Saturday, March 19, 2005

backlog of security clearances

More than 500,000 federal employees can't do the work the federal government hired them to do beacuase they are waitng for the Office of Personnel Management or the Defense Department to issue them security clearances. This backlog has prevented crime fighting efforts, intelligence analysis,and homeland security procedures. Needed work is not getting done and this is costing hundreds of millions of dollars. New congressional requirements for the Intelligence and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 will enable an agency to oversee the security clearance process. This will be in place at the end of March. By December a database will be developed about federal and contract employees. By December of 2006, 80 perent of the clearances must be done within a 120 day window. Agencies must accept each other's clearances and the agency must grant interim clearances for expediting the clearance process. The Defense Security Service (DDS) uses the pilot Automated Continuing Evaluation System (ACES) for information on military, contract, and federal employees. ACES run under Solaris on a Sun Microsystems Server and stows the data in an Oracle9i database. The ACES test results will enable DDS to issue requests for a contractor to develop a new system by the end of April. ACES currently searches 27 databases.

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