Defense Security Service re-opens for clearance business

The Defense Department earlier this week resumed taking applications from contractors for all types of personnel security-clearance investigations, after it had suspended processing for almost two and a half months.

The Defense Security Service's announcement, issued Monday, said that the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office began accepting applications for all initial investigations at the top secret, secret and confidential levels.

DSS instructed industry to submit its most urgent security-clearance applications first during the next few weeks to prevent an unmanageable glut of requests.

Because a large number of requests is expected, the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office has increased staff hours to accommodate the workload, the announcement said.

The Defense Security Service stopped processing in late April and early May because of a lack of funding and a high volume of requests. The service furnishes security support services to federal government defense contractors and other authorized recipients.

Robert Andrews, deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence and security, testified before a House Committee for Government Reform hearing May 17 that the Defense Department would set up a central oversight office within DSS to prevent the security-clearance processing crisis from reoccurring.

Also at the hearing, which examined why the Defense Department abruptly stopped processing security-clearance applications, members of industry proposed a comprehensive, legislative overhaul of the process.

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