A stop-work ordered issued against the government’s largest background investigation firm has reached the one month mark and could extend two months longer. That could mean significant delays in background check processing times, according to industry officials as reported in the Washington Post.
USIS has been in the hot seat for months. In January the Department of Justice filed a complaint against the firm for submitting incomplete investigations 40 percent of the time. “USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” said the Justice Department complaint.
USIS acknowledged a security breach August 6, which caused both the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Personnel Management to issue the stop work order. At the time, OPM officials stated that it was out of an “abundance of caution” that they issued the stop-work order, not due to any specific security concern. USIS noted that the breach had “all the markings of a state-sponsored attack.”
As the stop-work order draws on, so does the furlough of 2,000 USIS employees, the Washington Post report noted. Some of those employees are already jumping ship to accept open positions with the other two major investigation contractors, USIS and KeyPoint Government Solutions. OPM acknowledged that it was working to bring backlogged investigations in-house to be completed by OPM investigators, or to other firms. Despite efforts to push through the backlog, many cases assigned to USIS remain ‘pending completion.’
As the government looks to move backlogged cases forward, more complicated security clearance investigations could see even lengthier delays. If you’re submitting your investigation today, be aware of the delays and do everything possible to speed up the security clearance process by following proper procedures before you even submit your SF-86.