Charlie Sowell

  • Breaking tradition, GAO adds security clearances back to its biennial High-Risk List

    Breaking with tradition, the Government Accountability Office added the governmentwide security clearance program to the High-Risk List, one year ahead of the scheduled release of its biennial assessment and status report of federal initiatives.

  • Why OPM is warning against DoD reclaiming the security clearance process

    In a special report, “Is splitting the security clearance process destined for failure?” Federal News Radio explores how a small provision in the 2018 defense authorization bill could have major repercussions on the background investigations backlog and could put the future of the National Background Investigations Bureau in question.

  • Last-minute executive order codifies security clearance process, suitability standards

    President Barack Obama signed an executive order Jan. 17, which sets the governance process and suitability standards for agencies and the population of federal employees and contractors. It clarifies the work that the Office of Personnel Management and National Background Investigation Bureau has already started to develop a more modern vetting system.

  • More than 5,550 defense contractors have basic insider threat programs, DoD says

    The defense industry has gotten off to a good start implementing initial capabilities for insider threat programs, the Defense Security Service said. Cleared contractors had until Nov. 30 to develop and submit their plans for an insider threat program and appoint a senior official to lead and oversee it.

  • Why Trump’s hiring freeze could bring new opportunities, challenges to contractors

    President-elect Donald Trump’s suggested hiring freeze on the federal workforce could have major implications for federal contractors. With possible plans to cut the size of the federal workforce through attrition and retirements, some contractors say industry may have to shoulder more of the workload, since the capability requirements won’t change even as government shrinks.

  • New security clearance program’s success hangs on right IT, leadership

    A successful transition to the administration’s new federal security clearance program will take the right technology, timing and leadership, former federal intelligence community experts said.

  • Agencies directed to use social media in security clearance reviews

    Departments will soon begin to randomly investigate security clearance holders twice every five years.

  • In and out of government, employers hesitate to Google employees

    From Google searches to LinkedIn connections, a wealth of publicly available online information can reveal a person’s mindset, and possibly tip off the government to the next Edward Snowden or Aaron Alexis. The intelligence community has done some testing, but a final policy remains elusive. Contractors are hesitant.

  • Charlie Sowell, Salient Federal Solutions

    It’s become routine in criminal cases for law enforcement to search for suspects’ motives by looking at their social media accounts after the crime. But the government has been slow to search social media proactively in other ways. For instance, like evaluating someone for a security clearance. At a recent event hosted by the Professional Services Council, one federal official said the intelligence community had developed a policy to incorporate social media into background investigations. But it’s been held up for a year and a half by senior leaders. Charlie Sowell is a former intelligence official, now with Salient Federal Solutions. He tells Emily Kopp that few contractors are using social media to vet their employees too, but that’s changing.