Employees and contractors interested in the range of security clearance standards and practices employed throughout the U.S. Government
Senate Hearing on Investigation reform
September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm #80723
From the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee
go to the website to download/read Written Testimony/statements
Security Clearance Reform: Moving Forward on Modernization
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 342
[view archive webcast] (~two hours of testimony)
On Tuesday, September 15, 2009, the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia held a hearing titled: “Security Clearance Reform: Moving Forward on Modernization.” This hearing continued the Subcommittee’s oversight of the Federal government’s security clearance reform process.
* Senator Daniel K. Akaka [View PDF]
* Senator George V. Voinovich [View PDF]
* The Honorable Jeffrey D. Zients [view testimony]
Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer
Office of Management and Budget
* The Honorable John Berry [view testimony]
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
* The Honorable James R. Clapper, Jr. [view testimony]
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
U.S. Department of Defense
* Mr. David R. Shedd [view testimony]
Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Policy, Plans, and Requirements
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
* Ms. Brenda S. Farrell [view testimony]
Director, Defense,Capabilities, and Management
U.S. Government Accountability Office
September 16, 2009 at 1:08 pm #80730
September 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm #80727
PERSONNEL SECURITY CLEARANCES
Progress Has Been Made to Reduce Delays but Further Actions Are Needed to Enhance Quality and to Sustain Reform Efforts
DOD and OPM have made significant progress in reducing delays in making security clearance decisions and met statutory timeliness requirements for DOD’s initial clearances completed in fiscal year 2008. IRTPA currently requires that decisions on at least 80 percent of initial clearances be made within an average of 120 days. In 2008, GAO found that OPM and DOD made initial decisions on these clearances within 87 days, on average.
Opportunities exist for the executive branch to improve its annual reports to Congress. For example, the executive branch’s 2009 report to Congress did not reflect the full range of time it took to make all initial clearance decisions and has provided little information on quality. Under the current IRTPA
requirements, the executive branch can exclude the slowest 20 percent of clearances and then calculate timeliness based on an average of the remaining clearances. GAO analyzed 100 percent of initial clearances granted in 2008 without taking averages or excluding the slowest clearances and found that 39
percent took more than 120 days. The absence of comprehensive reporting limits full visibility over the timeliness of initial clearance decisions. With respect to quality, although IRTPA grants the executive branch latitude in reporting, the 2006-2009 reports provided little information on quality. However, the 2009 report identified quality measures that the executive branch proposes to collect. GAO has stated that timeliness alone does not provide a complete picture of the clearance process. For example, GAO recently estimated that with respect to initial top secret clearances adjudicated in July 2008, documentation was incomplete for most OPM investigative reports. Greater attention to quality could increase instances of
reciprocity—an entity’s acceptance of another entity’s clearances.
Initial joint reform efforts reflect key practices for organizational transformation that GAO has identified, such as having committed leadership and a dedicated implementation team, but the Joint Reform Team’s reports do not provide a strategic framework that contains important elements of successful transformation, including long-term goals with outcome-focused performance measures, nor do they identify potential obstacles to progress and possible remedies. Further, GAO’s prior work and IRTPA identified several factors key to reforming the clearance process. These include (1) engaging in governmentwide reciprocity, (2) consolidating information technology, and (3) identifying and reporting long-term funding requirements. However, the Joint Reform Team’s information technology strategy does not yet define roles and responsibilities for implementing a new automated capability which is intended to be a cross-agency collaborative initiative. Also, the joint reform reports do not contain information on funding requirements or identify funding sources. The reform effort’s success will depend upon the extent to which the Joint Reform Team is able to fully address these key factors moving forward. Further, it is imperative that OMB’s Deputy Director for Management continue in the crucial role as chair of the Performance Accountability Council, which oversees joint reform team efforts.
September 19, 2009 at 10:35 am #80725
The Associate Director, Federal Investigative Services Division (FISD) Kathy Dillaman sent an email to all of FISD regarding the comments made by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (during minute ~22:30 of the hearing) . I enclose for your information:
I was surprised when Senator Akaka opened the hearing by thanking me for my service and wishing me well on my retirement at the end of this year. It was a very nice gesture, but misplaced since I have no plans to retire anytime in the foreseeable future. So, for any of you who are starting to plan the party, hold up a bit.
Seriously, I know rumors about this have been floating around for some time. I assure you, when I decide on a retirement plan, you’ll hear it directly from me. We have way too many good things yet to do and I’m not near ready to turn in my blackberry.
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