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CHIPS Articles: BUPERS/NPC — Setting the Privacy Bar High

BUPERS/NPC — Setting the Privacy Bar High
By Steve Daughety and Kathy Eisenhour - July-September 2014
The Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)/Navy Personnel Command (NPC) is responsible for handling a large volume of personally identifiable information (PII) in the daily processing of personnel transactions supporting all Navy uniformed members. It is the responsibility of every employee to protect the personal information of our enlisted and officer personnel. Protecting this information is paramount to the BUPERS/NPC mission.

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, Commander, Navy Personnel Command transferred responsibility for the privacy program from NPC to the BUPERS Information Management Office (IMO). The BUPERS command information officer (CIO) established a dedicated privacy office and lead dedicated to the protection of personnel information. The privacy lead established a network of privacy advocates from each code which became known as the "Privacy Cadre." The primary goal of the Privacy Cadre is to raise awareness, educate and prevent the compromise of PII.

Over time the Privacy Cadre evolved from a few non-connected individuals to a coordinated team of 19 members across BUPERS/NPC. They were further educated on PII awareness and privacy policy. A key element of the plan to develop a cadre was commercial certification as a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) awarded by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). The purpose of the commercial certification is twofold; first to educate and adopt commercial best practices for use within BUPERS; and secondly to motivate and spur participation by personnel from across BUPERS/NPC by offering the opportunity to add this commercial certification to their resume.

Volunteers were enlisted across the organization. By the end of 2013, the number of members had grown to more than 40. Each member is trained on privacy policy, safeguarding PII and the prevention and reporting of PII breaches. Each volunteer is officially designated as a member of the Privacy Cadre. They educate their personnel about the importance of protecting PII; they conduct mandatory semi-annual spot checks; and, report breaches to the BUPERS PII Coordinator.

Awareness within BUPERS has risen significantly since the establishment of the Privacy Cadre and as a direct result, the breadth of privacy knowledge and awareness continues to increase. BUPERS is one of several Department of the Navy organizations leading the way in privacy protection. In addition, BUPERS has aggressively pursued reducing the use of the Social Security number in official Navy forms and in IT systems wherever possible. Specific examples have been highlighted in previous CHIPS articles. The Privacy Cadre is now focused on reducing the use of the SSN in memoranda, spreadsheets and other various processes. This effort is led by the BUPERS PII Coordinator, Ms. Kathy Eisenhour, who continues to be instrumental to the success of this program.

Additional privacy resources can be found on the DON CIO website at www.doncio.navy.mil/privacy.

Steve Daughety is the privacy lead for the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer.

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