OPM’s E-Clearance meets its goals

OPM’s E-Clearance meets its goals

The Office of Personnel Management this month completed the final module of its E-Clearance project that automates the standard security clearance form, known as SF-86. That makes it one of the first Quicksilver initiatives to meet all its original goals.

Norm Enger, OPM’s e-government project director, said agencies must sign a memorandum of understanding with OPM to use the system, and then employees must obtain passwords from their human resources managers to fill out their security clearance forms online.

OPM hired a contractor to build the custom Web system that resides on an OPM server. Agencies and employees can access it from a Web browser.

“The online form has the same basic information as the paper form, but it will save employees and investigators a substantial amount of time,” Enger said yesterday. “It will ensure that forms are readable and filled out completely because the system will not accept them with missing data. Employees can start filling out the form and save it to work on later, and there are online help functions to answer standard questions.”

Once a form is completed, it goes to the requesting agency electronically and is passed on to the investigating agent.

Enger said employees who need to update their clearances or move between agencies can use their existing forms to fill out new ones. The capability exists now, but an employee first must fill out the form online and store it in OPM’s clearance database in order to refer back to it later.

E-Clearance, one of five e-government projects OPM is managing, deployed two other modules in the last 12 months. In June 2002, it launched e-Quip, an electronic questionnaire for investigations processing. The second piece linked the Defense Department personnel system to OPM’s system in January.

By putting the SF-86 online, OPM has completed the project’s three original goals. Enger said OPM estimates E-Clearance will save the government $258 million over the next 10 years by loosening the bottleneck of processing paper forms and cutting down on personnel time.

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