The beleaguered background check investigation Bureau (NBIB) appears to be a tanker that is slowly being turned. The first director (January) has the remit to restore some credibility to the national program. The background check investigation service has suffered from embarrassing lapses, backlogs and a major contractor pre occupied with cutting corners for profit than delivering the service it was paid for. The background check firm USIS agreed a $30 million fraud settlement as reported on the 20th August 2015. The new director was with the CIA for 30 years joining in 1981. He will need to draw on all his experience to restore confidence to a system that has been left reeling by prior events. The lawsuit revealed USIS had either dumped or failed 665,000 background check investigation reviews. The lawsuit led to the bankruptcy of USIS. The contractor was also responsible for background checks on Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis.
The bureau now requires accountability and transparency to transform itself in to a background check investigation process that better secures national security. The OPM though have received warnings and questions over the agency’s structure. Will the NBIB end up on the high risk list due to backlogs and delays. However the OPM have confirmed there will be staff numbering 8,500. Contractors will account for around two thirds. The transitional period from USIS has compounded the background check investigation backlog now estimated at 500,000. Time line standards and criteria have not been met over a number of quarters. The measures to address the backlog includes he hiring of 400 federal investigators.
The new NBIB director has identified the backlog as a priority. Holes in security clearance and the background check investigation process also cited. Above all national security, above all else, is seen as the priority through 2016 and onwards. The nation’s security directly correlates to American lives. The correct processes and support needs to be in place from day one.
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