Suitability

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.

Related Authorities

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:

  • 5 CFR Part 752 - Adverse Actions
  • 5 CFR Part 315 - Career and Career-Conditional Employment
  • 5 CFR Part 359 - Removal from the Senior Executive Service; Guaranteed Placement in Other Personnel Systems

Executive Orders affecting Suitability:

  • Executive Order 13467 of July 2, 2008- Reforming Processes Related to Suitability for Government Employment, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to Classified National Security Information
  • Executive Order 13488 of January 16, 2009- Granting Reciprocity on Excepted Service and Federal Contractor Employee Fitness and Reinvestigating Individuals in Positions of Public Trust
  • Executive Order 10450 – Security requirements for Government employment
  • Executive Order 13467 of July 2, 2008- Reforming Processes Related to Suitability for Government Employment, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to Classified National Security Information
  • Executive Order 13488 of January 16, 2009- Granting Reciprocity on Excepted Service and Federal Contractor Employee Fitness and Reinvestigating Individuals in Positions of Public Trust
  • Executive Order 10450 – Security requirements for Government employment

Case Law

To view the list of Case Law, please click here

Policy and Guides

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

DoD Instruction
Suitability and Fitness Adjudication for Civilian Employees

DOD Issued Memorandums

  • Implementation of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations Part 1400, Designation of National Security Positions in the Competitive Service, and Related Matters
  • ​Responsibilities under the Department of Defense Suitability and Fitness Adjudications for Civilian Employees Programs
  • Implementation of the Central Verification System (CVS) within DOD for Suitability Reciprocity
  • Alignment of Department of Defense Suitability Investigation Request with OPM Investigation Request with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Investigative Products
  • Department of Defense Implementation of Change to 5 CFR 731 Suitability Reinvestigation Requirements Effective December 9, 2011
  • Discontinuation of Automatic Credit Check with National Agency Check with Written Inquires Investigations (NACI)
  • ​Employee Support for Maintaining Eligibility for National Security Positions
  • ​Department of Defense (DOD) Implementation and Transition to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP)
  • ​Implementation of the Employment Eligibility Verification (E-Verify) Program
  • ​Implementation of the Position Designation Automated Tool
  • Department of Defense (DOD) Standardized Investigation Request Procedures
  • ​Department of Defense (DOD) Central Adjudications Facilities (CAF) Consolidation
  • ​Department of Defense (DOD) Suitability Guides for Employees and Supervisors
  • Streamlining Hiring Suitability Determinations

Reference Guides

  • Changes to 5 CFR 731 Suitability Reinvestigation Requirements Effective December 9, 2011
  • The Suitability Guide for Employees
  • The Suitability Guide for Supervisors
  • Guidance on Implementing Executive Order 13488, "Granting Reciprocity on Excepted Service and Federal Contractor Employee Fitness and Reinvestigating Individuals in Positions of Public Trust"

Tools and Resources

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)

  • Suitability Referrals Chart
  • Suitability Adjudication versus Security Adjudication
  • DOD Standard Forms and Investigative Requirements

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