Security Clearance Process

Security Clearance Process is Back on GAO’s “High Risk List”

Back in 2005 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) put the government-wide security clearance process on its “High Risk” list of federal areas in need of a desperate overhaul. It stayed on the list until 2011. Last week the GAO, foregoing the wait on its regularly scheduled update in early 2019, added the security clearance process back on list. The decision was made due to challenges identified in two recent reports on the personnel security clearance process, as well as delays in implementation of proposed reforms by OPM/NBIB and DoD.

In a recent GAO press release U.S. Comptroller General Gene  Dodaro said  “it was important to call attention to the challenges of the government-wide personnel security clearance process now. A high-quality and timely personnel security clearance process is essential to minimize the risks of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to help ensure that information about individuals with criminal histories or other questionable behavior is identified and assessed.”

Although this may seem like “old hat” for many of us who have been in the clearance world since the 1980s, it is still amazing how these cycles tend to come and go with no real progress being made. That being said, in the last 4 months I have noticed a quicker turnaround time on Tier 3 investigations for Secret clearances and Tier 1s for CAC and PIV credentialing are getting closed in as little as 6-8 weeks. Now if only we could get the Tier 5 investigations moving in a reasonable amount of time the ship might get righted and back on course.


  1. Probably should have never been taken off the list.