2022 to be Consequential Year for Security Clearance Reform

2022 to be Consequential Year for Security Clearance Reform

2022 to be Consequential Year for Security Clearance Reform

On March 1, INSA partnered with George Mason University’s National Security Institute and ClearanceJobs to host “What’s Next for Security Clearance Reform?”, a powerful panel discussion on security clearance reform, progress, and outlook for the year ahead. The panel was moderated by INSA Chair Tish Long and featured Senator Mark Warner, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Jason Miller, Deputy Director for Management, OMB, and Chair, Performance Accountability Council; Stu Shea, President and CEO, Peraton; and Carey Smith, President and CEO, Parsons Corporation. This in-person event was hosted at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington, DC, and brought together leaders across government, industry, and academia, emphasizing the importance of revamping the security clearance process.

Discussion topics included progress on the Trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative, implementation of continuous evaluation/vetting, steps to improve personnel mobility, and the imperative of recruiting and retaining talent in the intelligence and national security sectors.

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“Security clearance is a national security issue,” said Sen. Warner. “I need some more allies. We got to recruit the best and brightest in the Intelligence Community, and we need to make this a more seamless process. We are a work in progress, and I look forward to working with the administration to finish the job.” Sen. Warner also highlighted the importance of having legislation in place for government to share information with the private sector, especially concerning insider threats.

Mr. Miller provided an overview of clearance reform to date, and shared insights into how these initiatives are successfully executed. “It is soup to nuts reform,” he stated. As one of the most significant government reforms in years, Mr. Miller said it requires a choreographed effort across a broad set of agencies. In particular, he noted the criticality of bringing and retaining talent. Mr. Miller stated 2022 is the “most significant, most consequential year for personnel vetting reform.” Equipped with a road map for implementation, security clearance reform will drive forward in the year ahead.

From an industry perspective, Ms. Smith stated Trusted Workforce 2.0 can assist with hiring and retainment challenges in the private sector, but the onboarding time still needs to be cut down. Ms. Smith reiterated the necessity of clearing interns to assist with speeding up the hiring process; otherwise, that talent is lost to other companies offering much higher salaries.

Mr. Shea also offered recommendations from the commercial side, noting the critical role of technology in speeding up the clearance process. Mr. Shea noted that less than 1% of personnel get denied a clearance. “You are five times more likely to get into Harvard than to have a security clearance revoked,” he said. “The reality is we need a technology solution. How do we use tech to do data analytics to correlate and analyze information that already exists?”

In closing, Ms. Long emphasized a common theme of the panel discussion: “We are never going to be at zero risk. It is always going to be risk mitigation. It is risk mitigation, not risk avoidance.”

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