The Office of Personnel Management is shutting down the e-QIP, Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing system. OPM stated the shutdown is not linked to the recent announcement that China had stolen the security clearance applications of millions of cleared personnel.
The shutdown will affect the thousands of individuals who have already recently submitted applications through the e-QIP system, or who may have been up for new security cleared positions or reinvestigation in the next month. OPM did not announce how it will process security clearance applications while the e-QIP system is down, but it is possible there will be a return to an old paper SF-86 process. e-QIP is expected to be offline for 4-6 weeks while the cyber improvements are made.
“The security of OPM’s networks remains my top priority as we continue the work outlined in my IT Strategic Plan, including the continuing implementation of modern security controls,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said. “This proactive, temporary suspension of the e-QIP system will ensure our network is as secure as possible for the sensitive data with which OPM is entrusted.”
Latest Issues for Embattled Agency
After denying background investigation data was lost in a prior breach of federal employee personnel files, OPM admitted that tens of millions of background investigation reports were lost in a cyber breach that originated in China. Affected individuals have begun receiving notifications their data was among that breached, along with credit monitoring services.