Pursuant to an Executive Order (EO) issued April 25, 2019, the Department of Defense (DOD) now will serve as the primary entity for security clearance background investigations, not the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). See, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-transferring-responsibility-background-investigations-department-defense/
This change has been expected. Section 925 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 “requires the Secretary [of Defense], in consultation with the Director of the Oice of Personnel Management, to provide for a phased transition to the Department of Defense of the conduct of such investigations conducted by the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB).” See, EO Section 1. Findings and Purpose.
What happens now is that the Secretary of Defense will rename the Defense Security Service (DSS) as the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) and the DCSA will serve as the primary Federal entity for conducting background investigations for the Federal Government. The time table for this change is that no later than June 24, 2019, the DCSA shall serve as the primary entity for conducting specified background investigations for the Federal Government for determining personnel security, suitability or, for employees in positions not subject to suitability, fitness for Government Employment; fitness to perform work for or on behalf of the Government as a contractor; fitness to work as a nonappropriated fund employee; and authorization to be issued a Federal credential for logical and physical access to federally controlled facilities or information systems.” EO Sec. 2.(c)(iv), Transfer or Delegation of Background Investigation Functions.
A transition period will occur June 24, 2019 to September 30, 2019 to complete the transfer of all designated administrative and operational functions to the Department of Defense. During the transition period, the National Background Investigations Bureau and its personnel may continue to perform background investigations for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.
I represented DOD personnel involved in some of the planning and other functions leading up to this transfer of functions. It is an extraordinary responsibility and undertaking. And additional changes may take place.
For example, the EO provides that no later than July 24, 2019, Council Principals established by the Executive Order “shall review the laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and guidance relating to the Federal Government’s vetting of Federal employees and contractors and shall submit to the President, through the Chair of the Council, a report recommending any appropriate legislative, regulatory, or policy changes, including any such changes to civil service regulations or policies, Executive Order 13467 or Executive Order 13488.”
Stay tuned for further details as this transition continues and hope for reduction in the clearance backlogs. Also, if issues may arise during your background investigation, please consider consulting an experienced personnel security clearance attorney before the Government tells you that you have a problem.