FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Contains Proposals to Expedite the Clearance Process
The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House and currently pending Senate approval contains a few sections pertaining to improving and expediting the process by security clearance processes. The House Armed Services Committee (ASC) noted that while some progress has been made by the National Background Investigations Bureau, the security clearance backlog continues to hinder the Federal Government and the national security industrial base from hiring otherwise qualified personnel, particularly qualified linguists, engineers, computer scientists, and cyber professionals, who find jobs elsewhere while their security clearance review takes months to complete.
The ASC has directed the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing by December 1, 2017 on what efforts will be made to shorten the security clearance review process. Proposed potential time-savers include using the Standard Form 86 in lieu of Standard Form 85 for low risk non-sensitive investigations, which would allow industry to provide certified initial background materials, reducing the number of contractors who require a clearance, returning to interim secret clearances for low-risk hires, standardizing the process to allow civilians and contractors to move to new jobs within an agency without a lengthy wait for an additional security review, and standardizing adjudication measures.
The proposed NDA also includes providing the Department of Defense with the authority to approve facility clearances for a company in the event its senior management official does not have a security clearance at the level of the facility clearance, if a company designates an official with the appropriate clearance to act as the senior management official for the purposes of the facility clearance.