Charlie Phalen: Tech Adoption, Additional Investigators Help NBIB Reduce Security Clearance Backlog

Charles Phalen

Charles Phalen, director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, said NBIB reduced the security clearance backlog to 424,000, down from 725,000 in April 2018, Federal News Network reported Monday.

The figure represents a drop of 41 percent, or approximately 300,000, in pending investigative cases. Phalen said that decline can be attributed to the bureau’s technology adoption and efforts to hire more investigators. NBIB employed 2,000 more federal and contractor investigators in fiscal year 2018, conducted pilot programs that use robotic process automation and expanded the use of video teleconferencing to facilitate data collection for background investigations.

“Using this kind of technology to be able to reach out in a very rudimentary fashion really gave us the idea that this is something we can really leverage and expand on this,” Phalen said of VTC. “We’ve actually set up virtual hubs with investigators sitting at locations who are able to reach out within an agency or a company to their infrastructure.”

Phalen also discussed the bureau’s efforts to facilitate the security clearance transfer from the Office of Personnel Management to the Department of Defense by Oct. 1.

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