Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Personnel security"

    2 publications with a total of 17 open recommendations
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider reinstating the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004's requirement for the executive branch to report annually to appropriate committees of Congress on the amount of time required by authorized investigative and adjudicative agencies to conduct investigations, adjudicate cases, and grant initial personnel security clearances. Congress should also consider adding to this reporting requirement the amount of time required to investigate and adjudicate periodic reinvestigations and any other information deemed relevant, such as the status of the investigation backlog and implementing government-wide measures for the quality of investigations or other reform efforts. (Matter for Consideration 1)

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions Congress has taken in response to this matter, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of National Intelligence, in his capacity as Security Executive Agent, and in coordination with the other Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council Principals--the Deputy Director for Management of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in his capacity as Chair of the PAC, the Director of OPM, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence--should establish a milestone for the completion of government-wide performance measures for the quality of investigations. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of National Intelligence, in his capacity as Security Executive Agent, and in coordination with the other Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council Principals--the Deputy Director for Management of OMB in his capacity as Chair of the PAC, the Director of OPM, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence--should conduct an evidence-based review of the investigation and adjudication timeliness objectives for completing the fastest 90 percent of initial secret and initial top secret security clearances.(Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of National Intelligence, in his capacity as Security Executive Agent, and in coordination with the other Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council Principals--the Deputy Director for Management of OMB in his capacity as Chair of the PAC, the Director of OPM, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence--should develop a government-wide plan, including goals and interim milestones, to meet those timeliness objectives for initial personnel security clearance investigations and adjudications. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NBIB, in coordination with the Deputy Director for Management of OMB, in the capacity as Chair of the PAC, and the Director of National Intelligence, in the capacity as Security Executive Agent, should develop a plan, including goals and milestones, that includes a determination of the effect of the business process reengineering efforts for reducing the backlog to a "healthy" inventory of work, representing approximately 6 weeks of work. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management: National Background Investigations Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NBIB, in coordination with the Deputy Director for Management of OMB, in the capacity as Chair of the PAC, and the Director of National Intelligence, in the capacity as Security Executive Agent, should establish goals for increasing total investigator capacity--federal employees and contractor personnel--in accordance with the plan for reducing the backlog of investigations. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management: National Background Investigations Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NBIB should build upon NBIB's current workforce planning efforts by developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic workforce plan that focuses on what workforce and organizational needs and changes will enable the bureau to meet the current and future demand for its services. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management: National Background Investigations Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, when we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    10 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the respective DHS and DOD data systems contain sufficiently complete and accurate information to facilitate effective oversight of the personnel security clearance revocation and appeal process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to take steps to ensure that data are recorded and updated in the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) and the department's new systems, so that the relevant fields are filled.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open pending the department's fielding of an updated Defense Information System for Security (DISS). According to an update provided by DOD, DISS will contain an Appeals application that includes a variety of data fields to capture revocation and appeals related data. GAO will monitor fielding of the new system, and the migration of data from JPAS to DISS.
    Recommendation: To help ensure independence and the efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD General Counsel to first, resolve the disagreement about the legal authority to consolidate the PSABs (Personnel Security Appeals Board) and, in collaboration with the PSABs and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, address any other obstacles to consolidating DOD's PSABs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open because DOD has not yet addressed any obstacles related to consolidating Personnel Security Appeals Boards. On July 10, 2015, DOD Office of General Counsel issued a memo stating that there is no legal obstacle to co-location or consolidation of the Services' Personnel Security Appeal Boards (PSABs) within the Defense Legal Services Agency. The memo further requested that the Director, Defense Personnel Security and Research Center, to do further assessment, after which the DoD OGC, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, will consider whether any further actions should be taken. According to DOD officials, in response to that memo, the Defense Personnel Security and Research Center currently is conducting a study to, among other things, assess the efficiency opportunities for co-locating or consolidating the Personnel Security Appeals Boards. DOD estimated this study will be completed in the spring of 2018. GAO will continue to monitor DOD's response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that all employees within DOD receive the same rights during the revocation process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to revise Secretary of the Navy Manual M-5510.30 to specify that any information collected by the Navy PSAB from the employee's command will be shared with the employee, who will also be given the opportunity to respond to any such information provided.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open. According to officials from the Undersecretary of Defense (Intelligence), Navy Manual M-5510.30 and Navy Instruction 5510.30C have been updated and are now being coordinated throughout the Department of the Navy. The Navy expects to issue its revised Manual by June 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure independence and the efficient use of resources, and, if the General Counsel determines that there are no legal impediments and that other obstacles to consolidation can be addressed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Legal Services Agency to take steps to implement the Secretary of Defense's direction to consolidate DOD's PSABs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open because, as noted in a prior recommendation, DOD has not yet identified or addressed obstacles to consolidating the Personnel Security Appeals Boards (PSABs), despite having determined that there are no legal obstacles to consolidation. Officials from the Defense Personnel Security and Research Center noted that their ongoing study, which is expected to be completed in spring 2018, will include a focus on independence, transparency, and accountability, and noted that co-location or consolidation under the Defense Legal Services Agency could streamline and simplify the goals of transparency and accountability. The officials further noted that if adjudication consolidation made sense for reasons of oversight and best practices in addition to efficiencies, it follows that consolidating the PSABs could make just as much sense. This recommendation will remain open until DOD takes steps to consolidate the PSABs.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that all employees within DOD receive the same rights during the revocation process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise Army Regulation 380-67 to specify that any information collected by the Army PSAB from the employee's command or by the Army PSAB itself will be shared with the employee, who will also be given the opportunity to respond to any such information provided.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open pending a finalized version of Army Regulation 380-67. According to a DOD update to this recommendation, a major revision to Army Regulation AR 380-67, "Army Personnel Security Program," incorporates Personnel Security Appeal Boards (PSAB's) requirement to provide any documents it obtains, after receipt of a personnel security file, to the subject who will be allowed a reasonable period of time to respond prior to PSAB rendering a final decision. AR 380-67 is undergoing review and had not been finalized as of December 2017. GAO will monitor the status of this regulation and assess whether the revised regulation meets the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that all employees are treated fairly and receive the protections established in the executive order, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, to revise the Coast Guard instruction for military personnel to specify that military personnel may be represented by counsel or other representatives at their own expense.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, we have no updated information from the Coast Guard on this recommendation and it remains open. As of summer 2016, in response to our recommendation, the Commandant of the Coast Guard issued a policy message stating that individuals may have counsel or other representative present at the service member's own expense. According to a Coast Guard official, this message serves as interim guidance until the personnel security manual can be finalized. As of August 2017, this official estimated that the manual will be updated in the early part of fiscal year 2018. This recommendation will remain open until the Coast Guard finalizes the update to its manual in accordance with our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To facilitate department-wide review and assessment of the quality of the personnel security clearance revocation process, the DNI should, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, develop performance measures to better enable them to identify and resolve problems, and direct the collection of related revocation and appeals information.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, ODNI has not taken action on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions DNI has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To facilitate coordination between personnel security and human capital offices regarding how a security clearance revocation should affect an employee's employment status, and to help ensure that individuals are treated in a fair and consistent manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, to review and revise policy regarding coordination between the personnel security and human capital offices to clarify what information can and should be communicated between human capital and personnel security officials at specified decision points in the revocation process, and when that information should be communicated.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open pending the department's issuance of pertinent guidance. According to DOD, officials from DOD's Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Intelligence) planned to meet with officials from DOD's Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) in December 2017 to review and revise policy regarding coordination between the personnel security and human capital office to clarify what information can and should be communicated.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the DNI report to Congress contains accurate data about the number of current DOD military and federal civilian employees eligible to access classified information, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to review and analyze the discrepancies in the total number of employees and the number of employees eligible to access classified information, and take immediate steps to address the problems.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, this recommendation remains open pending the department's fielding of an updated Defense Information System for Security (DISS). Officials from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I) stated that there is an annual or quarterly service specific personnel center synchronization effort to match the data in JPAS and the personnel centers. In addition, OUSD(I) and DMDC have used Data Quality Initiatives (DQIs) to enhance the completeness and accuracy of JPAS data prior to DISS migration, according to DOD. Since publication of our report through December 2017, DMDC has conducted 413 DQIs to evaluate and correct data anomalies in JPAS. Further, on a monthly basis, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)), the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), DOD components, and industry participate in a meeting which addresses actions to improve the accuracy of information in JPAS. GAO will monitor fielding of the new system and in the process of validating DOD officials' statements that discrepancies have been substantially resolved.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that similarly situated individuals are treated consistently, and to facilitate oversight and help ensure the quality of the security clearance revocation process, the DNI should review whether the existing security clearance revocation process is the most efficient and effective approach. In this review, the DNI should consider whether there should be a single personnel security clearance revocation process used across all executive-branch agencies and workforces, with consideration of areas such as the timing of the personal appearance in the revocation process, and the ability to cross-examine witnesses. Further, to the extent that a single process or changes to the existing parallel processes are warranted, the DNI should consider whether there is a need to establish any policies and procedures to facilitate a more consistent process, and recommend as needed any revisions to existing executive orders or other executive-branch guidance.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, ODNI had not taken action on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions DNI has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.