New Changes on Screening Federal Government Employees
The Defense Department had decided to step in and take responsibility for protecting and storing sensitive personal information on millions of federal employees. Until now, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was the entity responsible for housing the data and conducting investigations on federal personnel. The Obama Administration will now create a new agency dedicated to overseeing all background investigations and screening federal government employees. These major changes are in direct response to an internal audit citing how investigations are conducted and information stored by OPM after the recent data breach that the OPM system experienced in the summer of 2014.
The new agency will be called the National Background Investigations Bureau, and will run approximately 600,000 investigations annually for new or renewing security clearances. The head of this new agency will be appointed by the President, and will take over Federal Investigations Services from the OPM. This new office will be responsible for storage of all information gathered with enhanced technology administered by the Pentagon. The new scope of work by the National Background Investigation Bureau will call for a reinvestigation every five years regardless of the access level, and continued monitoring to decide if they meet requirements of eligibility.
The transition will be a long process says Michael Daniel, Cyber Security Coordinator of the National Security Council. “Certainly some of them will occur over 2016…These are some really key changes in our view”. The Obama administration has budgeted $95 million solely for this defense according to the OPM. This is an investment to fix the issue of security breaches. Previously Chinese hackers were able to access information of over 21.5 million current and former federal employees, military personnel, and contract employees. The government has tried to remedy the situation by offering identify monitoring and protection services to those affected.