President-elect Donald Trump’s suggested hiring freeze on the federal workforce could have major implications for federal contractors. With possible plans to cut the size of the federal workforce through attrition and retirements, some contractors say industry may have to shoulder more of the workload, since the capability requirements won’t change even as government shrinks.
The Office of Personnel Management is behind on its background security checks and retirement claims processing for fiscal 2016. In the agency’s financial report, OPM acting Director Beth Cobert pledges a continued effort to make up the difference through a variety of efforts like new contracts and using electronic records.
Federal employees and contractors waited hundreds of days in some cases for a security clearance in 2016, but the Office of Personnel Management spent much of the year putting the policy pieces in place for improvement. Key stakeholders in the Performance Accountability Council developed an IT plan for the new background investigation system and issued business rules for adjudicating some cases.
Current and former counterintelligence officials say there is no known evidence so far that a victim of the Office of Personnel Management’s cyber breaches has been specifically targeted. Instead, the public’s loss of trust in OPM and government as a whole has been the biggest damage done after the breaches.
The Defense Department is strongly urging lawmakers to give it the authority to resume responsibility for its own security clearance process. Lawmakers, however, are skeptical.
In a special report, “Is splitting the security clearance process destined for failure?” Federal News Radio explores how a small provision in the 2018 defense authorization bill could have major repercussions on the background investigations backlog and could put the future of the National Background Investigations Bureau in question.