The U.S. Postal Service is obligated to maintain the security of the mail and preserve the public’s trust. It must also uphold public confidence in the reliability and integrity of all Postal Service personnel, including contract drivers who handle and transport mail. The security clearance process is designed to prevent ineligible or unsuitable applicants from having access to the mail, Postal Service assets, and facilities.
Postal Service policy requires contract drivers to obtain non-sensitive security clearances, which the Postal Inspection Service Security Investigations Service Center must renew every 4 years. In fiscal year 2013, this group received 17,892 security clearance applications for contract drivers. Contracting officers designate administrative officials to obtain clearance documents from contract drivers, submit them to the Postal Inspection Service, and ensure that drivers have the appropriate clearance.
Our objectives were to determine whether Postal Service officials issued security clearances to contract drivers in accordance with policy, and assess controls over the contract driver security clearance process.
What The OIG Found
Postal Service personnel, including contract drivers, did not always comply with security clearance requirements, and controls over the process were not adequate. Based on our nationwide projection, 4,502 (31 percent) of at least 14,524 contract drivers did not have a valid security clearance. Of the 4,502 contract drivers, security clearances for 2,566 (57 percent) had expired.
This occurred because management did not have sufficient controls in place to track and monitor clearances for contract drivers. In addition, management did not sufficiently oversee or otherwise ensure responsible personnel, including contract drivers, complied with clearance requirements. Further, management did not properly train personnel to obtain screening information from contract drivers. As a result, there are increased safety and security risks to the public, mail, and assets, which could negatively impact the Postal Service’s brand.
What The OIG Recommended
We recommended management establish formal procedures to track and monitor security clearances and notify appropriate personnel when clearances are not renewed. We also recommended management establish mandatory training requirements and a formal oversight process for contracting officers to validate contract drivers have security clearances when renewing contracts