On Monday, July 7 the president signed the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, putting into law several security clearance reforms. As we’ve reported before, the Act puts forward several changes to the security clearance process, specifically continuous monitoring, new annual reporting requirements , and new insider threat protocols.
Title V of bill adds several measures to the clearance process:
- requiring a cost-benefit analysis and subsequent report to Congress on implementing technology to streamline background investigations, including a continuous monitoring system of cleared individuals;
- mandating an annual report to Congress on agency reciprocity of clearances; and
- ordering the Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress a strategic plan for improving the process of periodic reinvestigations.
For cleared contractors, the Act means more oversight into security plans, with specific requirements for the Director of National Intelligence to ensure all contractors with access to classified information have plans consistent with DNI standards. It also calls for periodic assessments of those plans and more procedures for identifying insider threats and educating cleared professionals on what issues must be self-reported.
DNI is also required to submit to congress an annual update on the status of continuous monitoring and updating the periodic reinvestigation process. The Act doesn’t specify a timeline for implementation o outline the type of program. The Automated Continuing Evaluation System (ACES) has already been put to a test.
While emphasis over recent months has been on continuous monitoring and investigation quality, the Act resurrects the long-term security clearance reform goal of reciprocity. DNI is directed to submit to congress reports on security clearance reciprocity including the timeframe for issuing reciprocity as well as when previous background investigations are not accepted by another agency.
Title V: Security Clearance Reform – (Sec. 501) Requires the DNI, subject to the direction of the President, to: (1) ensure that the background of each employee or officer and contractor of the intelligence community is monitored continuously to determine their eligibility for access to classified information; and (2) develop procedures to require sharing of potentially derogatory security information concerning an employee officer, contractor, or employee of a contractor of the intelligence community that may impact the eligibility of such individuals for a security clearance.
(Sec. 502) Requires the DNI to: (1) ensure that any contractor to an element of the intelligence community with access to classified information develops and operates a security plan that is consistent with DNI standards for intelligence community networks, (2) conduct periodic assessments of each such security plan, and (3) ensure that the insider threat detection capabilities and policies of the intelligence community apply to facilities of contractors with access to a classified network.
(Sec. 503) Requires the DNI to submit to Congress an analysis of the relative costs and benefits of improving the process for: (1) investigating persons who are proposed for access to classified information, and (2) adjudicating whether such persons satisfy the criteria for obtaining and retaining access to such information.
(Sec. 504) Requires the DNI to report to Congress each year, through 2017, on the reciprocal treatment of security clearances, including: (1) the periods of time required by authorized adjudicative agencies for accepting background investigations and determinations completed by an authorized investigative entity or adjudicative agency; and (2) the total number of cases in which a background investigation or determination completed by an authorized investigative entity or adjudicative agency is, or is not, accepted by another agency.
(Sec. 505) Directs the DNI to submit to Congress each year, through December 31, 2017, a strategic plan for updating the process for periodic reinvestigations consistent with a continuous evaluation program.