OMB: Agencies will reduce security clearance delays
- By Mary Mosquera
- Dec 19, 2008
Agencies have decreased the time it takes to conduct security
clearances for hiring federal employees and contractors as a result of
using more investigators and adjudicators and increased accountability
for performance, the Office of Management and Budget said in a report
Clay Johnson, OMB's deputy director for
management, said he anticipated the government would meet its goal of
60 days for clearances by December 2009. In 2005, security clearances
took an average of 265 days, he said.
The report updates
proposals made in April by the Joint Security and Suitability Reform
Team, he said. In addition to OMB, the team includes the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence, Defense Department and Office of
The team has developed plans and a
timeline to modernize the security clearance process that includes a
more automated system to decrease the work done manually, integrate
additional data sources and policy reforms to increase its
accountability and efficiency, he said.
The team has
established a Suitability and Security Clearance Performance
Accountability Council designed to provide a governance structure for
the clearance reform effort and drive its implementation across
agencies, Johnson said. The council plans to discuss issues related to
advancing reciprocity, in which agencies accept clearance
determinations from other agencies, and when to require
re-investigations of federal employees in select public-trust
positions, he said.
The team developed a strategy to use
existing federal systems and applications and modify them to create a
framework that would allow for faster implementation, align information
technology modernization plans with the transformed process, and use
components to reduce duplication, he said.
An executive order
signed in June also changes some ground rules and standards agencies
use to perform background investigations, the report said.
of the reforms would be operational across the government by the end of
calendar 2010, with plans to begin phased implementation in 2009,
The report said the anticipated milestones in 2009 include:
• Implementing an online platform to increase accessibility to intelligence community records to expand reciprocity.
Deploying a revised Enhanced Electronic Questionnaires for
Investigations Processing system to be more interactive and collect
more data earlier in the process.
• Beginning to field automated record checks of government and commercial databases and finalize implementation strategy.
• Phasing in using electronic adjudication for determination cases that have no issues.
Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.