In March, we blogged about the anticipated Executive Order that would prompt sweeping changes to the security clearance process. That Executive Order is here.

An Executive Order (EO) was signed by the President on April 25, 2019, which transfers responsibility for personnel security background investigations (BI) and facility accreditation wholly to the Department of Defense (DoD). This action signals a significant paradigm shift in a long-followed methodology surrounding security clearances. Additionally, it moves the responsibility for government-wide background investigations to DoD’s new Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), effective June 24, 2019. Security clearance background investigations, adjudications, continuous evaluation (CE) mechanisms, and classified facility credentialing functions will be centralized under DCSA. This is intended to make the clearance process more efficient and more effective. The new agency’s mission will include additional counterintelligence functions designed to identify and combat threats. There is wide support for this action as there continues to be a backlog of approximately 500,000 cases. It should be noted that the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) has made a herculean effort to reduce the number of backlogged cases and was successful to a large extent. 

More Work to be Done

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), a professional organization whose mission includes: keeping its membership informed on national security matters; advising on security policy, and advocating for efficiencies, released a statement applauding the EO. The statement also advises there is much to be done, such as:

  • Passage of Title VI of the Senate’s “Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Intelligence Authorization Act” and/or the “Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act of 2019″
    Both acts are said to contain key reform provisions for the security clearance process (i.e. completing reciprocity requests within 14 days). They will increase transparency of agency-accelerated clearance processes. It also includes requirements that 90 percent of clearance determinations be made within 30 days for Secret and 90 days for Top Secret.
  • Implementation of Uniform Continuous Evaluation (CE) Program for Clearance Holders Across Government and Industry
    This focuses on mitigating priority threats and growing the trusted workforce.
  • Adoption of Uniform Standards for Background Investigations, Adjudications, Facility Credentialing, and Continuous Evaluation.
    This will support clearance portability and reciprocity and will improve investigative and insider threat assessment efficiencies
  • Elimination of Duplicate Efforts Regarding Clearance and Suitability
    New processes will replace current redundant security clearance related decision-making by multiple agencies. This will reduce processing times and help to mitigate risk.
  • Continued Congressional Oversight of Clearance Reform.
    This will be critical to ensure a change in the security clearance culture across government. The security clearance process is highly complex and involves multiple executive branch agencies operating under diverse legal authorities.


The Next Phase of Security Clearances

The signing of this Executive Order directs a significant evolution in the way security clearances will be investigated, granted and monitored. It promises to address the many problems plaguing the old process, one punctuated by several costly, major security breaches in recent years—at least the ones we know about! It creates an environment where new technologies can be brought to bear that will not only improve efficiencies but will bring powerful assessment tools that can smartly assist with CE, strengthen investigative integrity, secure automated and business workflow at all stages, and provide a smart process performance dashboard to managers at all levels that can inform decision-making and strengthen procedures. Data must be kept secure while in motion and at rest, whether being accessed through mobile devices, site portals and/or accessed internally. This can be accomplished using existing capabilities and solutions.   

How We Can Help

Next Phase Solution, LLC, a woman-owned small business, offers our Federal customers OnBase by Hyland, a versatile data information management solution developed here in the United States.  OnBase can quickly deploy the “four actions” and assist agency CDOs meet new and evolving requirements. OnBase is a COTS, low-custom-code solution that is cloud architecture-friendly and will seamlessly merge legacy data systems into a single user interface to provide an enhanced enterprise information management capability.  Data analytics will be presented in a smart dashboard that easily configures to meet user needs at different levels.  Flexible, scalable and secure, OnBase easily evolves as customer requirements change.  With enterprise data encrypted on the move or while at rest, OnBase is secure and helps counter insider-threat risks.  On the GSA Schedule 70, Next Phase Solution, LLC is ready to help Federal agencies and CDOs comply with new requirements set forth in the OPEN Data Act and 21st Century IDEA. Contact us at (407) 440-1411 for a demonstration, visit our website at https://npsols.com, or email Christopher Sharpley, Managing Director of Federal Practice, at csharpley@npsols.com.

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