Another GAO Report on Clearance Reform
PERSONNEL SECURITY CLEARANCES: An Outcome-Focused Strategy Is Needed to Guide Implementation of the Reformed Clearance Process (GAO-09-488), May 2009:
The security clearance reform process has already been underway for several years, and various agencies involved have created and revised several plans for improvement. Although the high-level leadership and governance structure of the current reform effort distinguish it from previous efforts, without a strategic framework that fully addresses the long-standing security clearance problems and incorporates key practices for transformation including the ability to demonstrate progress leading to desired results the effort is at risk of losing momentum and not being fully implemented.
The GAO report made several recommendations for establishing a strategic framework for the joint reform effort, including clearer goals, outcome-focused performance measures, formal communications strategy, further definition of roles and responsibilities for implementation of IT strategy, and determining funding requirements.
Somewhat disturbing was the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) response to the draft version of GAO-09-488:
OPM believes that it is important not to conflate the suitability and security clearance processes. Nonetheless, it recognizes that there are areas of commonality between the two and agrees that both processes should be administered efficiently and aligned where appropriate. The means by which these goals are accomplished, however ”whether through the governance structure established by Executive Order 13467 (and studied by the GAO) or in some other fashion”is currently under review by the new Administration, as are the reform initiatives discussed in the draft report. This review may result in a new governance structure and/or new goals and standards. For that reason, while the critiques discussed in GAO’s report will certainly merit consideration going forward, I do not believe that it would be productive at this time to address with greater specificity the concerns it expresses about the past management of the reform process.
A new governance structure and/or new goals and standards?