The government has made progress in bettering oversight of the security clearance process in the year since Aaron Alexis killed 12 people in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, says Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Beth Cobert in a Sept. 16 blog post. Cobert, who also heads up the interagency task force reviewing the current security clearance process, says the pilot initiatives launched since the shooting have been shown to be effective and will be expanded to the most sensitive security clearance holders in fiscal 2016.
A Senate panel passed a bill Wednesday that would require random audits for those holding security clearances at agencies. The bill (S.1618), sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), would require that everyone with a security clearance would get audited randomly twice over a five year period.
More than 80,000 Defense Department employees and contractors with security clearance owe back taxes, a June 28 Government Accountability Office report says. GAO found that about 83,000 DoD employees and contractors who held or were determined eligible for secret, top secret, or sensitive compartmented information clearances had unpaid federal tax debt totaling more than $730 million as of June 30, 2012, the report says.
The Office of Management and Budget will collect information on training and case management to help implement continuous evaluations on the security clearances of federal workers, a July 18 OMB memo says. The memo expands on what OMB wants from agencies under the program to monitor security clearances.
The number of federal security clearances issued and renewed dropped about 9 percent since 2011, an April 17 Office of the Director of National Intelligence report says. Security clearance approvals decreased in fiscal 2013 to about 777,000 from nearly 800,000 in fiscal 2012 and about 850,000 in fiscal 2011, the report (pdf) says.
When contractor employees accused of misconduct are fired or quit before DoD makes judgement, the system that records the adjudication still shows them as eligible for security clearance, a DoD inspector general report says.
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.