New standards for background investigations

President Bush has established a new council and two new positions to create governmentwide standards for checking the backgrounds of government employees and contractors.

An executive order issued June 30 established the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council. The council will review procedures for investigating and ruling on whether a person should be allowed access to sensitive information or federally controlled buildings. The goal is to standardize those procedures governmentwide, the order states.

The council will also establish requirements for an information technology infrastructure that can help agencies with background checks and will oversee development of that infrastructure, the order states.

In addition, the council will make sure agencies apply uniform standards and share best practices with one another while setting annual performance goals, the order states.

The deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget will lead the council and choose its members.

The president also established two new positions: the suitability executive agent and the security executive agent.

The director of the Office of Personnel Management will serve as the suitability agent and be responsible for developing and applying consistent procedures related to investigating employees’ or contractors’ backgrounds, the order states.

The director of national intelligence will serve as the security agent and oversee investigations into individuals’ eligibility for taking on sensitive positions in government, while ensuring consistent standards governmentwide, the order states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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