Knowledgebase: Membership
Why does the Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) program exist and why is it so burdensome?
Posted by on 05 November 2011 04:45 PM
In 2003, the Commandant mandated that all Auxiliarists undergo a Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) as criteria for enrollment in the Auxiliary. The reasons for this mandate centered on:

1. The Coast Guard‘s new and sensitive post-9/11 missions.

2. The Coast Guard‘s higher focus on security of all of its workforce elements.

3. Increased Auxiliary augmentation of Coast Guard units and billets.

4. Increased Auxiliary visibility to the public, the Coast Guard, and other DHS agencies.

5. Increased reliance on Auxiliarists to act as trusted agents of the Federal government.

The Auxiliary PSI program was established as a requirement to assess the suitability of individuals for membership in the Auxiliary (Source:  AUXMAN Chapter 3, Section C).

Executive Order 12968 established standard investigative guidelines, which were approved by the President for use by all government agencies. Executive Order 12968, and the Coast Guard’s increased role in the Department of Homeland Security, called for additional security measures. The Coast Guard, in a proactive move, mandated a new personnel security policy that required all Auxiliarists to undergo appropriate background security checks in accordance with the Coast Guard’s Physical Security and Force Protection Program (Commandant Instruction M5530.1C). This initiative paralleled the long-standing requirements followed by the Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol.

To facilitate this Physical Security and Force Protection Program while mitigating impacts on operations, the Coast Guard created two categories of Auxiliary participation, “Direct Operations” and “Operational Support”. Auxiliarists participating in “Direct Operations”, which involve certain activities, must submit the documentation needed to complete a background check equivalent to that required to be eligible for a Secret clearance. Auxiliarists involved exclusively in “Operational Support” must only undergo the less extensive fingerprint check to verify data provided on the Auxiliary enrollment application form. This information is channeled to the Coast Guard Security Center for routine investigation and tracking as is accomplished for all members of Coast Guard Forces. Please understand that the SF-86 process is not based on status, (Active, Reserve, Auxiliary); but on potential exposure to sensitive operations or information.

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