Good news! The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has plans to reduce the size of the security clearance backlog by 300,000 cases in six months. The bad news? No one is sure how they plan to do it.

In July of 2018 the National Background Investigations Bureau released a report on the size of the backlog. In the months since they have managed to tackle even more investigations, reducing the number of investigations pending to under 600,000 by the new year.

There are currently 282,489 initial national security investigations for DoD employees and contractors and 177,586 periodic reinvestigations.

There are 235,861 initial national security investigations for other federal employees and 136,464 periodic reinvestigations.

There are 77,719 initial national security investigations for other federal contractors and 81,257 periodic reinvestigations.

What does all of this add up to? Hundreds of thousands of individuals who can’t do national security work as they await a security clearance.

The NBIB hopes new background investigators will help it bust through the backlog. There are now 1,714 federal background investigators and 6,687 contract field investigators. This is a record number of investigators tackling the backlog.

The Department of Defense is still moving forward with plans to take over the entire background investigations mission – even as it awaits the final executive order outlining the change.

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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