By Eric Kowal, Picatinny Arsenal Public AffairsJanuary 21, 2016
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Often, when tragedy strikes such as in the case of an active shooter event, co-workers, friends, or family members will come forward and say, "We saw some signs, some strange behavior, but didn't think anything of it."
By the time unusual or suspicious conduct is reported, it is already too late.
The U.S. Army has been promoting a preventative measure in the iWatch program using slogan, "If you see something, say something."
Kathryn Cuff, Personnel Security Specialist, and Edward Kilduff, Industrial Security Specialist, both with Picatinny Arsenal's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security, are concerned that supervisors may not always be reporting the actions of their employees, which could lead to problems down the road.
"There could be repercussions for supervisors failing to report derogatory information," Cuff said. "If a supervisor becomes aware of an arrest or a charge against one of their employees, they are required to ensure that the activity is reported. Whether or not the charge sticks or a penalty or sentence is handed down by a judge is a different matter, but the incident should be documented."
Not only should arrests or warrants be reported, but also unusual behaviors or patterns that occur in the workplace.
"It does not necessarily have to be a criminal to be reported," Cuff noted. "Supervisors are failing to document an employee's history. Then, when an office change or job change is made, there is no record. This leads to problems."
An eerily similar case to what Cuff described occurred at the Washington Navy Yard on Sep. 16, 2013.
That morning, lone gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, fatally shot 12 people and injured three others in a mass shooting at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command inside the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C.
"Later, an investigation discovered that Alexis was observed by several people, including his supervisors, to behave in a way that raised concerns about his mental stability and presented indicators that he may cause harm to others," Kilduff said.
The information was never reported to the government as required. Had this information been reported, properly adjudicated, and acted upon, Alexis' authorization to access secure facilities and information would have been revoked.
"The failure to report does not only happen in the government sector," Cuff said. "Even in the realm of contract employees, undocumented behavior and or cause for relief or termination often times goes undocumented and then the employee is hired by another agency. The cycle repeats itself."
Cuff and Kilduff say their intent is not to instill fear but to prevent unnecessary incidents from happening.
"Reporting does not necessarily have to have bad connotation. Not all reports lead to revocation of access," Cuff said.
When an investigation is complete, it is sent to a Central Adjudications Facility. An adjudicator at a facility will review all of the information, both "good" and "bad" (remember, the "whole person") and assess the information against the Federal Adjudicative Guidelines to decide if an employee is eligible for a clearance or position of trust.
If no significant adverse information turns up, the employee will be granted a clearance eligibility at the level requested by the agency. However, if significant, adverse material develops, it could mean that an employee's case will be delayed until additional information is gathered and facts are verified. Ultimately, an employee may be denied a clearance.
DISCOMFORT WITH REPORTING
"Not everyone will feel comfortable with reporting but it is something that needs to be done," Cuff said.
The initial reporting can come in the form of an email, phone call or visit to the security manager (Cuff). Contract employees need to notify the garrison's industrial security specialist (Kilduff).
Both Cuff and Kilduff have to provide updates through their chain of reporting every 90 days. The case does not need to be closed but periodic updates are required.
"I believe supervisors across the board take their responsibility to report suspicious behaviors way too lightly," Kilduff said. "Supervisors need to be reminded that in accordance with AR 380-67, paragraph 9-3, titled 'Supervisory Responsibility,' they are required to ensure all relevant information is reported to the local command security officials."
A memorandum for all employees of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center was signed by Director John Hedderich in June 2015 and reinforces the responsibility to report outlined in AR 380-67.
A course is currently offered in the Army Learning Management System called "Managing Personnel with Clearances/Access to Classified Information," which provides details on the reporting responsibilities for supervisors.
Other available sources of information: http://www.cdse.edu/documents/cdse/Supv_Role_in_PerSec.pdf