Background Investigations:

Impediments to Consolidating Investigations and Adjudicative Functions

NSIAD-95-101: Published: Mar 24, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal processes for conducting background investigations, focusing on: (1) the feasibility of one central agency conducting all background investigations; (2) federal agencies' compliance with National Security Directive 63 on single-scope background investigations for top secret clearances; and (3) the costs of obtaining background information and the number of security clearances conducted in 1993.

GAO found that: (1) it may be feasible to have one central agency conduct all background investigations and adjudicative functions; (2) benefits of consolidation would include cost savings, fewer oversight agencies, more consistency in application of standards, and standardized operating procedures and information systems, although it could result in less agency control and would require new legislation; (3) agencies are complying with National Security Directive 63, which eliminates redundant investigative practices for granting individuals access to sensitive information; and (4) in fiscal year 1993, agencies spent $326 million on background investigations.

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