The number of security-cleared personnel continues to drop, according to recently released Department of Defense figures. The number of individuals with Department of Defense security clearances dropped by 100,000 in the first half of FY 2015, reported the Federation of American Scientists. The reductions were reported in the Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform quarterly report.
In addition to this significant reduction in the overall size of the cleared workforce, the report shows the ‘in access’ population – those currently enabled to access classified information – has been reduced by 12 percent, to just 2.2 million.
The insider threat program has been in place since the Wikileaks releases of 2012, but has seen a kick start thanks to the latest leaks by Edward Snowden. In the months following Snowden’s disclosures – and subsequent departure for Russia – congressional scrutiny and government action intensified.
“I write to express my concern about threats to national security resulting from the increasing number of people with eligibility for access to classified national security information, particularly Top Secret (TS) and Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information (TS/SCI),” wrote Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a three-page memo obtained by POLITICO in 2013.
The reduction in the size of the cleared workforce has serious implications for defense industry recruiters, who already struggle to fill slots and submit new clearance requests in the wake of serious processing delays caused by the cybersecurity breach at the Office of Personnel Management.