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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Contact: Peter Graves
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM: BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS PROCESS CONTINUES TO IMPROVE

Investigations Chief Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee/ Notes Remarkable Progress

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Associate Director for Federal Investigative Services Kathy Dillaman today told members of the United States Senate timeliness of the security clearance process for Federal employees continues to improve. Ms. Dillaman testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.

"Since May 17, 2007, the last time I appeared before this subcommittee, OPM has improved the overall timeliness of the security clearance process," Dillaman testified. "Not only have we met the initial goals outlined by Congress in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), we have exceeded those goals and substantially reduced the inventory of pending investigations."

Regarding investigations timeliness, Dillaman said 80 percent of all initial clearance investigations are being completed in an average of 60 days, a seven day improvement over 2007, and 30 day betterment over IRTPA standards. Eighty-percent of initial Top Secret investigations are being completed in an average of 84 days, an eight day improvement over last year; and a corresponding percentage of Secret/Confidential investigations are being completed in an average of 56 days, a seven day improvement over 2007.

For investigations more than 180 days in process, the peak of 98,000 such cases in October 2006 has been slashed to just 3,728 today.

Dillaman attributed the success to increased staffing levels, with over 9,300 Federal and contractor employees handling cases, automation initiatives that have streamlined processing, and improvements in OPM's ability to receive necessary third-party information in a timelier manner due to enhanced cooperation with a number of federal, state, local, and international authorities

Dillaman affirmed OPM's continued support for process reforms necessary to achieve IRTPA goals for 2009 and beyond. The reform efforts underway are challenging traditional processing from the validation of the need for a security clearance through the adjudication process for a more efficient government-wide 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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