Which agencies are poorest in contractor clearance reciprocity?

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.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

Reader Comments

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 S.

With all the high unemployment this country is suffering from, a shame some of OUR GOVERNMENT agencies have become too eltist, anti-patriotic and less than democratic, by ridiculously preventing thousands of GOOD American people from serving their country in a paid capacity. No wonder why American public opinion of these agencies are at an all-time low!

Mon, Aug 13, 2012

Long-standing problem, and not just with contractor employees. I've had DHS tell me they 'couldn't trust' DoD background checks. Since every single agency and command thinks they are special, and their requirements are unique, laws and policies will be ignored. To me, solution is obvious- take clearances and tracking AWAY from everyone, and common-service it Fed-wide, including DoD.

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 Sioux Taylor Glenns Ferry, Idaho

Can I get an amen on the DHS issue. What an incredible redundant waste this entire agency (DHS) is. They don't "play well with others."

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