Wednesday, February 20, 2008

118 Days, On Average, To Get Clearance (WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday (Thanks, Victoria!) that the average time it took to get a clearance had increased from 106 days last year to 118 days this year but that plans were in the making to shave 44 days from the process by the end of next year. The article also indicated that Pentagon employees receive their clearances in and average of 104 days while outside contractors take 151 days to complete.

DNI Mike McConnell has been complaining about the delays in processing security clearances since before he was the DNI and began his tenure as DNI with calls for reform in the process. In fact, modernizing the security clearance process is a core initiative of the DNI's 500 Day Plan. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (which the 500 Day Plan adopts as its metric) calls for the community to have 80% of its clearances complete within 120 days. The DNI has to be concerned that the trend is moving in the wrong direction and that there are still substantial, identifiable groups where the time frame is well outside the 120 day window (For a recent GAO report on progress in security clearance reform, click here).

1 comment:

Face of Spades said...

I attended IntelCon three years ago and had lunch with a table full of intelligence professionals bemoaning the very same thing.

One of the speakers at that conference mentioned a centralized office in charge of clearances. However, in light of the vastly different standards and requirements among the agencies (the FBI's trash being the CIA's treasure and so forth), such a plan doesn't seem possible.

Cutting the clearance turnaround time nearly in half seems ambitious to the point of absurd. I wish the DNI all the best, though.