Security Clearance Process

Progress Made in Security Clearance Reform Measures

The Security Clearance, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council (PAC) recently released an update on progress for security clearance and background investigation reforms and the status on future measures already in the works. The presentation outlined the PAC’s major goals: Developing a Trusted Workforce; Modernizing Policies and Processes; Securing and Modernizing IT Capabilities; and Establishing Continuous Performance Improvement. Within these four goals are strategies that include seventeen initiatives approved to reduce & mitigate the background investigation backlog. Some examples of these reform strategies are:

–       Guidance for temporary (interim) authorizations and pre-appointment waiver determinations, expanding the use of video teleconference technology and telephonic reference interviews, clarifying some requirements in the Federal Investigative Standards to improve efficiencies, and expediting the deployment of the newly approved SF-85P

–       The DoD’s Continuous Evaluation (CE) program expanded its covered population to 1.1 million personnel. Since attaining Authorization to Operate (ATO), the ODNI CE system has now expanded to provide limited CE services to four agencies.

–       NBIB stood up a new Federal government-wide liaison office to work with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to increase background investigators’ access to criminal history information maintained by those agencies. The Law Enforcement Liaison Office (LELO) is also working with non-Federal law enforcement agencies to improve integration of federal, state, and local systems for sharing criminal history record information. Electronic receipt of criminal histories eliminates relying on manpower-intensive field work to collect those records by hand, increasing efficiencies and lowering costs.

–       Electronic Adjudication shared service coverage expanded to 90% of Tier 3 cases increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the process by using electronic business rules to adjudicate cases. As of December 2017, seven agencies have subscribed, representing over 90% of the Tier 3 cases and approximately 14% of these Tier 3 cases are electronic adjudicated without any manual processes. NBIB is currently establishing the agreements necessary to enroll an additional dozen departments and agencies, and subscriptions are anticipated to grow over the course of FY2018. In December 2017, OMB approved the updated SF-85P (Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions). Once the SF-85P is implemented within the electronic application system, eAdjudication business rules will be expanded to cover Tier 2 investigations.

With milestones for future policies and process changes on track and additional background investigators on the street, it does seem like the PAC is moving in the right direction and are making a dent in the backlog. However, there is still quite a long way to go with a potentially rocky road still ahead with DoD getting ready to reassume control of the investigations for their population. Stay tuned……