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.
Federal employees and contractors waited hundreds of days in some cases for a security clearance in 2016, but the Office of Personnel Management spent much of the year putting the policy pieces in place for improvement. Key stakeholders in the Performance Accountability Council developed an IT plan for the new background investigation system and issued business rules for adjudicating some cases.
The National Background Investigations Bureau will have its own director, who will report to the Office of Personnel Management. The administration says it doesn’t have a specific timeline for implementing the new security clearance program or standing up the new agency, but changes will come in incremental stages.
A new agency could take ownership of the federal security clearance process, a former federal counterintelligence official said. The organization, called the National Investigative Service Agency, would also have a new director.
The Office of Personnel Management issued a solicitation for a workforce analysis of Federal Investigative Services and those offices that support it.