The Office of Management and Budget are pushing forward with a modernized security clearance process plan that will include continuous evaluation of federal employees and contracts after they've gained security clearance, said OMB Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert.
On Oct. 1, at the start of fiscal 2014, the number of federal personnel deemed eligible for security clearances topped 5.1 million. The number of individual deemed eligible has risen during each of the past two years. Even though the number of cleared contractors has dropped, the growth among federal employees has more than made up for it.
The Defense Department will implement continuous and random background checks of people who hold security clearance in the wake of reports released Tuesday that said Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was able to keep his clearance despite troubling behavior throughout his career.
A Defense Department review showed the Washington Navy Yard shooting could have been prevented had Navy commanders and Aaron Alexis's employer reported his various misconducts.
A Nov. 18 statement of administration policy (.pdf) asks the Senate not to make changes to the security clearance process until the Office of Management and Budget completes its ongoing review. OMB's findings may lead to recommendations that conflict with the Senate Armed Services Committee's proposal.
The revolving account used to finance the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Investigative Service security clearance investigation has never been audited and there is no governmentwide guidance on what constitutes a proper security clearance check, agency officials said in a June 20 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and the federal workforce hearing.
The Justice Department doesn't meet the statutory goal of completing at least 90 percent of its contractor security clearances within 60 days--mostly due to lengthy processing times at the FBI, says the DOJ office of inspector general.
The Navy says it will immediately start taking cost-savings measures, such as layoffs, furloughs and deferred maintenance and deployments, now that sequestration has become law. The service says "these actions are being taken to preserve support for those forces stationed overseas and currently forward-deployed. Reductions in lower-priority forward operations and significant reductions in all other operations, training and maintenance are the results of this selection process."
A lack of clear guidance from the Director of National Intelligence on which civilian positions require secret clearances is responsible for a hodgepodge of inconsistent and improper security determinations across government agencies, according to the Government Accountability Office. DNI "has not provided agencies clearly defined policy and procedures to consistently determine if a position requires a security clearance," GAO says in a July 12 report (.pdf).
Across government, security clearance backlogs have diminished, investigations are more complete and adjudication documentation had improved, but reciprocal acceptance of security clearances is still a challenge, said Gene Dodaro, GAO's comptroller general.