The National Background Investigation Bureau (NBIB) is finally more than a glimmer in the eyes of someone at the Office of Personnel Management. OPM awarded four contracts in the amount of at least one million each to CACI Premier Technology, Inc.;, CSRA LLC, KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc., and Securitas Critical Infrastructure Services, LLC, according to a contract announcement yesterday.

The announcement came as criticism of NBIB was building, with both industry representatives and members of Congress pushing for more information about the agency’s build-up progress. NBIB’s creation was announced in January and was supposed to take over conducting background investigations from the Federal Investigative Services by October 2016. In August, members of Congress submitted a letter expressing their concern over the agency’s ability to meet its self-imposed milestones.

Last week NBIB made its first agency announcement – investigation costs will rise over the next few years. The announcement didn’t mention why costs were going up but did tease to this week’s contract announcement. Jim Onusko, NBIB’s transition leader noted that new contractors would be brought in to help deal with the backlog of periodic reinvestigations and new investigations.

The past year has been a nightmare of security clearance delays and building backlogs. The web is filled with stories of security clearance applicants waiting months to years for final clearance determinations. Even interim security clearances have been incredibly slow to process.

“These companies will work in coordination with OPM federal investigators in providing this critical function of conducting hundreds of thousands of background investigations for federal agencies annually.”

The new contracts have a performance period of five years. Any amount over the guaranteed $1 million will be based on the workload each contractor is assigned and completes during the performance period, OPM officials stated.  “This award also increases the industry base for performing investigative fieldwork and will allow OPM to work with the contractors over time to increase capacity and enhance the service delivered to our agency customers.”

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer