This month the Performance Accountability Council released its Trusted Workforce 2.0 implementation strategy to the executive branches. The documentation paves the way for federal agencies to head toward the next stage of an enhanced, overhauled personnel security process, and shows that even as Continuous Vetting (CV) implementation moves forward, there is still more work to be done in improving the security clearance process.
“Trusted Workforce 2.0 reimagines what it means to establish and maintain a relationship of trust with an individual throughout their affiliation with the Government,” the document states.
The policy doc provides the framework of mission, mobility and insight to improve personnel security. As reforms are implemented, the PAC is asking agencies to consider how improvements are improving the government’s ability to carry out its missions, create workforce mobility, and provide data driven results. It also comes on the heels of a security clearance reform event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance where Jason Miller, chair of the PAC, noted that 2022 would be the most significant year for personnel vetting.
The policy document indicates how personnel security reform efforts are headed out of the policy and idea state and into implementation across agencies. As the name – and efforts thus far indicate – Trusted Workforce is taking a phased approach.
“Past reform efforts primarily leveraged a sequential approach—policy development, then planning, then implementation—leading to long delays between the policy formulation phases and the delivery of products and services to customers. Seeking opportunities to deliver results sooner and taking full advantage of the rebuild of the information technology (IT) systems, TW 2.0 will leverage an iterative implementation approach, focusing on what is known currently with a high degree of confidence and publishing adjustments as needed,” the strategy document states.
The iterative implementation approach has allowed Trusted Workforce 2.0 to accomplish its key milestone to-date – bringing clearance processing times within current benchmarks and eliminating the backlog of pending cases. With that milestone accomplished, the strategy document released this month gives benchmarks to executive branch agencies so they can begin to implement Trusted Worforce 2.0 improvements around accountability, business processes and supporting the changes Trusted Workforce 2.0 will bring as the National Background Investigations Services are implemented and changes to guidelines or vetting policies are established.
Roadmap to Trusted Workforce 2.0 implementation
The PAC outlined the following steps agencies can to implement Trusted Workforce 2.0:
- Designating a Senior Implementation Official to be accountable for implementing TW 2.0.
- Examining resource needs to ensure adequate funding for the FY 2023 budget cycle and beyond.
- Evaluating existing personnel vetting business operations’ ability to support process changes for TW 2.0 vetting scenarios, including managing continuous vetting alerts, internal agency adjudication and other actions in response to alerts, and responses to requests for information from the ISP.
- Analyzing and counting populations based on the proposed tier structures to prepare for pending policy and budgetary impacts for future fiscal year budgets.
- Reviewing and aligning internal policies and processes to implement the 1-3-5 framework.
- Coordinating with DCSA for their NBIS onboarding plan, to include submission of a signed memorandum of understanding, if using or planning to use DCSA for investigative services.
- Continuing to develop and refine an agency-specific TW 2.0 implementation plan, which may include but is not limited to:
- Resource, budget, and business process impacts of continuous vetting (enrollment and alert management)
- Changes in vetting the workforce with three investigative tier levels
- How to address policy and operational gaps between current processes and TW 2.0
- Considerations for handling unique agency requirements
- Training needs to meet TW 2.0 requirements, including implementation of revised National
Training Standards for Background Investigators, National Security Adjudicators, and Suitability Adjudicators
- Agency-managed processes that may be conducted by ISPs as new services emerge
- Use of shared services (current and plans for future adoption) and decommissioning of internal agency tools or systems, where feasible
- Communications required to socialize TW 2.0 and continuous vetting elements such as reporting requirements and annual vetting appraisals with the workforce and employee unions (as applicable)
- Plans/protocols for information sharing