Who says the federal government can’t ever solve a problem?
Not Director of Personnel Management John Berry or acting head of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients. For the second year in a row, the federal government has met its goals for processing security clearances, breaking up the backlogs that have frequently plagued the overburdened process, according to top agency leaders, including Berry and Zients, who testified before a Senate subcommittee on Nov. 16.
The long delays in the system – first conquered last year – have continued this year, they said.
Berry told the subcommittee OPM had even shaved two days off the time it took to process the fastest 90 percent of initial investigations – from 41 days to 39, according to a report on Federal Times.
The second step of the clearance process, known as adjudication, has also been sped up, said Zients, who is also the federal chief performance officer.
Both had been goals of the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act, with target dates of December 2009. Zients said both goals had been met.
“Today, 90 percent of security clearance determinations are completed within 53 days, a 74 percent reduction from the 2004 level,” he said, according to Federal Times. “Moreover, the decades-old backlog of investigations is gone.”
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), who sits on the subcommittee, said he was encouraged by the progress, but would like to see even more cooperation between agencies.
He said he “still consistently hear(s) from individuals who have problems with one agency accepting another agency’s clearance.”