Professionals from the security clearance industry and Pentagon insiders both agree that when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) took over responsibility for processing background investigations, the quality of investigations suffered because priority was placed on speed and efficiency in getting the investigations completed. This is the latest topic of discussion in a Federal News Radio’s series on “Questioning Clearances.”
A recent Federal Register report discussed the possibility of using DNA testing as a part of the applicant screening process. DNA testing, it was noted, could be used in the same way fingerprints are currently, and be checked against criminal investigations using DNA evidence.
“The Federal Government is looking into the feasibility of using biometric identifiers other than fingerprints in the security clearance process,” the Pentagon said. It was also quick to point out that any DNA collection would be covered in a separate rule-making (and I’m guessing it would also include a lot of very friendly back and forth with federal employee labor unions, the ACLU, and other interested parties).
The long-awaited government report on the security clearance process has been released, and it offers a glimpse into the security clearance reforms we can expect to roll out over the next several months. It also leaves a few glaring omissions, including where the funds for the efforts will come from, and how new responsibilities will be delegated among the security clearance investigation and adjudication workforce.
As public opinion sways, so does the security clearance process. At least that’s the argument a contributor at ClearanceJobs.com made recently. He unpacked several of the ways that Federal Investigative Standards have, or will, change to reflect societal shifts.
What FIS updates do you see on the horizon?
Take for instance foreign relationships and contacts: an ever increasing percentage of Americans are foreign born. This has increased the number of households who have relatives that are foreign citizens. Additionally, second generation Americans are now embracing their heritage and roots and developing contacts with extended families overseas. More and more people from countries that were high on the CIA watch lists like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are now becoming naturalized U.S. citizens while still maintaining close bonds to their homelands. Two guidelines, Foreign Preference and Foreign Influence, are intertwined and may evolve into being called Foreign Involvement. The focus of concern would be on actions taken to be involved in foreign politics, foreign employment, foreign property/business ownership, taking up arms for a foreign military, and in general, taking any action that might be in conflict with U.S. policy and interests.