Clearance Kudos

By John Liang / February 16, 2011 at 8:24 PM

The Government Accountability Office has given the Pentagon office in charge of processing security clearances a pat on the back for improving the way the office does its job.

In its "High-Risk Series" update released today, GAO removed the high-risk designation from the Defense Department's Personnel Security Clearance Program. According to a GAO statement:

Serious delays in processing security clearances prompted GAO to first designate this program, which handles the vast majority of security clearances in the federal government, a high-risk area in 2005. Continued delays, coupled with concerns about clearance documentation, resulted in the program being included on GAO’s 2007 and 2009 high-risk lists.  GAO is removing the high-risk designation from this program because of DOD’s progress in timeliness and in developing tools and metrics to assess quality.  High-level attention by DOD, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with sustained congressional oversight, played a key role in spurring progress.

More specifically, according to the report itself:

High-level attention by DOD, OMB, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with consistent congressional oversight, has led to significant improvements in processing security clearances. For example, DOD processed 90 percent of all initial clearances in an average of 49 days in fiscal year 2010 and thus met the 60-day statutory timeliness objective. Furthermore, DOD has reduced the average time it takes to process 90 percent of initial security clearances for industry personnel from 129 days in 2008 to 63 days in 2010. DOD has also developed and is implementing quality assessment tools and has issued adjudicative standards for addressing incomplete investigations.