New Executive Order Updates Security Clearance Process

New Executive Order Updates Security Clearance Process

As President Barack Obama prepared to leave office on January 20th, he signed an executive order that updates the structure and process for issuing security clearances.

According to Federal News Radio, the order more clearly outlines the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) responsibilities in this process including:

Open competitive examinations that fairly test a candidate’s “relative capacity and fitness” to be in the competitive service.

  • Standards for citizenship, age, education, training, experience, physical and mental fitness and other requirements.
  • Suitability standards “based on character and conduct for appointment to a position in the competitive service,” excepted service or career appointment to the Senior Executive Service.
  • Minimum standards of fitness.

Federal News Radio reports that while the OPM will set minimum standards for determining whether a person is suitable for federal employment, agency heads retain the discretion to set criteria for contractors.

The order ties up “loose ends” on several pieces of the administration’s efforts to modernize the security clearance and suitability review process and it also codifies the work that the National Background Investigation Bureau (NBIB), OPM and Defense Department have already begun to develop and modernize security clearance IT systems, says Federal News Radio.

What I find most interesting about this document is that instead of creating pieces of brand new policy, it really is more about using new definitions and descriptions. “They’ve added some important words: ‘secure’ and ‘timely,’” and that’s something you see throughout the rest of the document,” said Charlie Sowell, senior vice president for national security and cyber solutions at Salient CRGT and a former senior adviser to the Director of National Intelligence.

This signifies more than just a push towards modernization, it really is a push towards creating more trusted workforces—something we can all agree on as we move forward with new initiatives and policies. I look forward to following the developments of the OPM’s new role and responsibilities and how this affects the security clearance process.


Article from: Security First & Associates


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