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LOSING TIME: CLEARING A 700,000 SECURITY CLEARANCE BACKLOG

Nov 7, 2017
Defense Drumbeat
“Every day we live under a continuing resolution is a day we do damage to our military.”  - Mac Thornberry, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee

CLEARING MASSIVE SECURITY CLEARANCE BACKLOG


THE PROBLEM:

The United States Government conducts security background investigations using manual, industrial-age processes. These processes focus on manual fact checking and records checks that have long ago been automated in the private sector. These obsolete time consuming processes have led to an investigative backlog that grows by nearly 10,000 cases per month.  This security clearance backlog continues to slow the hiring of qualified national security personnel.  Most applicants wait more than 350 days before starting their jobs, and in extreme cases the process can drag on more than two years. The ability to handle classified information is key to protecting our nation’s security – failure to clear Service members and civilians negatively impacts readiness -- improving the broken security clearance process is essential.            

WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY:

The government continues to struggle to whittle down the backlog of more than 700,000 security clearances. This logjam threatens our security and readiness at a time when the nation is facing the most diverse range of threats in history.  It drives away qualified applicants from careers in national security, and needlessly drives up the cost of the clearances to the American taxpayer.

WHAT WE COULD BE DOING:

The House-passed NDAA takes steps to address the backlog of national security clearances by requiring the Department to investigate commonsense steps to automate data processing and fact checking, expedite the review process, and prioritize investigations to fill critical workforce gaps.

115th Congress

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