Background Investigations

DCSA Reports Improvements in Security Clearance Processing

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) published the latest numbers for national security background investigation processing timeliness and showed a slight improvement from the last report released by the Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council (PAC) back in December 2019. According to DCSA, the average time to complete a Top Secret investigation is currently down to 79 days from a high of 411 days, meeting timeliness goals for the first time since June 2014. Timeliness for Secret investigations decreased from 173 days to 56 days. The investigation inventory stands at 205,000, which DCSA claims is their “steady state” capability. Understandably, the COVID-19 situation caused a slight increase in inventory due to challenges imposed by remote processing for applicants.

The report also acknowledged other PAC reform goals were off track and at risk in meeting the timelines for implementation. These goals related specifically to devising a shared repository of background investigation, adjudication, and security clearance information accessible by both DoD and other government agencies, thereby allowing security professionals to make faster verifications and reciprocity determinations on existing investigations. Currently the DoD doesn’t have access to the Central Verification System (CVS) used by most other Federal agencies. Other areas of security clearance reform behind schedule include guidance on standards for the denial or revocation of Federal credentials and guidance on standards for information sharing requirements for the Trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative. Bottom line up front, reform efforts seem to be working and clearance end to end processing is getting better.

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