Personnel Security:

Efforts by DOD and DOE to Eliminate Duplicative Background Investigations

RCED-93-23: Published: May 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) and Department of Energy's (DOE) compliance with legislative requirements to avoid duplicative background investigations for employees seeking security clearances, focusing on: (1) the effects of automated investigative information exchanges on duplication reduction; and (2) interagency efforts to eliminate duplication and standardize the security clearance process.

GAO found that: (1) DOE and DOD have improved controls to eliminate duplicative background investigations and continued to integrate investigative and clearance databases, but, data reliability problems persist due to a lack of system testing, standardized exchange procedures, and duplicative field office systems; (2) DOE and DOD could realize a savings of $130,000 annually if complete database integration occurs; and (3) although DOE and DOD efforts to address the lack of clearance reciprocity have included participation in the National Industrial Security Program, which is designed to implement single-scope background investigations and standardize federal security requirements, achievement of uniform security requirements could be difficult due to individual agency security requirements and changing historical nonuniform practices.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD consolidation, tighter oversight, and improved automated data controls have enhanced reliability of both DOD and OPM data. Further enhancement of reliability through links to CIA data could take years--this recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of computer data being exchanged to avoid the duplication of background investigations, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should assess and maintain the reliability of their respective investigative databases through appropriate testing and management oversight.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD consolidation, tighter oversight, and improved automated data controls have enhanced reliability of both DOD and OPM data. Further enhancement of reliability through links to CIA data could take years--this recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of computer data being exchanged to avoid the duplication of background investigations, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should assess and maintain the reliability of their respective investigative databases through appropriate testing and management oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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