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United States Government Accountability Office:

GAO:

Testimony:

Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the 
Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate:

DOD Personnel Clearances:

New Concerns Slow Processing of Clearances for Industry Personnel:

Statement of Derek B. Stewart: 
Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management:

GAO-06-748T:

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-748T a testimony before the  Subcommittee on 
Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the 
District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, U.S. Senate.

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for about 2 million 
active personnel security clearances. About one-third of the clearances 
are for industry personnel working on contracts for DOD and more than 
20 other executive agencies. Delays in determining eligibility for a 
clearance can heighten the risk that classified information will be 
disclosed to unauthorized sources and increase contract costs and 
problems attracting and retaining qualified personnel. Long-standing 
delays in completing hundreds of thousands of clearance requests and 
numerous impediments that hinder DODís ability to accurately estimate 
and eliminate its clearance backlog led GAO to declare DODís personnel 
security clearance program a high-risk area in January 2005.

This testimony presents GAOís (1) preliminary observations from its 
ongoing review of the timeliness and completeness of clearances, (2) 
concerns about the upcoming expiration of an executive order that has 
resulted in high level commitment to improving the governmentwide 
clearance process, and (3) views on factors underlying DODís decision 
to stop accepting clearance requests for industry personnel.

What GAO Found:  

GAOís ongoing review of the timeliness and completeness of security 
clearance processes for industry personnel has provided three 
preliminary observations. First, communication problems between DOD and 
the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may be limiting governmentwide 
efforts to improve the personnel security clearance process. Second, 
OPM faces performance problems due to the inexperience of its domestic 
investigative workforce, and it is still in the process of developing a 
foreign presence to investigate leads overseas. Third, some DOD 
adjudication facilities have stopped accepting closed pending 
casesóthat is, investigations formerly forwarded to DOD adjudicators 
from OPMóeven though some required investigative information was not 
included.

In addition, the expiration of Executive Order 13381 could slow 
improvements in the security clearance processes governmentwide, as 
well as for DOD in particular. The executive order, which among other 
things delegated responsibility for improving the clearance process to 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is set to expire on July 1, 
2006. GAO has been encouraged by the high level of commitment that OMB 
has demonstrated in the development of a plan to address clearance-
related problems. Because there has been no indication that the 
executive order will be extended, GAO is concerned about whether the 
progress that has resulted from OMBís high-level management involvement 
will continue. Issues such as OPMís need to establish an overseas 
presence are discussed as potential reasons why OPM may not be in a 
position to assume an additional high-level commitment if OMB does not 
continue in its current role.

Finally, inaccurate projections of clearance requests and funding 
constraints are delaying the processing of security clearance requests 
for industry personnel. DOD stopped processing new applications for 
clearance investigations for industry personnel on April 28, 2006. DOD 
attributed its actions, in part, to an overwhelming volume of requests 
for industry personnel security investigations. DODís long-standing 
inability to accurately project its security clearance workload makes 
it difficult to determine clearance-related budgets and staffing 
requirements. The funding constraints that also underlie the stoppage 
are related to the transfer of DODís personnel security investigations 
functions to OPM. DOD has questioned some of the costs being charged by 
OPM and has asked OMB to mediate the DOD-OPM dispute. Information from 
the two agencies indicates that OMB has directed the agencies to 
continue to work together to resolve the matter. According to officials 
in the DOD and OPM inspector general offices, they are investigating 
the billing dispute and expect to report on the results of their 
investigations this summer.  

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-748T].

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact  Derek B. Stewart at 
(202) 512-5559 or StewartD@gao.gov. 

[End of section]

Chairman Voinovich and Members of the Subcommittee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Defense's 
(DOD) personnel security clearance program and problems related to 
clearances for industry personnel. Since declaring DOD's program a high-
risk area in January 2005, we have testified before this Subcommittee 
three times on security clearance-related issues. Before providing my 
observations about the current problems in the security clearance 
process, I would like to provide some background to (1) give a general 
context for understanding clearances and describe the importance of 
industry personnel to our national security, (2) discuss how clearance 
problems can negatively affect national security, and (3) provide 
information about several recent events affecting the overall status of 
DOD's personnel security clearance program.

Background:

For over 2 decades, we have reported on problems with DOD's personnel 
security clearance program as well as the financial costs and risks to 
national security resulting from these problems (see Related GAO 
Reports at the end of this statement). For example, at the turn of the 
century, we documented problems such as incomplete investigations, 
inconsistency in determining eligibility for clearances, and a backlog 
of overdue clearance reinvestigations that exceeded 500,000 
cases.[Footnote 1] More recently in 2004, we identified continuing and 
new impediments hampering DOD's clearance program and made 
recommendations for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the 
program.[Footnote 2] Also in September 2004 and June and November 2005, 
we testified before this Subcommittee on clearance-related problems 
faced governmentwide, DOD-wide, and for industry personnel in 
particular.[Footnote 3]

A critical step in the federal government's efforts to protect national 
security is to determine whether an individual is eligible for a 
personnel security clearance. Specifically, an individual whose job 
requires access to classified information must undergo a background 
investigation and adjudication (determination of eligibility) in order 
to obtain a clearance. As with federal government workers, the demand 
for personnel security clearances for industry personnel has increased 
during recent years. Additional awareness of threats to our national 
security since September 11, 2001, and efforts to privatize federal 
jobs during the last decade are but two of the reasons for the greater 
number of industry personnel needing clearances today. As of September 
30, 2003, industry personnel held about one-third of the approximately 
2 million DOD-issued clearances. DOD's Office of the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Intelligence has overall responsibility for DOD clearances, 
and its responsibilities also extend beyond DOD. Specifically, that 
office's responsibilities include obtaining background investigations 
and adjudicating clearance eligibility for industry personnel in more 
than 20 other federal agencies,[Footnote 4] as well as the clearances 
of staff in the federal government's legislative branch.

Problems in the clearance program can negatively affect national 
security. For example, delays reviewing security clearances for 
personnel who are already doing classified work can lead to a 
heightened risk of disclosure of classified information. In contrast, 
delays in providing initial security clearances for previously non 
cleared personnel can result in other negative consequences, such as 
additional costs and delays in completing national security-related 
contracts, lost-opportunity costs, and problems retaining the best 
qualified personnel.

Long-standing delays in completing hundreds of thousands of clearance 
requests for servicemembers, federal employees, and industry personnel 
as well as numerous impediments that hinder DOD's ability to accurately 
estimate and eliminate its clearance backlog led us to declare the 
program a high-risk area in January 2005. The 25 areas on our high-risk 
list at that time received their designation because they are major 
programs and operations that need urgent attention and transformation 
in order to ensure that our national government functions in the most 
economical, efficient, and effective manner possible.[Footnote 5]

Shortly after we placed DOD's clearance program on our high-risk list, 
a major change in DOD's program occurred. In February 2005, DOD 
transferred its personnel security investigations functions and about 
1,800 investigative positions to the Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM). Now, DOD obtains nearly all of its clearance investigations from 
OPM,[Footnote 6] which is currently responsible for 90 percent of the 
personnel security clearance investigations in the federal 
government.[Footnote 7] DOD retained responsibility for adjudication of 
military personnel, DOD civilians, and industry personnel.

Other recent significant events affecting DOD's clearance program have 
been the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention 
Act of 2004 and the issuance of the June 2005 Executive Order 13381, 
"Strengthening Processes Relating to Determining Eligibility for Access 
to Classified National Security Information." The act included 
milestones for reducing the time to complete clearances, general 
specifications for a database on security clearances, and requirements 
for greater reciprocity of clearances (the acceptance of a clearance 
and access granted by another department, agency, or military service). 
Among other things, the executive order resulted in the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) taking a lead role in preparing a strategic 
plan to improve personnel security clearance processes governmentwide.

Using the context that I have laid out for understanding the interplay 
between DOD and OPM in DOD's personnel security clearance processes, I 
will address three issues. First, I will provide a status update and 
preliminary observations from our ongoing audit on the timeliness and 
completeness of the processes used to determine whether industry 
personnel are eligible to hold a top secret clearance--an audit that 
this Subcommittee requested. Second, I will discuss potential adverse 
effects that might result from the July 1, 2006, expiration of 
Executive Order 13381. Finally, I will discuss DOD's recent action to 
suspend the processing of clearance requests for industry personnel.

With the exception of the update and preliminary observations on our 
current audit, my comments today are based primarily on our completed 
work and our institutional knowledge from our prior reviews of the 
clearance processes used by DOD and, to a lesser extent, other 
agencies. In addition, we used information from the Intelligence Reform 
and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, executive orders, and other 
documents such as a memorandum of agreement between DOD and OPM. We 
conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards in May 2006.

Summary:

Although our audit of DOD's clearance processes for industry personnel 
is ongoing, we have three preliminary observations. First, 
communication problems between DOD and OPM may be limiting 
governmentwide efforts to improve personnel security clearance 
processes. For example, until recently, OPM had not officially shared 
its investigator's handbook with DOD adjudicators. Adjudicators raised 
concerns that without knowing what was required for an investigation by 
the investigator's handbook, they could not fully understand how 
investigations were conducted and the investigative reports that form 
the basis for their adjudicative decisions. OPM indicates that it is 
revising the investigator's handbook and is obtaining comments from DOD 
and other customers. Second, OPM faces performance problems due to the 
inexperience of its domestic investigative workforce, and it is still 
in the process of developing a foreign presence to investigate leads 
overseas. OPM reports that it is making progress in establishing an 
overseas presence, but that it will take time to fully meet the demand 
for overseas investigative coverage. Third, some DOD adjudication 
facilities have stopped accepting closed pending cases--that is, 
investigations formerly forwarded to DOD adjudicators from OPM--even 
though some required investigative information is not included.

The expiration of Executive Order 13381 could slow improvements in the 
security clearance processes governmentwide, as well as for DOD in 
particular. The executive order, which among other things delegated 
responsibility for improving the clearance process to the Director of 
OMB, is set to expire on July 1, 2006. We have been encouraged by the 
high level of commitment that OMB demonstrated in the development of a 
plan to address clearance-related problems. Because there has been no 
indication that the executive order will be extended, we are concerned 
about whether such progress will continue without OMB's high-level 
management involvement. If OMB does not continue in its current role, 
OPM may not be in a position to assume additional high-level commitment 
for several reasons, including its inability to resolve disputes with 
other agencies.

Finally, a billing dispute between DOD and OPM may cause further delays 
in processing security clearances for industry personnel. DOD stopped 
processing applications for clearance investigations for industry 
personnel on April 28, 2006, and attributed its actions to an 
overwhelming volume of requests for industry personnel security 
investigations and funding constraints. DOD's inability to accurately 
project its security clearance workload makes it difficult to determine 
clearance-related budgets and staffing requirements. The funding 
constraints that contributed to the stoppage are related to the costs 
resulting from the agreement that transferred DOD's clearance 
investigations function to OPM. DOD has asked OMB to mediate the 
dispute; however, information from DOD and OPM indicates that OMB has 
directed the two agencies to continue to work together to resolve the 
matter. According to representatives from DOD and OPM inspector general 
offices, they are currently investigating all of the issues raised in 
the Under Secretary's and Associate Director's correspondences and have 
indicated that they intend to issue reports on their reviews during the 
summer.

Preliminary Observations from GAO's Ongoing Audit Suggests Additional 
Problems:

Mr. Chairman, at your and other congressional members request, we 
continue to examine the timeliness and completeness of the processes 
used to determine whether industry personnel are eligible to hold a top 
secret clearance. Two key elements of the security clearance process 
are investigation and adjudication. In the investigation portion of the 
security clearance process, the investigator seeks to obtain 
information pertaining to the security clearance applicant's loyalty, 
character, reliability, trustworthiness, honesty, and financial 
responsibility. For top secret security clearances, the types or 
sources of information include an interview with the subject of the 
investigation, national agency checks (e.g., Federal Bureau of 
Investigations and immigration records), local agency checks (e.g., 
municipal police and court records), financial checks, birth date and 
place, citizenship, education, employment, public records for 
information such as bankruptcy or divorce, and interviews with 
references. In the adjudication portion of the security clearance 
process, government employees in 10 DOD adjudication facilities--2 of 
which serve industry--use the information gathered at the investigation 
stage to approve, deny, or revoke eligibility to access classified 
information. Once adjudicated, the security clearance is then issued up 
to the appropriate eligibility level, or alternative actions are taken 
if eligibility is denied or revoked. A major part of our audit is 
reviewing fully adjudicated industry cases to determine the 
completeness of both the investigations and the adjudications for top 
secret clearances. We will complete this audit and issue a report to 
your Subcommittee and other congressional requesters this fall.

I will briefly mention three of the preliminary observations that we 
have been able to derive thus far from our audit.

* Communication problems may be limiting governmentwide efforts to 
improve the personnel security clearance process. The billing dispute 
that I discuss later in this testimony is one example of a 
communication breakdown. In addition, until recently, OPM had not 
officially shared its investigator's handbook with DOD adjudicators. 
Adjudicators raised concerns that without knowing what was required for 
an investigation by the investigator's handbook, they could not fully 
understand how investigations were conducted and the investigative 
reports that form the basis for their adjudicative decisions. OPM 
indicates that it is revising the investigator's handbook and is 
obtaining comments from DOD and other customers.

* OPM acknowledges that despite its significant effort to develop a 
domestic investigative workforce, performance problems remain because 
of the workforce's inexperience. OPM reports that they are making 
progress in hiring and training new investigators, however, they have 
also noted that it will take a couple of years for the investigative 
workforce to reach desired performance levels. In addition, OPM is 
still in the process of developing a foreign presence to investigate 
leads overseas. OPM also reports that it is making progress in 
establishing an overseas presence, but that it will take time to fully 
meet the demand for overseas investigative coverage.

* Some DOD adjudication facilities have stopped accepting closed 
pending cases--investigations forwarded to adjudicators even though 
some required information is not included--from OPM. DOD adjudication 
officials need all of the required investigative information in order 
to determine clearance eligibility. Without complete investigative 
information, DOD adjudication facilities must store the hard-copy 
closed pending case files until the required additional information is 
provided by OPM. According to DOD officials, this has created a 
significant administrative burden.

Expiration of Executive Order Could Slow Improvements in Clearance 
Processes:

The July 1, 2006, expiration of Executive Order 13381 could slow 
improvements in personnel security clearance processes governmentwide 
as well as for DOD in particular. Among other things, this new 
executive order delegated responsibility for improving the clearance 
process to the OMB Director from June 30, 2005, to July 1, 2006. We 
have been encouraged by the high level of commitment that OMB 
demonstrated in the development of a plan to improve the personnel 
security clearance process governmentwide. Also, the OMB Deputy 
Director met with GAO officials to discuss OMB's general strategy for 
addressing the problems that led to our high-risk designation for DOD's 
clearance program. Demonstrating strong management commitment and top 
leadership support to address a known risk is one of the requirements 
for removing DOD's clearance program from GAO's high-risk list.

Because there has been no indication that the executive order will be 
extended, we are concerned about whether such progress will continue 
without OMB's high-level management involvement. While OPM has provided 
some leadership in assisting OMB with the development of the 
governmentwide plan, OPM may not be in a position to assume additional 
high-level commitment for a variety of reasons if OMB does not continue 
in its current role. These reasons include: (1) the governmentwide plan 
lists many management challenges facing OPM and the Associate Director 
of its investigations unit, such as establishing a presence to conduct 
overseas investigations and adjusting its investigative workforce to 
the increasing demand for clearances; (2) adjudication of personnel 
security clearances and determination of which organizational positions 
require such clearances is not an OPM responsibility; and (3) agencies' 
disputes with OPM--such as the current billing dispute with DOD--may 
need a high-level, impartial third party to mediate a resolution.

Unexpected Volume of Clearance Requests and Funding Constraints Delay 
Security Clearances for Industry Personnel Further:

DOD stopped processing applications for clearances for industry 
personnel on April 28, 2006. DOD attributed its actions to an 
overwhelming volume of requests for industry personnel security 
investigations and funding constraints.

The unexpected volume of security clearance requests resulted in DOD 
having to halt the processing of industry security clearances. We have 
testified repeatedly that a major impediment to providing timely 
clearances is DOD's inaccurately projected number of requests for 
security clearances DOD-wide and for industry personnel specifically. 
DOD's inability to accurately project clearance requirements makes it 
difficult to determine clearance-related budgets and staffing. In 
fiscal year 2001, DOD received 18 percent fewer requests than it 
projected (about 150,000); and in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, it 
received 19 and 13 percent (about 135,000 and 90,000), respectively, 
more requests than projected. In 2005, DOD was again uncertain about 
the number and level of clearances that it required, but the department 
reported plans and efforts to identify clearance requirements for 
servicemembers, civilian employees, and contractors. For example, in 
response to our May 2004 recommendation to improve the projection of 
clearance requests for industry personnel, DOD indicated that it is 
developing a plan and computer software to have the government's 
contracting officers (1) authorize the number of industry personnel 
clearance investigations required to perform the classified work on a 
given contract and (2) link the clearance investigations to the 
contract number.

An important consideration in understanding the funding constraints 
that contributed to the stoppage is a DOD-OPM billing dispute, which 
has resulted in the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence 
requesting OMB mediation. The dispute stems from the February 2005 
transfer of DOD's personnel security investigations function to OPM.

The memorandum of agreement signed by the OPM Director and the DOD 
Deputy Secretary prior to the transfer lists many types of costs that 
DOD may incur for up to 3 years after the transfer of the 
investigations function to OPM. One cost, an adjustment to the rates 
charged to agencies for clearance investigations, provides that "OPM 
may charge DOD for investigations at DOD's current rates plus annual 
price adjustments plus a 25 percent premium to offset potential 
operating losses. OPM will be able to adjust, at any point of time 
during the first three year period after the start of transfer, the 
premium as necessary to cover estimated future costs or operating 
losses, if any, or offset gains, if any."

The Under Secretary's memorandum says that OPM has collected 
approximately $50 million in premiums in addition to approximately $144 
million for other costs associated with the transfer. The OPM Associate 
Director subsequently listed costs that OPM has incurred. To help 
resolve this billing matter, DOD requested mediation from OMB, in 
accordance with the memorandum of agreement between DOD and OPM. 
Information from DOD and OPM indicates that OMB subsequently directed 
the two agencies to continue to work together to resolve the matter on 
their own. According to representatives from DOD and OPM inspector 
general offices, they are currently investigating all of the issues 
raised in the Under Secretary's and Associate Director's 
correspondences and have indicated that they intend to issue reports on 
their reviews during the summer.

Concluding Observations:

Mr. Chairman, I want to assure you that we will continue taking 
multiple steps to assess and monitor DOD's personnel security clearance 
program. As I have discussed, we are currently reviewing the timeliness 
and completeness of the processes used to determine whether industry 
personnel are eligible to hold a top secret clearance. We will report 
that information to your Subcommittee this fall. Also, our standard 
steps of monitoring programs on our high-risk list require that we 
evaluate the progress that agencies make toward being removed from 
GAO's high-risk list.[Footnote 8] Finally, we continuously monitor our 
recommendations to agencies to determine whether active steps are being 
taken to overcome program deficiencies.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, this concludes my 
prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you may 
have at this time.

Staff Contact and Acknowledgments:

For further information regarding this testimony, please contact me at 
202-512-5559 or stewartd@gao.gov. Individuals making key contributions 
to this testimony include Jack E. Edwards, Assistant Director; Jerome 
Brown; Kurt A. Burgeson; Susan C. Ditto; David Epstein; Sara Hackley; 
James Klein; and Kenneth E. Patton.

[End of section]

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March 7, 2006.

Managing Sensitive Information: DOE and DOD Could Improve Their 
Policies and Oversight. GAO-06-531T. Washington, D.C.: March 14, 2006.

GAO's High-Risk Program. GAO-06-497T. Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2006.

Questions for the Record Related to DOD's Personnel Security Clearance 
Program and the Government Plan for Improving the Clearance Process. 
GAO-06-323R. Washington, D.C.: January 17, 2006.

DOD Personnel Clearances: Government Plan Addresses Some Long-standing 
Problems with DOD's Program, But Concerns Remain. GAO-06-233T. 
Washington, D.C.: November 9, 2005.

Defense Management: Better Review Needed of Program Protection Issues 
Associated with Manufacturing Presidential Helicopters. GAO-06-71SU. 
Washington, D.C.: November 4, 2005.

DOD's High-Risk Areas: High-Level Commitment and Oversight Needed for 
DOD Supply Chain Plan to Succeed. GAO-06-113T. Washington, D.C.: 
October 6, 2005.

Questions for the Record Related to DOD's Personnel Security Clearance 
Program. GAO-05-988R. Washington, D.C.: August 19, 2005.

Industrial Security: DOD Cannot Ensure Its Oversight of Contractors 
under Foreign Influence Is Sufficient. GAO-05-681. Washington, D.C.: 
July 15, 2005.

DOD Personnel Clearances: Some Progress Has Been Made but Hurdles 
Remain to Overcome the Challenges That Led to GAO's High-Risk 
Designation. GAO-05-842T. Washington, D.C.: June 28, 2005.

Defense Management: Key Elements Needed to Successfully Transform DOD 
Business Operations. GAO-05-629T. Washington, D.C.: April 28, 2005.

Maritime Security: New Structures Have Improved Information Sharing, 
but Security Clearance Processing Requires Further Attention. GAO-05- 
394. Washington, D.C.: April 15, 2005.

DOD's High-Risk Areas: Successful Business Transformation Requires 
Sound Strategic Planning and Sustained Leadership. GAO-05-520T. 
Washington, D.C.: April 13, 2005.

GAO's 2005 High-Risk Update. GAO-05-350T. Washington, D.C.: February 
17, 2005.

High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-05-207. Washington, D.C.: January 2005.

Intelligence Reform: Human Capital Considerations Critical to 9/11 
Commission's Proposed Reforms. GAO-04-1084T. Washington, D.C.: 
September 14, 2004.

DOD Personnel Clearances: Additional Steps Can Be Taken to Reduce 
Backlogs and Delays in Determining Security Clearance Eligibility for 
Industry Personnel. GAO-04-632. Washington, D.C.: May 26, 2004.

DOD Personnel Clearances: Preliminary Observations Related to Backlogs 
and Delays in Determining Security Clearance Eligibility for Industry 
Personnel. GAO-04-202T. Washington, D.C.: May 6, 2004.

Security Clearances: FBI Has Enhanced Its Process for State and Local 
Law Enforcement Officials. GAO-04-596. Washington, D.C.: April 30, 2004.

Industrial Security: DOD Cannot Provide Adequate Assurances That Its 
Oversight Ensures the Protection of Classified Information. GAO-04-332. 
Washington, D.C.: March 3, 2004.

DOD Personnel Clearances: DOD Needs to Overcome Impediments to 
Eliminating Backlog and Determining Its Size. GAO-04-344. Washington, 
D.C.: February 9, 2004.

Aviation Security: Federal Air Marshal Service Is Addressing Challenges 
of Its Expanded Mission and Workforce, but Additional Actions Needed. 
GAO-04-242. Washington, D.C.: November 19, 2003.

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Performance and Organizational Success. GAO-03-488. Washington, D.C.: 
March 14, 2003.

Defense Acquisitions: Steps Needed to Ensure Interoperability of 
Systems That Process Intelligence Data. GAO-03-329. Washington D.C.: 
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Managing for Results: Agency Progress in Linking Performance Plans With 
Budgets and Financial Statements. GAO-02-236. Washington D.C.: January 
4, 2002.

Central Intelligence Agency: Observations on GAO Access to Information 
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2001.

Determining Performance and Accountability Challenges and High Risks. 
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DOD Personnel: More Consistency Needed in Determining Eligibility for 
Top Secret Clearances. GAO-01-465. Washington, D.C.: April 18, 2001.

DOD Personnel: More Accurate Estimate of Overdue Security Clearance 
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DOD Personnel: More Actions Needed to Address Backlog of Security 
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Security Protection: Standardization Issues Regarding Protection of 
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Security Protection: Standardization Issues Regarding Protection of 
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Computer Security: FAA Is Addressing Personnel Weaknesses, But Further 
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DOD Personnel: Weaknesses in Security Investigation Program Are Being 
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DOD Personnel: Inadequate Personnel Security Investigations Pose 
National Security Risks. GAO/T-NSIAD-00-65. Washington, D.C.: February 
16, 2000.

DOD Personnel: Inadequate Personnel Security Investigations Pose 
National Security Risks. GAO/NSIAD-00-12. Washington, D.C.: October 27, 
1999.

Background Investigations: Program Deficiencies May Lead DEA to 
Relinquish Its Authority to OPM. GAO/GGD-99-173. Washington, D.C.: 
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Department of Energy: Key Factors Underlying Security Problems at DOE 
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Performance Budgeting: Initial Experiences Under the Results Act in 
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Military Recruiting: New Initiatives Could Improve Criminal History 
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Executive Office of the President: Procedures for Acquiring Access to 
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Inspectors General: Joint Investigation of Personnel Actions Regarding 
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Privatization of OPM's Investigations Service. GAO/GGD-96-97R. 
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Office of the President. GAO/NSIAD-96-20. Washington, D.C.: October 19, 
1995.

Privatizing OPM Investigations: Implementation Issues. GAO/T-GGD-95- 
186. Washington, D.C.: June 15, 1995.

Privatizing OPM Investigations: Perspectives on OPM's Role in 
Background Investigations. GAO/T-GGD-95-185. Washington, D.C.: June 14, 
1995.

Security Clearances: Consideration of Sexual Orientation in the 
Clearance Process. GAO/NSIAD-95-21. Washington, D.C.: March 24, 1995.

Background Investigations: Impediments to Consolidating Investigations 
and Adjudicative Functions. GAO/NSIAD-95-101. Washington, D.C.: March 
24, 1995.

Managing DOE: Further Review Needed of Suspensions of Security 
Clearances for Minority Employees. GAO/RCED-95-15. Washington, D.C.: 
December 8, 1994.

Personnel Security Investigations. GAO/NSIAD-94-135R. Washington, D.C.: 
March 4, 1994.

Classified Information: Costs of Protection Are Integrated With Other 
Security Costs. GAO/NSIAD-94-55. Washington, D.C.: October 20, 1993.

Nuclear Security: DOE's Progress on Reducing Its Security Clearance 
Work Load. GAO/RCED-93-183. Washington, D.C.: August 12, 1993.

Personnel Security: Efforts by DOD and DOE to Eliminate Duplicative 
Background Investigations. GAO/RCED-93-23. Washington, D.C.: May 10, 
1993.

Administrative Due Process: Denials and Revocations of Security 
Clearances and Access to Special Programs. GAO/T-NSIAD-93-14. 
Washington, D.C.: May 5, 1993.

DOD Special Access Programs: Administrative Due Process Not Provided 
When Access Is Denied or Revoked. GAO/NSIAD-93-162. Washington, D.C.: 
May 5, 1993.

Security Clearances: Due Process for Denials and Revocations by 
Defense, Energy, and State. GAO/NSIAD-92-99. Washington, D.C.: May 6, 
1992.

Due Process: Procedures for Unfavorable Suitability and Security 
Clearance Actions. GAO/NSIAD-90-97FS. Washington, D.C.: April 23, 1990.

Weaknesses in NRC's Security Clearance Program. GAO/T-RCED-89-14. 
Washington, D.C.: March 15, 1989.

Nuclear Regulation: NRC's Security Clearance Program Can Be 
Strengthened. GAO/RCED-89-41. Washington, D.C.: December 20, 1988.

Nuclear Security: DOE Actions to Improve the Personnel Clearance 
Program. GAO/RCED-89-34. Washington, D.C.: November 9, 1988.

Nuclear Security: DOE Needs a More Accurate and Efficient Security 
Clearance Program. GAO/RCED-88-28. Washington, D.C.: December 29, 1987.

National Security: DOD Clearance Reduction and Related Issues. GAO/ 
NSIAD-87-170BR. Washington, D.C.: September 18, 1987.

Oil Reserves: Proposed DOE Legislation for Firearm and Arrest Authority 
Has Merit. GAO/RCED-87-178. Washington, D.C.: August 11, 1987.

Embassy Blueprints: Controlling Blueprints and Selecting Contractors 
for Construction Abroad. GAO/NSIAD-87-83. Washington, D.C.: April 14, 
1987.

Security Clearance Reinvestigations of Employees Has Not Been Timely at 
the Department of Energy. GAO/T-RCED-87-14. Washington, D.C.: April 9, 
1987.

Improvements Needed in the Government's Personnel Security Clearance 
Program. Washington, D.C.: April 16, 1985.

Need for Central Adjudication Facility for Security Clearances for Navy 
Personnel. GAO/GGD-83-66. Washington, D.C.: May 18, 1983.

Effect of National Security Decision Directive 84, Safeguarding 
National Security Information. GAO/NSIAD-84-26. Washington, D.C.: 
October 18, 1983.

Faster Processing of DOD Personnel Security Clearances Could Avoid 
Millions in Losses. GAO/GGD-81-105. Washington, D.C.: September 15, 
1981. 

(350866): 

[End of section] 

FOOTNOTES

[1] GAO, DOD Personnel: More Consistency Needed in Determining 
Eligibility for Top Secret Security Clearances, GAO-01-465 (Washington, 
D.C.: Apr. 18, 2001); GAO, DOD Personnel: More Actions Needed to 
Address Backlog of Security Clearance Reinvestigations, GAO/NSIAD-00- 
215 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 24, 2000); and GAO, DOD Personnel: 
Inadequate Personnel Security Investigations Pose National Security 
Risks, GAO/NSIAD-00-12 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 27, 1999).

[2] GAO, DOD Personnel Clearances: Additional Steps Can Be Taken to 
Reduce Backlogs and Delays in Determining Security Clearance 
Eligibility for Industry Personnel, GAO-04-632 (Washington, D.C.: May 
26, 2004); and GAO, DOD Personnel Clearances: DOD Needs to Overcome 
Impediments to Eliminating Backlog and Determining Its Size, GAO-04-344 
(Washington, D.C.: Feb. 9, 2004).

[3] GAO, DOD Personnel Clearances: Government Plan Addresses Some 
Longstanding Problems with DOD's Program, But Concerns Remain, GAO-06- 
233T (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 9, 2005); GAO, DOD Personnel Clearances: 
Some Progress Has Been Made but Hurdles Remain to Overcome the 
Challenges That Led to GAO's High-Risk Designation, GAO-05-842T 
(Washington, D.C.: June 28, 2005); and GAO, Intelligence Reform: Human 
Capital Considerations Critical to 9/11 Commission's Proposed Reforms, 
GAO-04-1084T (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 14, 2004). 

[4] We identified 22 other agencies in GAO-04-632. Executive Order No. 
10865, Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry, Feb. 20, 
1960, which was amended by Executive Order No. 12829, National 
Industrial Security Program, Jan. 6, 1993, authorizes DOD to reach 
agreement with other federal departments and agencies to extend its 
regulations concerning authorizations for access to classified 
information by industry. The agencies that have entered into agreements 
with DOD for security services under the National Industrial Security 
Program are the (1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (2) 
Department of Commerce, (3) General Services Administration, (4) 
Department of State, (5) Small Business Administration, (6) National 
Science Foundation, (7) Department of Treasury, (8) Department of 
Transportation, (9) Department of the Interior, (10) Department of 
Agriculture, (11) Department of Labor, (12) Environmental Protection 
Agency, (13) Department of Justice, (14) Federal Reserve System, (15) 
U.S. Government Accountability Office (formerly U.S. General Accounting 
Office), (16) U.S. Trade Representative, (17) U.S. International Trade 
Commission, (18) U.S. Agency for International Development, (19) 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (20) Department of Health and Human 
Services, (21) Department of Homeland Security, and (22) Department of 
Education. The Department of Energy and the Central Intelligence Agency 
are signatories of the National Industrial Security Program Operating 
Manual and thus have reciprocity with DOD under provisions of the 
manual. Three federal agencies (the Department of Energy, the Central 
Intelligence Agency, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission) also may grant 
security clearances to industry personnel who work on national security-
related programs. 

[5] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-05-207 (Washington, D.C.: 
January 2005).

[6] Currently the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence 
Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office each have a waiver that 
allows them to contract for their own personnel security clearance 
investigations.

[7] In GAO-05-842T, we listed the departments/agencies having statutory 
or delegated authority to conduct background investigations, as 
identified by the then Deputy Associate Director of OPM's Center for 
Investigations Services. Those departments/agencies are Central 
Intelligence Agency; Department of State; Department of the Treasury; 
Internal Revenue Service; Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Federal 
Bureau of Investigation; National Security Agency; U.S. Agency for 
International Development; Department of Homeland Security; Bureau of 
Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; Small Business 
Administration; Broadcasting Board of Governors; Department of Justice-
-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Postal 
Service; Tennessee Valley Authority; National Reconnaissance Office; 
and Peace Corps. Even though these agencies have authority to conduct 
their own investigations, some of them request OPM to conduct all or 
part of their investigations.

[8] The general steps required to remove DOD's personnel security 
clearance program from the high-risk list are summarized in GAO-06- 
233T.

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We identified 22 other agencies in GAO-04-632. Executive Order No. 
10865, Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry, Feb. 20, 
1960, which was amended by Executive Order No. 12829, National 
Industrial Security Program, Jan. 6, 1993, authorizes DOD to reach 
agreement with other federal departments and agencies to extend its 
regulations concerning authorizations for access to classified 
information by industry. The agencies that have entered into agreements 
with DOD for security services under the National Industrial Security 
Program are the (1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (2) 
Department of Commerce, (3) General Services Administration, (4) 
Department of State, (5) Small Business Administration, (6) National 
Science Foundation, (7) Department of Treasury, (8) Department of 
Transportation, (9) Department of the Interior, (10) Department of 
Agriculture, (11) Department of Labor, (12) Environmental Protection 
Agency, (13) Department of Justice, (14) Federal Reserve System, (15) 
U.S. Government Accountability Office (formerly U.S. General Accounting 
Office), (16) U.S. Trade Representative, (17) U.S. International Trade 
Commission, (18) U.S. Agency for International Development, (19) 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (20) Department of Health and Human 
Services, (21) Department of Homeland Security, and (22) Department of 
Education. The Department of Energy and the Central Intelligence Agency 
are signatories of the National Industrial Security Program Operating 
Manual and thus have reciprocity with DOD under provisions of the 
manual. Three federal agencies (the Department of Energy, the Central 
Intelligence Agency, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission) also may grant 
security clearances to industry personnel who work on national security-
related programs.