Secrecy News

Suitability and Security Clearance Reform

A proposed new federal rule would require executive branch agencies to accept the “suitability” determinations made by other agencies in hiring federal employees. This is a longstanding policy goal, known as “reciprocity,” that has been endorsed for decades but never fully implemented.

Suitability refers to a judgment that a potential employee is not disqualified from government service by a criminal record, a pattern of drug abuse, or other factors.

“This proposed rule is one of a number of initiatives the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has undertaken to simplify and streamline the system of Federal Government investigative and adjudicative processes to make them more efficient and as equitable as possible.”

An interagency working group reported to the President in April on the elusive goal of security clearance reform, another perennial pursuit. See “Security and Suitability Process Reform” (pdf), April 30, 2008.

Recent activity on security clearances was reported in “Back to square one on clearances” by Florence Olsen, Federal Computer Week, June 16, 2008.

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