Background Investigations

NBIB Transition Team Finally Offers Hard Details and Numbers


We are less than two weeks away from OPM’s self-imposed deadline for the NBIB to take over the federal background investigation process and there was a vacuum of any detailed information about how it was going to operate. Finally, as noted in an article posted on Federal News Radio a few days ago, transition leader Jim Onusko provided some insight into the process. The NBIB apparently has a new business process model that is incorporated eight new key functions that are supposed to help current processes become more effective and efficient. An example cited by Onusko was the creation of an SES position to oversee the automation and digitization of investigative processes for the Federal Investigative Records Enterprise (FIRE).

As far as numbers are concerned, the article mentions that the NBIB, in order to address the 500,000+ case backlog, is hiring 600 new investigators between FY 2016 and FY 2017. In the meantime, OPM has been working short-term fixes by rehiring retired background investigators and authorizing current ones overtime pay. Latest reports on timelines for initial investigations for “Secret” level clearances has them at 105 days to complete and 214 days for “Top Secret”.  This does not include the adjudication process, just the investigation itself. Taking everything with a grain of salt and being optimistic, there appears to be some daylight at the end of the tunnel, although there is still a long way to go. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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    FIRE, that’s a rather inauspicious acronym.