State, OPM team on clearance processing

The State Department and the Office of Personnel Management have combined their strengths to process security clearances for employees at overseas Defense Department installations, according to a joint agency announcement.

Beginning Dec. 6, State will run an investigative program in foreign countries, led by investigators based at U.S. embassies and consulates. The investigators will conduct OPM background checks on DOD facilities, and OPM will pay State for the work.

The combination will make the clearance-approval process faster and more cost-effective, according to the agencies.

Donald Reid, senior coordinator for security infrastructure at State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and Kathy Dillaman, associate director of OPM's Federal Investigative Services Division, are the program's architects.

A major component of the program is hiring the spouses of officials and federal officials stationed abroad to be investigators. State hired 18 spouses who have investigative experience, doctoral or graduate degrees, or other qualifications, said James Onusko, State's director of personnel security.

The agencies are working together on a customized training course specifically for the new investigators. For this program, 16 special investigators graduated from a two-week, OPM-accredited training program at the agency’s training facility in Boyers, Pa., and were awarded credentials to conduct investigations at DOD facilities in England, Germany, Japan and Korea. The remaining two candidates already had the necessary training, according to the agencies.

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