The implementation of Continuous Vetting (CV) is ramping up through FY 2021, with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency noting that all security clearance holders will be under its CV/Continuous Evaluation program by year’s end. Officials with DCSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) provided updates on Trusted Workforce 2.0 at yesterday’s National Industrial Security Program Policy Advisory Committee meeting. CV enrollment remains the key piece of Trusted Workforce 1.25 and 1.5 as both the DoD and Intelligence Community work to both enroll current clearance holders and new applicants and refine their vetting procedures.
DCSA said they are enrolling all new applicants post-adjudication and have 675,000 industry applicants currently enrolled, with approximately 350,000 industry subjects pending enrollment, according to Marrianna Martineau, assistant director for adjudications at DCSA.
Continuous Evaluation is Working – but so should self-reporting
The push forward for CV is made possible by IT advancements within DCSA, and the need for speed is fueled by the program’s current success. Martineau noted that 48% of CV alerts were for issues that weren’t previously known, with criminal and financial issues being the most likely to trigger an alert.
DCSA emphasized the need to continue to push security clearance holders to self report information. Just because (or perhaps because) information is being flagged by CV does not eliminate self-reporting requirements. Candidates will improve their chances of maintaining eligibility by self-reporting potential issues, rather than failing to disclose them.
As all security clearance holders move into CV status through the remainder of the year, ensuring adverse information is self reported will be key. Just as some initial security clearance eligibility determinations go south with applicants try to hide information that should have been listed, current clearance holders could face personal conduct issues if they fail to self report issues that should have been reported.
Moving Forward with Trusted Workforce 2.0
ODNI noted that security clearance reform remains a focus area for new director Avril Haines.
“We’ve shifted to phase two of Trusted Workforce 2.0, and phase two really focuses on policy development,” said Valerie Kerben, senior security advisor for the special security directorate at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. She said ODNI was looking into the personnel vetting process from beginning to end and seeking guidance from executive branch departments. The benefit of ODNI’s iterative approach to security clearance reform is they are already seeing significant progress through Trusted Workforce 1.25 and 1.5. The IC’s implementation of CV is a focus to move forward to the next stage of Trusted Workforce 1.25, with all agencies enrolling employees in at least the Trusted Workforce 1.25 capability by Sept. 30, said Kerben. By Sept. 30, 2022, all departments and agencies must enroll employees in 1.5 capabilities, which offer some differences and enhancements on the checks of the Trusted Workforce 1.25 capability.
Like DoD, the ultimate goal for ODNI is for all personnel to be enrolled. As enrollment happens, ODNI will continue looking into policy changes, which may include changes to the adjudicative criteria and other updates to the eligibility criteria.