New OPM Director Puts the Focus Back on Timeliness
The real security clearance issue isn’t the backlog (which is upwards of 500,000 pending cases) – it’s the timeliness.
That’s what the new director of the National Background Investigation Bureau argued during a talk at the recent Professional Service Council’s Vision Project.
“The real relevant number is 40 or 80. That’s the number of days we are supposed to deliver either a secret or top secret clearance to somebody we adjudicate,” said Charlie Phalen, director of the NBIB. As of August initial Secret clearances took 116 days, Top Secret clearances took 203 days, and Periodic Reinvestigations took 227 days to complete
“I would argue that my backlog could be 5 million cases and nobody would care as long as I was still delivering that product in 40 or 80 days,” said Phalen. “So we are truly focused on what is the timeliness and how can we get back to our standard for getting these background investigations adjudicated. We are absolutely focused on that.”
Trust in Me
The other key effort Phalen seems to be focused on? Re-establishing public trust for the organization that lost the personal records of more than 20 million individuals. Phalen is looking to several business processes to improve the way NBIB does business. Initiatives include improving the technology used to conduct background investigations, as well as more consistent data collection.