While security clearance changes and reforms continue to be debated on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, significant pending changes were recently mentioned in the published minutes of the last NISPPAC meeting. All have direct correlations to current criticisms of the clearance process, from the need to update adjudicative guidelines to reforms of security clearance polygraphs.
Last week’s Senate hearing on security clearance reform focused on defense contractors and necessary reforms to prevent another Aaron Alexis from falling through the cracks. Several issues are of specific interest to the background investigator community, including proposals to shorten the length of time between periodic reinvestigations; improving technology and increasing the automation involved in the background investigation process; and creating uniform standards of training for background investigators.
The latest step in the wave of security clearance reform is a renewed effort to apply ‘continuous monitoring’ to security-cleared professionals. The 2014 Intelligence Authorization Bill included a provision for ‘continuous evaluation’ – a requirement for agencies to evaluate public records such as credit histories and criminal backgrounds. Such electronic records would reveal information that would otherwise only appear in a periodic reinvestigation or as the result of a cleared professional self-reporting an issue.