National Association of Government Contractors

NBIB Pilot Program Speeds Up Background Checks

A department within the  Office of Personnel Management  -- the National Background Investigations Bureau – is proposing to use the information federal contractors gather on their employees during the hiring process to help with background checks.
According to Mark Pekrul, deputy associate director for customer service, communication and engagements,  NBIB is planning a pilot program that will allow federal contractors to submit employee background data they’ve gathered during the hiring process to the agency where it could be combined with federal security clearance data.
Contractors would submit materials,  such as citizenship verification and other security-related background information, through a web portal. The data would be incorporated with NBIB’s data, which could set baseline data that could speed the federal background check process for contractors’ employees, stated Pekrul.
The Trump administration is actively pursuing efforts to improve the security clearance process and help clear the logjam of unprocessed background investigations.
In late June of this year, the White House announced a reorganization plan which proposed major changes to the security clearance process across government. Under the plan, the OPM would pass their authority around background investigations to other agencies, while the NBIB would be absorbed into the Department of Defense.
That proposal – which remains to be adopted by Congress -- would dramatically overhaul the federal government’s approach to processing background investigations and security clearances. The Defense Security Service (DSS) is already set to take on responsibility for DOD personnel later this year, and the transfer of NBIB would make DOD the prime hub for security clearance authority, including contractor clearances.
Pekrul and officials from the DSS have stated that their organizations are preparing plans for the shift.
As for the background check backlog, Pekrul said NBIB currently has a backlog of 700,900 security clearance investigations, a 1 percent decrease since the start of fiscal 2018. Of those investigations, he said, 497,000 are for the Defense Department.

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