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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 22, 2004
Contact: Eldon Girdner
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Consolidates Bulk of Federal Security Clearance Process with Transfer of Over 1,800 employees from Defense Department

Vast majority of Federal background investigations to be centered at OPM

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Department of Defense announced today the transfer of over 1,800 personnel security investigation staff from DoD to OPM. This move will consolidate the vast majority of background investigations for the Federal government with OPM.

OPM Director Kay Coles James stated, "I am pleased to welcome these new members to the OPM team. The men and women who conduct background investigations for the Federal government play a very critical role in securing our Nation. They are part of this country's first line of defense for national and homeland security. We take this responsibility very seriously. OPM is committed to ensuring that thorough investigations are conducted in a timely manner so that Federal agencies will have the individuals needed to successfully complete their missions."

DoD and OPM have been discussing options for joining background investigation functions since early FY 2003. The Defense Authorization Act of FY 2004 contained a provision that would allow the OPM Director to accept the transfer. Ongoing discussions between OPM and DoD have resulted in an agreement to transfer the Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) function from DoD's Defense Security Service (DSS) to OPM. PSI field investigators, support staff, and first level supervisors will transfer to OPM. All other DSS staff will remain with DoD. James said, "OPM and DoD have worked closely to train these new employees on the technology they will be utilizing and I appreciate the time the DSS and OPM teams invested to properly assess the operational issues and true costs related to the transfer."

Partnering with OPM's contract investigative workforce, these Federal investigators will conduct all personnel security investigations for DoD. DSS field investigators and support staff are located across the Nation. Investigators and supervisors will remain in their current locations.

OPM's Center for Federal Investigative Services (CFIS), headquartered in Boyers, Pennsylvania, supports thousands of DoD and non-DoD Federal agency security offices worldwide. CFIS's automated support systems have demonstrated high volume processing capability, handling over one million requests for some level of background investigations during FY 2003.

An earlier agreement to train DSS personnel on the use of OPM's computer system known as the Personnel Investigations Processing System (PIPS) will make the transfer of employees to OPM much easier. The training of DSS personnel on the use of this system was completed in June 2004. All new background investigations being conducted by DSS are being processed on the PIPS system. The Defense Department estimates that it avoided at least $100 million in planned system enhancement costs by migrating to OPM's system.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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