Background Investigations

NBIB’s First Announcement: Clearance Investigation Costs Will Rise


Last month I wrote about the lack of information coming out of OPM about the new National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) regarding the details of when they will take over conducting background investigations from OPM’s Federal Investigation Services. Lo and behold, in a story posted this week on Federal News Radio, Jim Onusko, NBIB’s transition leader, made his first announcement: the costs of investigations will go up for the next few years! Surprised?

No details were provided as to what investigative products causes the prices to go up, only that the NBIB will award a contractor to support investigations to help reduce the huge backlog of periodic reinvestigations that was a result of USIS getting canned, the OPM security breach, and reinvestigation timelines changed from 10 years to 5 years for Secret clearance holders. Onusko infers that increasing the costs of investigations will allow the NBIB to hire more investigative service providers which will decrease the time it takes to get the finished product. He also stated that the prices will reflect recent and future changes to federal investigative standards.

In my mind, the whole transition process in standing up the NBIB has been less than stellar and lacking in transparency. Despite two inquiries from Senate members asking OPM to provide some details of the transition plan, the lack of information or communication has continued. Meanwhile, the security clearance process is bogged down, investigators are getting burnt out, and applicants are having to find other employment opportunities because they cannot get even an interim security clearance in a reasonable amount of time. Stay tuned…………

Comment Archive

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    LOL! Oh boy. It’s funny how when the cost of investigations go up, contractor investigators get poorer. OPM NBIB will want to compensate for the higher costs by placing even more time-consuming, quality-reducing new requirements on investigations. Maybe increase the ESI requirements or break it up into two separate PRSIs? E.g., IESI and FESI (initial and final ESIs). The possibilities are as limitless as the stupidity of bureaucrats.

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    I read that NBIB is inheriting a backlog of 500,000 cases.

    In 2004, the backlog was 188,000 cases.

    The next few years should be fun.

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    OPM did this to themselves. Blamed USIS for the security breach when we know this wasn’t the reason for the security breach when this infiltration into the IT network had been going on since as early as 2012. USIS was just collateral damage and now that their major contractor that did nearly 60% of all the work has been gone for two years, OPM gets to sleep in the bed that they made. Add to the fact that they continue to complicate and add tiered Investogations and triggers for everything under the sun and you have a complicated, bureaucratic mess going on right now with this BI process.

    I don’t see this backlog ever get any better unless OPM brings on an additional 3 to 4 contractors on board along with the two existing contractors, KGS and CACI

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    @Joe Hackett

    They need to figure out a system which doesn’t let the whole private side devolve into a greed-based MO. They also need to create a separate independent federal board to oversee both federal and private security clearance investigations and develop and enforce a set of standards which apply equally to both federal and private investigators doing security clearance investigations. This ensures the latter have a modicum of non-union job security which allows them to invest more of themselves in the job rather than looking or hoping for another one (which is about 95+% of private-side investigators these days).