Streamlining Reciprocity of Clearances Still Lagging
Despite major gains in other areas of security clearance reform, reciprocity acceptance is still a sticking point for clearance holders moving from one agency to another. As recently as a few years ago it took the DoD 65-90 days to review and make reciprocity decisions. Last month the DoD reportedly averaged six days for reciprocity acceptance, and are now down to three days. Keep in mind, these numbers are just for the DoD and don’t include other Federal agencies like the State Department, Homeland Security, or Health and Human Services. Reciprocity delays are affecting the industrial security world’s ability to fill positions needed for government contracts. Companies like SAIC, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booze Allen Hamilton have thousands of people waiting for a reciprocity decision in order to fill cleared contractor positions. As an example, Booze Allen Hamilton reported requesting 4.400 reciprocity decisions annually.
The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency is still working on fixing some bugs in the National Background Investigations Service (NBIS), the IT system that will house investigation and clearance information across all agencies. Once up and running it will allow instant visibility for security professionals and make acceptance of reciprocity a lot easier. NBIS will streamline processes and allow employees and contractors to move seamlessly between agencies and contracts. When the day comes where reciprocity can be almost instantaneous I am sure there will be a whole lot of celebratory hootin’ and hollering from cleared industry contractors and security professionals alike.