Listen to the latest episode of the Security Clearance Careers podcast. Christopher Burgess, a retired CIA officer and online security consultant, discusses the creation of a new agency to take over the background investigation process, and what recently announced social media monitoring requirements really mean for clearance holders.
“Those who are making the case to move the consistent lack of security acumen and attention to prior events that have plagued OPM. OPM has had a series of breaches. Can OPM be fixed? Yes. Might it be easier to stand up a new entity and hit the ‘start over’ button? I don’t think so. I think it will be easier and more economically prudent to fix OPM,” said Burgess.
That said, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a number of issues to address, Burgess noted. In the wake of the OPM breach:
- The eQIP system must be scrubbed and reconstituted.
- The SF86s still need to be processed – the use of contractors has proved problematic.
Burgess noted the issues with USIS, and how it was clear the quality of investigations were not adequate to the task. There are major concerns today with the suitability of individuals who are granted access to classified information.
“If the background checks are thorough, then the opportunities to bring in people who are less suitable are reduced,” said Burgess. “OPM needs to do their job, and I think we can correct OPM.”
In the wake of the OPM breach we’re seeing three trends.
- Rising clearance costs
- Increasing backlog
- Fewer cleared personnel
What do these trends mean for the security clearance workforce overall? Government employees and military personnel will likely not see major changes to their processing times or investigations.
“Where it will be impactful is with the cadre of government contractors who require clearances,” said Burgess.