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Sequester Changes Rules on DoD Contractor Background Reinvestigations

May. 7, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JIM McELHATTON   |   Comments

Citing sequester and budget challenges, the arm of the Defense Department overseeing security clearances for contractors is cutting how much time people have to request so-called periodic reinvestigations.

Known as PRIs, periodic reinvestigations are updated background checks to ensure people with security clearances are still fit to hold them.

The Defense Security Service says it will now accept PRI requests from industry only 30 days before the anniversary of a person’s clearance investigation anniversary date. Previously, people had 90 days to submit a request.

The decision essentially defers costs of some investigations until next fiscal year. Under the previous 90-day window, a person who needs a PRI by Nov. 1 could submit a request as early as July, meaning DSS would incur the cost this fiscal year for a PRI not due until next fiscal year. Under the new 30-day limitation, that’s no longer possible; the request would not be accepted until Oct. 1 — the beginning of fiscal 2014.

DSS had no budget figures immediately available on how much the move would save.

OPM handles the vast majority of such clearance checks for the Defense Department. DSS incurs a cost each time it requests OPM conduct a PRI.

In a report last year, the Government Accountability Office found the base price for a top secret clearance investigation conducted by OPM was $4,005 and the PRI was $2,711. Overall, DSS expects to receive about 65,000 requests this year, according to a DSS spokeswoman.

“We’re still going to process all the requests we get and we’re not going to hold any back,” DSS spokeswoman Cindy McGovern said. “We have to manage our resources; we have look at when we’re obligating the funds.”

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