Congress Aims to Cut Investigation Backlog to 300,000 by Next Spring
In the continuing security clearance reform saga, the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on coming to an agreement on the final version of a bill first introduced in last March that is aimed at reducing the background investigation backlog. The previous version of the bill stalled in the senate during a June vote. If the proposed current version of the bill is passed, one of the major provisions in it would require 90 percent of ‘Secret” clearance investigations be processed within 30 days and 90 percent of “Top Secret” clearance investigations be processed within 90 days. Another of the bill’s major provisions would require NBIB/DoD to whittle down the current 600,000+ backlog of investigations to around 200,000 by the end of next year.
All of this comes amid plans to shift the majority of the investigation responsibilities over from the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to the Department of Defense (DoD). Both agencies are preparing the transfer ahead of an executive order by the Trump administration that is in the works. In an August 2018 interview current NBIB Director, Charles Phalen, said he supports the decision for the complete shift of investigative responsibilities to the Pentagon, as it would aid in the goal of being “one team, no speedbumps.”
In another part of the reform process, the Defense Security Service is in the middle of the process of moving clearance and investigation data from the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) over to the Defense Information System for Security (DISS). Once fully deployed, DISS will serve as the system of record to perform comprehensive personnel security, suitability and credential eligibility management for all military, civilian, and DOD contractor personnel. DISS provides secure communications between Adjudicators, Security Officers and Component Adjudicators in support of eligibility and access management.