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Monday, April 22nd, 2024

AIA offers recommendations to reduce government security clearance backlog

In the wake of reports that an estimated 700,000 federal civilians, military personnel, and industry employees cannot perform their duties as a result of a backlog for security clearance background checks, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) issued a series of recommendations in order to correct problems related to federal work delays.

In a statement, AIA pointed to a report that indicates more than 75 percent of one company’s requests for investigations have been delayed for more than 18 months, and an additional 10 percent have been in process for more than 24 months.

“This is not an isolated example; it exists in many companies,” AIA said. “Too often, the delay in getting a clearance can disrupt a career, delay a program, and encourage companies to ‘poach’ cleared employees from each other, thereby creating turbulence and inefficiency in the labor market.”

In an effort to correct some of the hiring inadequacies, AIA, along with the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and the IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS), interviewed a number of federal security organizations to fully understand the root causes of the backlog.

The association also recently hosted a conference with NDIA where directors of the Defense Security Service (DSS), the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DoD-CAF) detailed organizational actions aimed at reducing the federal backlog.

AIA then recommended that the federal government fully replace the complex, non-uniform and often opaque standards that lead different agencies to demand different forms and investigation types for three separate issues including access to classified materials, fitness for employment, and credentialing.

Additionally, it suggested that a single system of record that accepts reciprocity be implemented, regardless of the agency or department that holds the clearance.

The association also proposed that federal partners develop an updated, technologically enabled, investigation and reinvestigation process that is transparent and accountable in order to enable industry stakeholders to be part of the security clearance process.

“These are important first steps, but they will be for naught if concurrent, long-term fixes are not pursued,” AIA said. “… The clearance backlog is slowing innovation, disrupting the economy and harming readiness – it must be resolved in a way that doesn’t make matters worse.”