The evolution of the security clearance process to better reflect the needs – and technological capabilities possible – for vetting security clearance applicants is well underway. But with the key accomplishment of 2021 already in the rear view mirror (that would be continuous vetting), you may be wondering what is next for Trusted Workforce 2.0 reforms.
The White House’s Performance Accountability Council answered that question last month when it released its Trusted Workforce 2.0 implementation guidance. The document is a roadmap for what federal agencies need to do to support security clearance process reforms and policy changes. The guidance is also an answer to criticisms that came from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its most recent report, Personnel Vetting: Actions Needed to Implement Reforms, Address Challenges, and Improve Planning. The report noted the progress made in reforms like Continuous Vetting – but also highlighted the need for metrics to ensure agencies are tracking progress and effectiveness.
Who’s On First?
This next stage of security clearance reform will likely not be as noticeable to candidates as CV implementation. The next iteration of Trusted Workforce 2.0 is really all about getting agencies on board with the policy framework, and that means all of those boring, behind the scenes issues like establishing a program POC, auditing staff to ensure clearance holders can pivot into a new three-tier clearance system, and establishing what kind of budget is needed to make it all happen. But how agencies address (or if they do), the PAC guidance will be critical to ensuring the success of Trusted Workforce 2.0 moving forward.
With the roll-out of the National Background Investigation Services (NBIS), work will also need to be done for agencies with their own internal frameworks and processes. Where possible, agencies will likely consolidate their own systems into NBIS. But coordination should start today so those systems are ready to roll into the new service later.
What’s Important for Clearance Holders Today?
The work of Trusted Workforce 2.0 today is largely behind the scenes, and with the security officers and policy makers. But what matters most for security clearance applicants and current clearance holders is establishing a good understanding of security clearance self-reporting requirements, which grew more important under CV. An applicant can no longer hide a DUI or financial crash and hope they can mitigate it by the time of their next periodic reinvestigation. Those issues will be known, and self reporting can help mitigate something that may be an issue if the government uncovers it first.