Issue Manifestations Causes Proposed solutions
Current DS actions in Disruption of DOS Lack of genuine Increase oversight and
security clearance cases operations, programs oversight accountability.
undermine the and projects. DS failure to perform Develop risk-
Department's mission, Sidelining and loss of objective or management-based
effectiveness and trained and experienced independent reviews of operating procedures to
security. employees. facts and cases. reduce impact on
Disruption to / Improper goal-setting by operations.
destruction of careers. DS management. DS Promote alternative
Exposure to lawsuits priorities do not solutions to clearance
and increased consider impact on DOS suspension (lowered
congressional scrutiny. operations. clearance level,
Embarrassment and loss Military vs DOS restricted access,
of credibility. perspective and reassignment) to reduce
Waste of resources and prejudices. impact on careers and
funds. Lack of accountability productivity.
Destruction of employee for either the DS Bureau Develop Department-
morale. or the agents involved. specific adjudication
Damage to national Improper, illegal and standards interpreting
security. unprofessional actions federal guidelines.
performed without Hold DS accountable
consequences. for operational, legal
DS actions taken for and resource
institutional or consequences of its
bureaucratic reasons actions.
rather than for national Perform independent
security reasons. reviews involving non-
No DS incentive for DS reviewers at key
change: other bureaus points in the process.
absorb costs including Ensure greater
curtailment, wasted employee awareness of
training costs, cost of standards and
replacement, disruption procedures.
to assignment process.
Real costs not captured.
Security clearance Disruption to DOS DS focus on raising DS Develop risk
actions taken for DS operations, including profile and funding management-based
institutional or disruption of projects rather than advancing standards and
bureaucratic reasons vital to national security. the Department’s alternative solutions to
rather than for national Quality/legality of mission. suspension (lower
security reasons investigations Disregard for risk clearance level,
subordinated to DS management restricted access,
bureau objectives. considerations. reassignment).
69 percent of DS Focus on predetermined Independent (M)
investigative files do not objectives rather than on management review of
meet federal standards. objective facts. DS priorities in light of
Damage control efforts Quantity stressed over actual operational
aimed at covering up quality. requirements.
flaws and errors rather Open cases and those Identify true costs of
than fixing them. resolved against security clearance
Demonstrable employee can be used to suspensions, in
misrepresentation of request resources. Cases resources, disruption,
facts in DS public resolved in favor of and effects on
statements and press employee cannot. operations. Pass these
guidance. Disproportionate and costs on to DS bureau.
Cost in terms of inappropriate levels of Require independent
resources and control by a few key DS (non-DS) review or
operational disruption officials. consultation prior to
outweighs benefits in DS free to ignore true clearance suspensions.
terms of reduced costs of their actions, as Require 360 degree
security risk. other Bureaus bear most performance evaluation
costs. of senior DS officials.
Arbitrary suspension of Employee’s career is Insufficient oversight of Independent review of
security clearances damaged. investigations. allegations and
Department is unable to Institutional desire to investigative findings
use employee’s skills, maximize the numbers prior to suspension of
training and experience. of investigations and clearances.
DOS operations are suspensions in order to Promote downgrading
disrupted by forced increase/justify DS of clearance level,
curtailments and loss of funding requests. reassignment or
trained personnel. True costs of suspension of access to
Costs are incurred, often investigations are not certain types/categories
in the 100Ks of dollars. captured, remain hidden. of classified rather than
Institutional need to DS decision-makers are suspension of security
justify resources not held accountable for clearances.
expended as a result of cost/resource Charge all investigative
suspension leads to implications of their costs, including
vicious circle. decisions. tangential costs, of
Employees are unable to Management outside DS adverse action
seek government ignorant of regulations investigations, to DS.
employment outside the and easily misled.
agency, as they have no
clearance to transfer.
Employees are trapped,
unable to perform
meaningful work at
State and unable to
transfer to another
Improper and Referrals abused as a Insufficient oversight of Independent review of
unnecessary referral of technique to lengthen investigations. allegations and
cases to other agencies. process, avoid decision- Lack of accountability. investigative findings
making. DS decision makers are prior to referral of cases.
Additional USG costs. not held accountable for
Additional tangential cost/resource results of
costs to State their decisions.
Department as Failure to vet
investigation process is information against
lengthened. information already on
Loss of DS credibility hand. Failure to evaluate
when other agencies allegations for
cannot substantiate DS reasonableness.
allegations. Belief that other agency
Damages public and will find derogatory
Congressional where DS has failed to
perception of State do so.
Department and Foreign Reluctance to accept
Service. employee innocence.
Hope that employees
will resign, achieving
“If you never make a
decision, then you will
never be wrong.”
Overzealous actions by Improper and illegal Insufficient oversight of Identify and punish
DS agents. Exercise of investigative actions. investigations. illegal and
bias, prejudice and Illegal search and Lack of training. unprofessional behavior.
ignorance by DS agents seizure. Agents who have no Mandatory annual
in conduct of Fraudulent statements in basic knowledge of training in investigative
investigations. ROIs. Cut and paste areas under law, civil rights and
falsification of witness investigation. EEO issues for all
statements. Institutional “Us vs agents involved.
Coercive interview Them” culture. Develop standards of
techniques. Compartmentalization. evidence which stress
Destruction or Desire to justify facts over speculation.
suppression of expenses already Establish and test
exculpatory information. incurred by expanding minimal standards of
Statements in ROIs and the investigation until general knowledge for
adjudicative decisions any “reason” can be DS investigators and
which ignore widely identified to justify that adjudicators.
known public expenditure. Require verification of
information or can be DS decision-makers are basic assumptions.
countered using basic not held accountable for Mandatory rotation of
student reference books. cost/resource adjudicators, with
Demonstrable use of implications of their mandatory time limits
illegal factors such as decisions. on the number of
race, religion, sexual “Badge as Phd” consecutive years they
orientation as a mentality. can perform certain
determinant of loyalty. Investigative procedures duties.
Agents who consider which stress witness Require review by more
themselves “above the statements over than one adjudicator.
law.” demonstrable facts. Charge all investigative
Selective investigations. Failure to verify basic costs, including
Inconsistent application facts and assumptions. tangential costs, to DS.
of regulations. Consider any allegation Independent (OIG)
Leads to “fishing whatsoever to constitute auditing of investigative
expeditions.” "doubt." files.
No consequences for
unprofessional or illegal
behavior by agents
to review, revisit or
Overly lengthy Damage to employee DS decision makers are Require adherence to
investigations. careers. not held accountable for regulatory time
Damage to morale. cost/resource standards.
Waste of government implications of their Require independent
resources. decisions, have no review of cases
If the process drags on incentive to end exceeding time
too long, it becomes an investigations. standards.
entirely wasted exercise, Frivolous or arbitrary Charge all costs of
as the employee is likely suspension of investigations to DS,
to leave the service upon clearances. including all costs
completion of the Improper/ unnecessary currently borne by other
investigation, referrals to outside bureaus (e.g. salary’s of
irrespective of the agencies. sidelined employees,
outcome. Institutional need to find costs of replacing
Process abused and some reason to justify sidelined employees at
viewed as punitive. resources expended. overseas posts, etc.)
Desire for employee to Identify/Create
resign, creating meaningful no-
“successful outcome” clearance or low-
for DS. clearance employment
Open cases and those options.
resolved against Promote idea of “truth
employee can be used to finding” rather than
request resources. Cases “guilt finding.”
resolved in favor of
“If you never make a
decision, then you will
never be wrong.”
Lack of adjudicative Adjudicative findings Large influx of DS staff Develop, publish and
standards (Government- and determinations vary and management from enforce adherence to
wide adjudicative widely between similar other agencies agency-specific
guidelines are not cases. swamping earlier standards for
standards. Standards are Improper and illegal use institutional culture. interpreting and
required to properly of factors such as race, Improper application of applying the
apply/interpret the religion and sexual other- agency standards Government-wide
guidelines). orientation to determine to DOS employees. adjudicative guidelines.
loyalty. Lack of training. Specifically address
Adjudicative decisions Lack of oversight. issues of race, religion
made without regard to Lack of accountability. and other civil-rights
Department's mission “If you do not have factors.
and often prejudicial to standards, then you Specifically tailor the
Department's mission. cannot be held standards to the core
High number of DS accountable to follow mission of the
determinations them." Department of State.
overturned in appeal. Management ignorance Train adjudicators in the
Exposure to lawsuits of regulations. standards and hold them
and public Confusion between accountable for
embarrassment. discipline and security. following them.
Compartmentalization Lack of communication Improper application of Require greater
between DS elements “need to know” coordination between
impedes “whole person” principles. Failure to investigative and
analysis in adjudication. evaluate who needs to adjudicative sections.
Impedes both internal know what. Require greater /
and external Focus on “leak” complete explanation of
coordination. prevention rather than cases to HR and M.
Lack of transparency information gathering. Provide complete
promotes lack of Application of national information to
accountability. intelligence standards to appropriately cleared
Promotes abuse and non-intelligence staff in HR and M.
illegal actions by investigations. Review clearance levels
individual agents. Failure to balance risk- to ensure sufficient HR
Compartmentalization management principles and M access to all
principles abused to with operational information.
prevent appropriate requirements. Require higher level
oversight by M and Belief that secrecy is review of any case
others. power. which could lead to
Bolsters “us vs them” adverse actions.
Lack of accountability Improper and illegal Lack of independent Independent review of
investigative actions. oversight. all adverse action cases.
Fraudulent statements in “Us vs Them” mentality Make agents responsible
ROIs. in DS. for their actions. Punish
Use of illegal factors True costs of improper actions. Refer
such as race, religion, investigations are not illegal actions for
sexual orientation as a captured. prosecution.
determinant of loyalty. DS decision makers are Provide HR and AFSA
Agents who consider not held accountable for with a mechanism to
themselves “above the cost/resource insert letters into the
law.” implications of their files of errant
Leads to “fishing decisions. investigators and
expeditions.” Agents not held adjudicators. Require
Protection of persons accountable for their them to do so.
who "snitch," even when actions, free to violate Identify all cost and
the "snitches" act laws and regulations resource parameters of
illegally. with impunity. investigations. Charge
Institutional culture of all costs to DS.
absolutes. Require 360 degree
Management reluctance review of senior DS
to review cases. staff.
Fishing expeditions Investigations are Desire to justify Require independent
expanded far beyond expenditure of (non-DS) review prior
original allegations. resources. to expanding any
Investigative time is Reluctance to accept investigation beyond
lengthened. employee innocence. original scope.
Additional costs are Definition of success as Charge all investigative
incurred. finding of derogatory costs, including
information. Regard tangential costs, to DS.
failure to substantiate Use “risk management’
allegations as “failure.” criteria as the basis for
Agents rewarded based any decision to expand
on number of “kills.” an investigation beyond
Fear of making its original scope.
decisions. Promote the idea of
Belief that “wherever “truth finding” rather
there is smoke there is than “guilt finding.”
Selective investigations Investigations initiated Reluctance to accept Require higher level
based on frivolous employee innocence. review prior to initiating
allegations. No effort to verify any investigation
Specific individuals veracity/motives of involving more than one
targeted. sources of allegations. post.
Investigations conducted No consequences to Require independent
for reasons other than sources of false review prior to
security or discipline. allegations. expanding
Repeated targeting of Fear of making investigations into
certain individuals. decisions. potential adverse action
Use of investigations to No consideration of risk cases.
punish dissenters/critics. management factors. Train employees in risk
Improper or illegal DS decision makers are management principles.
actions during the not held accountable for Charge all investigative
conduct of cost/resource costs, including
investigations. implications of their tangential costs, to DS.
Biases and prejudicial decisions. Punish the making of
investigative tactics. Abuse of lower standard false allegations.
Illegal search and requirements for Treat all wrongdoers,
seizure of private administrative vs including “snitches”
property. judicial investigations. equally. Being a DS
Failure to investigate Management ignorance source should not
allegations of of regulations. provide anyone with
wrongdoing by immunity from
Overlap between Disciplinary issues Reluctance to accept Suitability
Security and Discipline treated as the basis for employee innocence. determinations should
security clearance Institutional be made by HR, not DS.
decisions. preconceptions taken DS agents should not be
Inability to distinguish from military allowed to even believe
between disciplinary background of most new that they have any role
matters and security DS staff. Lack of in this other than
issues. understanding of investigating the facts.
Earlier disciplinary difference between The name of PSS should
cases used as basis to Military Code of be changed to make it
initiate security Conduct and State clear that DS agents are
investigations, or to Department culture. not empowered to make
justify unrelated Lack of understanding suitability
adjudicative of responsibilities of DS determinations.
determinations. vs HR. Develop agency-
Clearance Lack of written specific standards for
determinations that are adjudicative standards. interpreting and
really improperly made applying the
determinations. adjudicative guidelines.
EEO Issues Use of illegal factors Reluctance to accept Mandatory independent
such as race, religion, employee innocence. review of all adverse
sexual orientation as a Lack of oversight. action cases.
determinant of loyalty. Lack of accountability. Mandatory annual EEO
Agents free to exercise Lack of training. and civil rights training.
personal prejudices and Institutional culture that Mandatory inclusion of
biases in national identifies negative EEO factors in
security decisions. findings with success, performance appraisals.
and positive findings Mandatory inclusion of
with failure. letters of reprimand,
Agents not held issued by a review
accountable for their panel, in the file of any
actions, free to violate agent who, in the
laws and regulations opinion of the panel,
with impunity. uses improper factors in
training for DS agents.
Failure to inform State Department Rules and regulations Mandatory policy that if
Employees of the employees unaware of not clear. a rule is unpublished, or
regulations. the rules and regulations Rules and regulations if it has not been
which affect their not published, or circulated within the
clearances. infrequently published. past five years, it cannot
DS and FSOs play by RSOs not carrying out form the basis for a
separate sets of rules their required duties to security clearance
and assumptions. inform their constituents determination.
DS senior management of new regulations. Mandatory annual
promotes military DS secrecy over certain circulation of rules and
conduct requirements in regulations. regulations.
DS determinations. DS enforcement of Mandatory training for
Enforcement of "rules in progress" - both DS and FSO
unwritten, unpublished unwritten draft employees.
Burden of Proof Burden of proof, which Reluctance to accept Require DS agents to
should be on the agency, employee innocence. comply with federal
is being placed on the Institutional culture standards of evidence.
employee. which defines success as Require independent
DS accepts the making of negative review of adverse action
undocumented, determinations, rewards cases.
unproven allegations as negative determinations, Train DS and HR
fact (when they are and views positive employees in
negative). results as failures. requirements for
DS does not require any Lack of oversight and evidence.
evidence to support its accountability. Require that DS
own position, but is Lack of clear regulations investigative files
aggressive and defining minimal comply with federal
prejudicial in attacking standards for evidence. guidelines.
evidence provided by Ignorance outside of DS
the employee. concerning investigative
Employee is considered standards.
guilty until he/she
proves himself innocent.
Abuse of E.O. 10450 Vetting/ consultation Lack of accountability Greater oversight and
and other referrals process abused by both and oversight. accountability.
between DS and DS and M/MED. Compartmentalization. Early HR review of
M/MED. Abuse of joint M/MED decisions made Limited distribution of adverse decisions.
M/MED and DS without medical information allows for Recognition that
committees. examination and/or abuse. administrative decisions
based solely on DS M/MED and DS both made by M/MED staff
findings. increasingly used as a are not "expert medical"
Referrals to M/MED tool for back-door decisions beyond the
abused as a tool to termination of understanding of non-
expand investigations, “problem” employees. medical personnel; they
seek additional Reluctance by HR and can and should be
derogatory information. others to second-guess reviewed by outside
Referrals to DS used as "experts." reviewers.
a way to force Roles not clearly Follow CIA example of
“medical” curtailment. defined. separating counseling
Abuse of RMOPs as FOIA, PA and HIPAA psychiatrists (who
“scouts” for DS. viewed as impediments provide psychological
FOIA, PA, HIPAA to goal of removing counseling and
violations. “problem” employees treatment) from
M/MED and DS from service. “psychometrists” (who
information shell game Idea that primary evaluate employees for
used to illegally hide purpose of M/MED is to suitability).
information from protect the Department Ensure greater
employees and HR. from lawsuits. transparency and
Immunity from separation of MED and
grievance or appeal DS functions.
reduces accountability Allow appeal of
and professionalism. procedural errors in
M/MED and DS