Which agencies are poorest in contractor clearance reciprocity?

Despite recent initiatives and established laws, new survey finds security clearance reciprocity remains a major problem for federal contractors.

Security clearance reciprocity remains a major problem for federal contractors, despite recent initiatives and established reciprocity laws, according a new survey released Friday by TechAmerica, a trade association representing more than 1,000 companies.

Of the companies surveyed, 96 percent reported having trouble transferring cleared personnel between agency contracts.

The worst offender, according to the responses, was the Homeland Security Department. Almost three quarters (74 percent) said DHS was the most difficult to deal with for clearance reciprocity.

The other agencies cited were: Non-DOD intell agencies, 63 percent; Justice Department, 33 percent, Defense Department, 7 percent, and other agencies, 30 percent.

There was overwhelmingly agreement from the respondents that improved adherence to reciprocity laws would lower company costs, increase company effectiveness and efficiency, and improve their ability to recruit highly skilled personnel.

Respondents said more streamlined reciprocity would directly translate into improved cost effectiveness, higher quality and a better value proposition for the federal government and ultimately for taxpayers.

“While the survey did identify some areas of improvement, the results were stark and clear. Federal agencies are not adhering to existing clearance reciprocity laws, resulting in massive inefficiencies in time, effort and money. The U.S. government is squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on a redundant clearance system,” Greg Keeley, TechAmerica vice president of defense, intelligence and homeland security policy, said in the announcement.

TechAmerica said the survey results follow House passage of the FY 2013 Intelligence Authorization Bill which, in part, directs the president to develop within 180 days a strategy and timeline to establish working guidance for reciprocity of security clearances between government departments and the specific circumstances under which an agency would not recognize a security clearance issued by another department.