DOD adjusts its plans on hiring foreign workers

DOD adjusts its plans on hiring foreign workers

The Defense Department has rethought plans to disqualify foreign nationals from jobs that include handling unclassified but sensitive IT.

If would-be workers pass background investigations and get letters of approval from the agency chiefs seeking to employ them, the department will allow the hires to proceed, senior DOD managers said.

Defense agency chiefs are encouraged to hire U.S. citizens first for sensitive IT positions, said Pete Nelson, DOD?s deputy director for personnel security. Foreign nationals can still work on systems within DOD provided they are ?properly vetted for the material to which they have access,? he said.

When DOD issued its no-foreigners proposal in March, some industry officials expressed concern that the rule would call for foreign employees to be removed from positions in which they would handle sensitive but unclassified information. Such data includes personnel data and information on weapons systems.

?There is no per se rule to disqualify foreign nationals other than to encourage use of U.S. citizens in [sensitive but unclassified] positions, but that is ultimately up to the system owner or agency head,? Nelson said.

He said DOD would require U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals to pass background investigations to gain access to secure data.

It is still unclear how many contractors would be affected by the proposal.

DOD expects to issue a final policy by September.

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