation of the investigation for childcare providers.

2.5.2 NASA childcare facilities will coordinate all personnel hiring actions with OPS prior to the start of employment.

2.6 Investigation Process Requirements

2.6.1 An investigation is initiated for all NASA workers, commensurate with the position risk and sensitivity.

2.6.2 The applicant shall submit fingerprints through the IdMAX system.

2.6.3 The applicant shall submit all necessary information and forms that may be required, based on the type of investigation, and then sign the appropriate release pages.

2.6.4 Investigation forms will be certified and submitted to the ISP within 14 days of signature by the applicant.

2.6.5 If the required investigation is determined to have not been accomplished at any time, the required investigation will be conducted.

2.6.6 At the discretion of OPS, an individual without a completed investigation and final access determination may be allowed to begin work based on the specifics of the situation and a preliminary review of the submitted forms and the results of the fingerprint check.

2.6.7 Changes in Position, Risk, or Sensitivity Level. When a NASA worker experiences a change in work duties and the risk or sensitivity level is higher, a new investigation commensurate to the risk or sensitivity will be transmitted to the ISP. When a NASA worker experiences a change in work duties and the risk or sensitivity level is lower, the existing investigation will be accepted with no additional action.

2.7 Reinvestigation

2.7.1 Tier 1 investigations are not subject to periodic reinvestigation.

2.7.2 Tier 2, 3, 4, and 5 investigations will be reinvestigated and/or evaluated in accordance with Federal policies.

2.7.3 Reinvestigations, including expanded or further investigations because of continuous evaluation, will be conducted when required, consistent with the Federal Investigation Standards.

2.8 Reciprocity of Investigations and Adjudications

2.8.1 The investigative and adjudicative systems of record are checked by a NASA personnel security specialist who has undergone a favorably adjudicated PSI to determine if a prior investigation or adjudication will serve reciprocally for a NASA determination of suitability, fitness, or access to physical and logical resources. If there is no favorably adjudicated PSI identified in an adjudicative system of record, or any other trusted Government agency that will serve reciprocally, a PSI will be initiated in the investigative questionnaire system of record commensurate to the position risk and sensitivity.

2.8.2 Reciprocal recognition will be granted for a prior favorable suitability, fitness, or access determination when:

a. Equivalent adjudicative criteria was used in accordance with Suitability, 5 CFR pt. 731; and

b. The individual has had no break in employment since the favorable determination was made.

c. The new position requires the same or a lower level of investigation than previously conducted for that individual; or

d. No developed adverse information has been obtained on the individual; or

e. The individual’s investigative record does not reflect conduct that is incompatible with the core duties of the new position; or

f. The investigation is within the same scope.

2.9 Adjudications

2.9.1 Adjudications will be performed in accordance with Federal guidelines for credentialing, suitability, and eligibility for access to CNSI and/or to hold a sensitive position.

2.9.2 Adjudications are made by certified credentialing adjudicators in accordance with suitability/fitness adjudication standards.

2.9.3 Adjudicative decisions will be made on individuals whom an appropriate investigation has been completed.

2.9.4 Adjudicative decisions are made in accordance with Federal adjudicative standards.

2.9.5 Adjudications are performed within the established timelines identified in Federal guidelines and recorded in IdMAX.

2.9.6 Adverse Information When adverse information is developed or received in the course of any personnel security investigation, subsequent to such investigation and initial favorable determination, or through continuous evaluation, the scope of inquiry will be expanded to the extent necessary to obtain sufficient information to make a reasonable and sound determination to obtain or maintain suitability, fitness, or eligibility for access. A personal interview or expanded inquiry is held with a NASA worker on whom significant unfavorable or derogatory information has been developed or received during the screening process. The NASA worker will be offered an opportunity to refute, explain, clarify, or mitigate the information in question. As appropriate, other offices will be consulted (e.g., OIG, OGC, OCHCO, etc.) during this process. Expanded inquiries or personal interviews will be conducted by a NASA official with sufficient investigative experience, NASA-contracted investigators, another investigating agency, or another agency of the Federal Government at NASA’s request. Signed releases from the NASA worker are obtained when required to pursue additional leads, such as medical records, credit checks, etc. Counterintelligence-related adverse information is relayed immediately, but no later than the next business day after the information has been obtained, to OPS Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism. An adjudicator shall conduct a new determination at any time adverse information is obtained that calls into question an individual’s fitness, suitability, or eligibility for access based on character or conduct. This may include a new PSI or database query and adjudication. Adverse information involving civil service employees will be referred to OCHCO for action. The adjudicator shall provide the individual a notice stating the specific reasons for the determination and that the individual has the right to answer the notice in writing. The notice will inform the individual of the time limits, as well as the address to which the response should be made. The individual may respond to the determination in writing and furnish documentation that addresses the specific reasons for the determination in support of the response. If no response is received, the determination will be upheld and there will be no further appeal process. After consideration of any documentation submitted by the individual for reconsideration of the initial determination, OPS shall issue a written decision, which informs the individual of the reasons for the final decision. If the letter details an unfavorable decision, the individual may request an appeal within the defined time limit. The Center Director, or designee, shall appoint a Credentialing/Fitness Adjudication Review Panel (CARP) to review the information surrounding the denial decision. The panel will be composed of three NASA civil servants who have demonstrated reliability and objectivity in their official duties. One, and only one, of the panel members must be a security professional. If use of a NASA security professional is not appropriate, a security expert from outside the Agency may be used on the panel. The individual may submit a written appeal to the CARP or they may request to appeal in person to the CARP. Any approved appearance before the CARP will be documented by means of a written summary or recording which will be made a part of the individual’s security record. Prior to finalizing the CARP determination, a CARP panel member or OPS may refer the CARP proposed decision to the Center Director for an additional level of review. If no referral is made to the Center Director, the CARP decision is final. If there is a referral to the Center Director, the Center Director’s decision is final. Upon determination that a denial has been upheld, there is no further appeal process. Based on the reasons for the denial, the individual may be barred from access to NASA. IdMAX will be updated to reflect any barring of access. If at any point during review and/or adjudication of adverse information the individual’s affiliation with NASA ends, no further action is required and the review process should be concluded.

2.10 Personnel Security File Storage and Access

2.10.1 Records and information related to this policy will be managed in accordance with NPR 1441.1. Personnel security files are temporary records and are to be destroyed in accordance with the disposition instructions in NPR 1441.1.

2.10.2 Information from personnel security files may be disclosed to a Federal agency in response to requests to the extent that the information is appropriate for release to the requesting official, relevant, and necessary to the requesting agency’s decision on the matter.

2.10.3 Subjects of personnel security investigations and screenings may request copies of excerpts, summaries, or any analytical extract of information from the NASA case file or the investigation in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974. The subject may be directed to make such requests directly to the ISP.

2.10.4 The results of PSIs will be used by NASA for the limited purpose of making suitability, fitness, and/or eligibility determinations.

2.10.5 Adjudicative determinations are reported using the officially designated system.

2.10.6 NASA Personnel Security Specialists shall only access PSI and adjudicative records relevant to the specific individual for whom a hiring, credentialing, or eligibility determination is required. PSI and adjudicative records may be accessed at the direction of the Director, OPS/SMD or designee. PSI and adjudicative records will only be accessed through officially designated systems.

2.10.7 All records related to PSIs, database checks, screening records, adjudicative decisions, or similar personnel security files are maintained securely.

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |
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