MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Editor’s note: This is the final article of a four-part series on Protecting MCLB.
Secrets are meant to be kept, and it is the base security manager’s job to ensure that Marine Corps’ documents, personnel information and military assets do not fall into the wrong hands - or eyes.
“Marines, civilian employees and contractors must be trusted to work on the base and the position the individual holds will determine the level of access (he or she has) to classified information,” said George Wolski, base security manager, Public Safety Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. “The determination is driven by the position description for DoD (Department of Defense) employees and the statement of work for contractors. Some positions require the handling of sensitive information such as social security numbers, personnel files and certain background information.”
Wolski said his office serves personnel assigned to the base-side only, and one of his primary duties is processing questionnaires for access to the DoD computer systems or for security clearances.
“Certain jobs require access to confidential, secret or top secret information. We help employees prepare the necessary paperwork and forward it to the Department of the Navy for adjudication,” he said. “We also ensure people who require clearances, keep them updated. They have to re-apply periodically, depending on their level of access or clearance.”
Wolski said the questionnaires can be quite detailed and include background checks on arrests, violations, previous employers, schools, neighbors and credit reports. This status is entered into the Joint Personnel Adjudication System to determine the level of security clearance.
According to the Web site, http://www.dss.mil/diss/jpas, JPAS is a personnel security migration system that uses a centralized database to process standardized DoD personnel security eligibility.
“Regardless of the level of clearances, everyone must be fingerprinted. If any problems come up during the process, we interview personnel to determine the best way to help them answer additional questions or clear credit and other problems up,” he said. “When personnel need access to computers, both secure and non-secure, those forms come through this office to see what type of clearances they have and the process for basic computer access if faster.”
Wolski noted his office rarely handles top secret clearances for base personnel and only a small percentage of the workforce has them. Marine Corps Logistics Command has its own base security manager and they have a larger number of employees who require top secret clearances because of more sensitive missions.
“We have to conduct police background checks on contractors and base personnel through the Georgia Crime Information Center,” he said. “In most cases, the employee will receive a temporary clearance until the complete check is adjudicated by DON. Each clearance is assigned an investigator who is responsible for conducting the necessary checks.”
Wolski said new hires go through a welcome aboard briefing and human resources office staff explains to them all the requirements for employment.
“The employee will then come to this office, and depending on the type of clearance (he or she needs), we will give them temporary computer access link to complete the questionnaire, which can take several hours,” he said.
Base security officials stated that for secret security clearances, complete background checks will go back seven years and for top secret clearances, 10 years. In most cases, the employee will receive a temporary clearance until the complete check is adjudicated by DON.
“The base security manager is vital to the installation’s overall security and is responsible for ensuring that appropriate individuals have access to classified material, computer systems and access to the base,” said William McNulty, director, PSD. “Base security also conducts background checks on all contractors who come aboard the base, further enhancing the safety and security of base personnel.”