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CHIPS Articles: DONCAF Reduces SSN Use

DONCAF Reduces SSN Use
By Steve Muck - January-March 2011
The Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility (DONCAF), a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) organization, is responsible for determining who within the Department of the Navy is eligible to hold a security clearance, have access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), and be assigned to sensitive duties.

DON personnel consist of active duty and Reserve components of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, as well as civilians and contractors. DONCAF makes SCI eligibility determinations for select contractor personnel.

DONCAF also maintains an extensive database of its security decisions and provides overall operational support to the Navy's personnel security program.

Adjudication is the review and consideration of all available information to ensure an individual's loyalty, reliability and trustworthiness are such that entrusting an individual with national security information or assigning an individual to sensitive duties is clearly in the best interest of national security. DONCAF's mission is to provide excellent customer service, and accurate and timely adjudication. DONCAF implements innovative strategies for the DON Personnel Security Program.

A recent breach of personally identifiable information resulted when an adjudication package containing an individual's PII was lost in the mail. Considering the amount of PII that is commonly found in these packages, the DONCAF organization reviewed its procedures and came up with a new policy which either eliminates the Social Security number from correspondence or greatly mitigates the risk of a breach of PII by using only the last four digits of the SSN. The DONCAF policy is shown below.


  1. Effective immediately, this applies to everyone and supersedes any previously disseminated guidance. In accordance with the Under Secretary of Defense memorandum of March 28, 2008, "DoD Social Security Number (SSN) Reduction Plan": "Due to recent Privacy Act concerns and potential compromises, a subject's full Social Security number (SSN) will not be included on any correspondence, including shell letters and forms. Only the last four digits of the subject's SSN will be included in all outgoing correspondence. Whenever feasible, the subject's case identification number will be used as the subject identifier for internal correspondence."
  2. The following format for all external correspondence should be used: XXX-XX-1234.
  3. All current shell and form letter variables have been updated to accommodate this change.
  4. These changes are approved by Director, DONCAF and will be incorporated throughout the next revision of the SOP (standard operating procedure).

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