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Zients and Berry Break Clearance Backlog

Jeffrey Zients and John Berry; Photo: omb.gov, opm.gov

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.”

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  1. OPM stated years ago they did not have a backlog. Can you really keep using that a a successful story. I am confused. Previous testimonies from OPM in March 2008, OPM stated they had no backlog. What has really been done in technology to increase the timeliness of the investigations. Do the committees and their staff study the testimonies by the panel members and look at what is being told to other committees or is this just one way the federal government allows one Government Agency to over price services without increase in productivity. The Economic Act of the 30s says commercial outlets may be used if it can be provided cheaper. Where was the Defense Department in all of this backlog talk and good news story.

  2. Has any one recently taken a look at the system. My case entered Adjudication on Nov 13th. 2010, I am still waiting and it has been 65 days already ???

  3. The reported testimony doesn’t jive with my reality. It has been 96 days since my investigation opened. I was told about five weeks ago that it was in adjudication.

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