Employment is on hold for around 165 individuals due to a backlog in the Federal background checks process. Conditional offers are currently collecting dust at Electric Boat. According to the company though it is difficult to quantify as offers (employment) does fluctuate month by month. This therefore directly affects the number of federal background checks. The Metal Trade Council, which represents workers suggest the number may be higher. Those awaiting clearance put at upwards to 200. MTC represents around 2,500 boiler makers, professional and office employees, machinists, pipe fitters, laborers, teamsters, painters and electricians at Electric Boat’s ship yard in Groton. The backlog of federal background checks is severely frustrating individuals anxious to commence work. The length of time is seen as implausible.
According to the OPM a (first) security clearance classed as ‘secret’ takes around 123 days. A ‘top secret’ clearance around 175 days average. Investigations are far more protracted for ‘top secret’ investigations, However a mandate from 2004 (to the extent practical) that 90% of all federal background checks should take no longer than 40 days. For top secret investigations this rises to no more than 80 days. A spokesman for Electric Boat confirms they are in receipt of most clearances within 30 to 40 days. This has though, fluctuated wildly, from 7 to 90 days. Electric Boat are attempting to make allowances for the Federal background checks by reducing the time involved to make employemnt offers.
Also plagued by issues and backlogs is the new National Background Investigations Bureau. Brought in by Obama to speed up and improve the background check process which went live on October 1st. The NBIB will be the primary source of federal background checks. The new agency will provide automated databases and exchanges offering improved access to criminal records. Allied to the Defense Dept this will also allow for enhanced IT security. Electric Boat has taken on 1,400 to date this year and hiring continues at a “brisk pace” foreseeable through to end 2017.