A trade group says delays in background checks on individuals that have applied for security clearances from the federal government have resulted in a backlog of more than 700,000 applications, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
That figure from the Aerospace Industry Association reflects an increase from the backlog of about 570,000 unfinished clearances the Office of Personnel Management reported in 2016.
A federal official said in May the process for securing security clearances at the top-secret level took at least 450 days to finish as of March.
OPM also stopped issuing reports on the backlog after the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum in June that seeks to reduce reporting requirements for federal agencies.
The delay in federal background checks also has posed a challenge to government contractors seeking to fill positions that deal with sensitive workloads.
Raytheon said in a white paper that 72 percent of the 2,348 secret-level clearance requests the company filed with the government for newly hired employees from January 2016 through April 2017 had not been completed as of April.
“Many talented employment prospects simply decide to seek alternative employment, rather than wait for a clearance determination,” Raytheon said in the report.
“These departures not only undermine industry’s ability to recruit the best and brightest for government programs, they also impose additional costs to government programs as new candidates must be identified, hired, and resubmitted for clearances.”