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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) yesterday told committees for both the House and Senate of the considerable progress OPM is making in enhancing the speed and reducing the backlog of Federal personnel security investigations. Kathy L. Dillaman, Associate Director of OPM’s Federal Investigative Services Division, is responsible for overseeing background investigations on prospective civilian employees for more than 100 Federal agencies and contractors. She spoke before the House Committee on Government Reform and the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.
“In 2006 alone, we expect to process more than 1.7 million investigations,” Dillaman said. “Thanks to the cooperation of Federal agencies and advancements in technology, we are making great strides in improving the timeliness of investigations and reducing our caseload.”
Dillaman said OPM and the major clearance granting agencies have made steady progress in meeting the four main requirements of OPM’s background investigation performance improvement plan, aimed at increasing the speed and effectiveness with which Federal background investigations are conducted and security clearances are processed. The four requirements are improving accuracy of workload projections, enhancing timeliness and quality of agency investigations requests, enhancing timeliness of investigations, and enhancing timeliness of adjudications.
Dillaman said the improvements can primarily be attributed to staffing and productivity increases, but cautioned Congress of a rising inventory of pending investigations due to access problems involving third-party record information.
“Our main challenge in this department is the difficulty of obtaining information from third-party record providers,” Dillaman said. “Investigations cannot be closed without such information, and we continue to experience significant delays in obtaining information from Federal, state, and local record systems.”
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.