Electronic Fingerprint Mandate
As of December 13, 2013 all agencies have transitioned to electronic capture and submission of a full set of fingerprints in support of all background investigations. This requirement extends to contractors cleared under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). With an only an estimated 11% of current NISP contracts using electronic submissions, we thought we would cover some basic Q&As that come with the new mandate. Here are some questions/answers we found on the Department of Defense website:
Why is this change being mandated?
Manually capturing and submitting fingerprints is time consuming and prone to errors. The intent is to utilize automated electronic fingerprint devices to speed capture, submission, and processing time.
How can a cleared company know what specific equipment to purchase?
The FBI maintains a list of products certified as tested and in compliance with the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiatives and Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) Image Quality Specifications (IQS). There are approximately 500 products on this list, which is available on the FBI website: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/iafis/cert.htm.
What is required for a contractor to make the transition?
The only option available at the current time is for a cleared facility to purchase equipment and use the existing Secure Web Fingerprint Transmission (SWFT) program.
What is SWFT?
SWFT is a web-based program that provides industry users the ability to securely transmit records directly from their records management systems to SWFT via secure web services. The process allows fingerprint images to be captured electronically, uploaded to the server where they are stored temporarily, and then released from the SWFT system to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
How does the electronic capture of fingerprints speed the investigative process?
From November 2010 to February 2011, OPM rejected approximately 3,160 investigative cases submitted by DISCO. Of those, 67 percent (2,115) were due to problems related to the fingerprint files. This equates to rejection of approximately 530 cases a month or roughly 6,340 cases a year due to fingerprint issues. OPM rejects cases when the fingerprints are unusable, such as a smudged or smeared print, too much or too little ink on the ink pad, etc.
Please pay close attention to the 5 options listed which detail specific alternatives to comply. These options are as follows:
1. Company Purchases Equipment (highest cost option to the company but most convenient for larger companies)
2. Company Sharing Resources (companies split cost of equipment purchase and share use of the machine)
3. Company(s) Offering Service (smaller company can use larger company’s previously purchased equipment, nominal fee may be associated with service)
4. Third Party Vendor Provides Electronic Fingerprint File (FBI Channelers used as a 3rd party vendor provide EFT file to company to transmit to OPM through SWFT, nominal fee may be associated with service)
5. Other Government Entities (companies can use military services and other government NISP agencies to capture and/or submit EFT file)
If you have additional questions, I encourage you to visit the Department of Defense website or contact me for additional information.
Security First & Associates LLC