Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has reintroduced legislation (S-314) aimed at speeding up and simplifying the process for granting and renewing security clearances, which are necessary for many federal jobs.
“The current vetting process for security clearances and positions of trust is too complicated, takes too long, costs too much, and fails to capitalize on modern technology and processes,” Warner said . “We are taking too many security risks and losing talented people who are not willing to endure a years-long process.”
The bill would: require the administration to produce a plan to reduce the backlog, which now stands at about 600,000, down by about 120,000 from the peak last spring; create an information sharing program between and among agencies and industry of individuals deemed to be potential security risks; promote the concept of “clearance in person” to increase mobility among agencies by reducing repetitive investigations; and require report on the possibilities of reducing the number of clearance levels and eliminating unneeded requirements for clearances.
The measure also would require production of a plan with milestones for DoD to complete the takeover from OPM responsibility for conducting nearly all background checks for issuing or renewing clearances.
Under a previously enacted law, DoD was already working to take over those checks for its own employees but the administration’s government reorganization plan issued in last summer advocated that DoD perform those checks for other agencies, as well.