The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

AFSA NEWS 58 JUNE 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL New Contact Reporting Requirements Diplomatic Security has implemented changes to security reporting require- ments that are required across the federal govern- ment by Security Executive Agent Directive 3 (SEAD-3), issued by the Office of the Director of National Intel- ligence. These changes, which went into effect at the State Department on Jan. 21, 2022, can be found in 12 FAM 270 (Security Reporting Require- ments). Additional reporting requirements pertaining to counterintelligence concerns have not changed (although DS has advised AFSA that they are under review); they can be found in 12 FAM 260. Most of the other foreign affairs agencies implemented SEAD-3 requirements several years ago. The reporting require- ments are very similar at all of the foreign affairs agencies, except that the Department of State only requires employees to report personal travel to countries with critical threat posts (and unusual or suspi- cious occurrences during travel to any foreign country or out-of-the-ordinary contact with foreign law enforcement or customs officials). The other foreign affairs agencies currently require employees to report personal travel to all foreign countries. Employees who do not comply with reporting requirements may have their security clearances suspended or revoked and/ or may be subjected to disci- plinary action. Under SEAD-3 and 12 FAM 270, employees holding sensi- tive positions or with access to classified information must now provide more compre- hensive and contemporane- ous reporting on information that may have a bearing on their ability to hold a sensitive position and maintain access to classified information. For example, in the past, employees needed to fill out a contact report on foreign nationals from countries with critical threat posts (per 12 FAM 264) but could wait to report “close and continu- ing association” with foreign nationals from other coun- tries until it was time to fill out their SF-86 (in connection with the periodic reinvestiga- tion of their security clear- ance). Under the new rules, employees must promptly report new relationships with foreign nationals, regardless of the country, when certain criteria are reached. After an initial foreign contact report, follow-up reporting for continuing contact is only required if there is a signifi- cant change in the nature of the contact. Notably, employees are not required to submit reports for activities going back to their last investigation, but only reportable events that occur since the policy has been established. Prior to implementing changes to 12 FAM 270, DS consulted with AFSA and took several of our suggestions into account. AFSA did not have the right to negotiate these rules because they are governmentwide require- ments and because they relate to security, an area where unions have limited bargaining rights. Employees with access to Sensitive Compartmen- talized Information have additional reporting require- ments beyond those required of other employees. State Department employees should reference the chart found in 12 FAM 276 for a complete list of what needs to be reported. For more specific information, refer to 12 FAM 270 (and to 12 FAM 260, as applicable). USAID: USAID’s Security Office is currently updating its guidance, which, we are told, will correspond more closely with State Depart- ment requirements. In the meantime, USAID employees should refer to the Dec. 26, 2019, and March 22, 2021, agency notices on SEAD-3 reporting requirements. FCS: Employees should refer to the Feb. 9, 2021, Broadcast Department of Commerce notice, which pro- vides DOC Office of Security guidance on implementation of reporting requirements and continuous evaluation. FAS and APHIS: We have been advised that USDA has not developed separate SEAD-3 guidance but is pre- paring “rules of behavior” for employees posted overseas that will address personal travel reporting and passport use requirements. We have requested that FAS share this draft with us for review. USAGM: We have been advised that USAGM is currently reviewing SEAD-3 requirements. State Department employ- ees with questions should contact DSDirectorPSS@ for further informa- tion. Employees from other foreign affairs agencies should contact their security offices. AFSA is updating our security reporting guid- ance, which is available to members on our webpage, to reflect these changes. For more information, contact n Under the new rules, employees must promptly report new relationships with foreign nationals, regardless of the country, when certain criteria are reached.