Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Kay Coles James have signed an agreement to transform the process for personnel security investigations. As part of the FY 2004 budget going forward to Congress, DoD will divest its personnel security investigative function and OPM will offer positions to Defense Security Service (DSS) personnel security investigative personnel.
During the past two years, DoD has successfully partnered with OPM to reduce the investigative workload of the Defense Security Service -- the DoD agency that conducts background investigations. At one point, DSS faced a 500,000-case backlog.
Centralization of this function within the federal government improves security, eliminates duplicative functions and maximizes opportunities for greater cost savings and efficiencies while building on the e-government initiative. These background investigations are used as a basis for determining eligibility for access to classified information and for suitability for federal employment or specific sensitive positions.
The initiative was set in motion by the President's Agenda to make the federal government more citizen-centered and responsive and to reshape organizations to achieve a higher standard of excellence in achieving results.
According to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations, Carol Haave, "The Department of Defense will retain funding and accountability for performance of the personnel security mission for DoD, and will realize savings in the cost of investigations provided by OPM." The DoD will also realize significant savings in personnel costs and planned future information technology investments during the current Future Years Defense Program.
According to Haave, "This is a win-win solution that is in the best interest of everyone - the Department of Defense, the government, and the taxpayers."
The DSS will continue to provide other important security services to the DoD. These will include administration of the national industrial security program for the DoD and 24 other Federal agencies, improved security education, training and awareness for the security community, and automated support for the adjudication of investigations. The industrial security mission and the security education and training missions will be expanded to meet the critical needs of the Department, particularly in the areas of critical infrastructure and technology protection responsibilities.
For more information, see www.opm.gov/pressrel/2003/EG-Investigations.asp> .