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Senator Lankford Discusses Reforms for Security Clearance in Open Intel Hearing

CLICK HERE to view the video from panel I

CLICK HERE to view the video from panel II

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Security Clearance Reform. The hearing included a two-part panel with witnesses from industry and Executive Branch officials. The purpose of the hearing was to understand the difficulties in the security clearance processes for both government and private industry contractors. Lankford focused his question and answer time on the length of time it takes to hire contractors due to the lack of reciprocity for security clearances between federal agencies. Lankford also pressed witnesses on the length of time it takes to hire a federal employee because the security clearance currently takes up to 150 days. 

Lankford chairs the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management under the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where the subcommittee has extensively examined the federal hiring process and the challenges federal agencies face.

Witnesses for panel one included Kevin Phillips, President and CEO, ManTech; Jane Chappell, Vice President, Intelligence, Information, and Services, Raytheon; Brenda Farrell, Government Accountability Office; David Berteau, President, Professional Services Council. 

Witnesses for panel two included Charlie Phalen, Director, National Background Investigation Bureau (NBIB); Brian Dunbar, Assistant Director for Security, National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC); Garry Reid, Director for Defense Intelligence and Security, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI); Dan Payne, Director, Defense Security Services (DSS), Department of Defense. 


Lankford: You had said first-time approval is still at 150 days. Is that still your assumption? First-time, new person, new hire. 

Reid: That’s the reinvestigation, but currently that is about the same for the initial secret level. 

Lankford: And you assume it’s still going to stay that 150 days? 

Reid: No Sir, that’s the current standard. I don’t today how fast we’ll be able to do a secret. My anticipation is it can be done in a matter of days. There are processes in place now to gain access to certain programs and facilities here, even in the DC area, that runs a series of automated checks that are very thorough and it takes 20-minutes. I don’t know that we are going to be at 20-minutes, and you are always going to have things you have to go check. 

Lankford: …Back to the Chairman’s question when he talked about the 22-year-old when he asked you specific on that, how long is it going to take? That’s when you gave him the answer of 150 days. So I’m trying to be able to assess this.

Reid: No, that is the current standard…

Lankford: Ok, so you are thinking it’s not going to be the 150 days but it could be a couple of weeks? 

Reid: Absolutely. At secret level, absolutely. No reason why that can’t be.