August 5, 2014

SPeD Certification: Personnel Security Questions

These questions are intended to be a study guide for security professionals going for their SPeD certification. These are NOT actual questions from the test.

What regulation(s) cover the Personnel Security Program (PSP)?
What are the types of initial personnel security investigations and to whom do they apply?
  • SSBI: For military, DoD civilian, and contractor applying for a top secret clearance.
  • ANACI: DoD civilian applying for a secret clearance.
  • NACLC: For military and contractors applying for a secret clearance.
  • NACI: DoD civilian and contractor in a position of trust or general access to installations.

List three DoD position sensitivity types and their investigative requirements.
  • Special Sensitive: SSBI, SSBI-PR, PPR
  • Critical sensitive: SSBI, SSBI-PR, PPR
  • Non-critical sensitive: ANACI, NACLC
  • Nonsensitive: NACI
List three factors that should be considered when determining position sensitivity.
  • Level of access to classified information
  • IT level needed
  • Duties associated with position
When should a position be categorized as Special Sensitive?
A position should be considered Special Sensitive if it involves:
  • Access to SCI information
  • Access to unique or uniquely productive intelligence sources or methods vital to the US security
  • Positions that could cause grave damage and/or compromise technologies, plans, or procedures vital to the strategic advantage of the US
(Source: DSS CDSE Supervisor Role in Personnel Security job aid)

When should a position be categorized as Critical Sensitive?
The position should be designated as Critical Sensitive when the job involves:
  • access to Top Secret information
  • duties under special access programs
  • Information Technology
(Source: DSS CDSE Supervisor Role in Personnel Security job aid)

What is the purpose of due process in the Personnel Security Program (PSP)?
Ensures fairness by providing the subject the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable adjudicative determination.

List the key procedures for initiating Personnel Security Investigations (PSI).
  • Validate the need for an investigation
  • Initiate in e-QIP
  • Review personnel security questionnaire )PSQ) for completeness
  • Submit electronically to OPM
Explain how the adjudication process contributes to effective risk management of DoD assets.
It ensures that, based upon all available information, an individual's loyalty, reliability, and trustworthiness are such that entrusting assigned persons with eligibility to classified information or sensitive duties is in the best interest of national security.

Explain how effective implementation of the continuous evaluation process contributes to management of risks to DoD assets.
It ensures that individuals with national security eligibility and access are continuously assessed through utilization of accessible databases and other lawfully available information; continue to meet adjudicative standards; and that any issues that may arise are promptly reported.

Describe the difference between revocation and denial in personnel security program
Revocation: A current security eligibility determination is rescinded.
Denial: An initial request for security eligibility is not granted.

Describe the purpose of a Statement of Reason (SOR).
The purpose of the SOR is to provide a comprehensive and detailed written explanation of why a preliminary unfavorable adjudicative determination was made.

List the adjudicative guidelines.


List  individuals in the PSI process and describe their role.
  • Security manager: initiates, reviews, forwards investigation to investigation service provider (ISP)
  • Subject: completes forms and provides additional information
  • Investigator: conducts PSI
  • Adjudicator: determines eligibility for National Security access
Describe the function of e-QIP in the PSP.
  • Initiate investigations
  • Complete forms
  • Forward forms to ISP

List indicators of insider threat.
  • Failure to report overseas travel or contact with foreign nationals
  • Seeking to expand access outside scope of job
  • Engaging in classified conversations without need to know
  • Working hours inconsistent with job assignment or insistence on working in private
  • Exploitable behavior traits (something they could be blackmailed for)
  • Repeated security violations
  • Unexplainable affluence/living above one's means
  • Illegal downloads of information/files
Briefly describe the concept of insider threat.
An employee who may represent a threat to national security. These threats encompass potential espionage, violent acts against the government or the nation, and unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including the bast amounts of classified data available on interconnected US government computer networks and systems.

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