What is Suitability and Why Does it Matter to Me?

Investigating the character and conduct of an individual helps to ensure that those attributes are consistent with the duties of the position and the mission of the organization. Whether the individual is a first time applicant or a long time employee in federal service, the Department of Defense (DOD) is committed to attracting and maintaining highly qualified individuals into government service. Failure to conduct proper suitability determinations results in risk to the agency mission. For more information see, OPM Suitability Executive Agent page.

Links to the Regulations and Executive Orders relating to Suitability are listed below:

Unfavorable actions by agencies, based on conduct issues that would also be Suitability concerns are taken under the following: Executive Orders affecting Suitability:

Suitability Case Law

Department of Defense Instruction, DCPAS, Suitability and Fitness Adjudication for Civilian Employees

DoD Instruction
Suitability and Fitness Adjudication for Civilian Employees

DOD Issued Memorandums

Reference Guides

Use of the automated Position Designation Tool (PDT) is required for all positions covered by suitability regulation throughout DOD in accordance with DOD Instruction 1400.25 Volume 731, Suitability and Fitness Adjudication for Civilian Employees. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created the automated tool to assist in making position designations of National Security and Public Trust positions, positions in the competitive service, positions in the excepted service where the incumbent can be noncompetitively converted to competitive service, and initial career appointments in the Senior Executive Service (SES).

OPM's Position Designation System and Automated Tool

The hiring process for federal civilian employment includes steps to adjudicate applicant background information against standards of character and conduct to identify suitable personnel. DOD largely delegated suitability adjudication to its components and the components implemented unique suitability programs with minimal central oversight. This study gathered information about the DoD component suitability programs and generated a DoD-wide suitability process flow that summarized processes across DoD components, identified important considerations (including agency-unique requirements) for consolidating suitability adjudication at the DoD Central Adjudication Facility (CAF), and found additional research needs.

Baseline Suitability Analysis

The Defense Information System for Security (DISS), once fully deployed, will replace the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS), to serve as the system of record to perform comprehensive personnel security, suitability and credential eligibility management for all military, civilian, and DOD contractor personnel. DISS provides secure communications between Adjudicators, Security Officers and Component Adjudicators in support of eligibility and access management.

OPM requires the use of the Central Verification System (CVS) to determine whether a background investigation and suitability determination have already been completed by another federal agency for new hires. The implementation of the OPM CVS across the Department by December 31, 2011 was directed by memorandum signed by P.M. Tamburrino, Jr. on April, 18, 2011. Access to OPM’s CVS through the Secure Portal may be requested through your agency’s authorized Security Official (SOI). Security officers and suitability adjudicators that do not have access to CVS can contact OPM FIS, System Access Support Team (SAST) at (724) 794-5612, ext. 4600 to request access.

Defense Information System for Security (DISS)

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