• United States



by Dave Gradijan

ITAA: Background Checks May Overwhelm OPM

Mar 10, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Mandating complete background checks for all federal contractors working for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will likely overwhelm the organization, which already has an ever-increasing pile-up of these reviews, according to the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), Federal Computer Week (FCW) reports.

This observation comes from an ITAA letter written to the General Services Administration (GSA), requesting it to examine the impact of an interim rule that makes mandatory background checks of federal contractors a part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, according to FCW.

“This interim rule will add hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new investigations to a process that is only now getting increased attention and resources,” the ITAA wrote in the letter, according to FCW.

The organization asked the GSA to consider revising the rule so that agencies will have to estimate the cost and manpower that’s needed to run the background checks should the rule be approved, FCW reports.

Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, agencies are required to issue interoperable identification cards to all federal workers and contractors by Oct. 27 of this year. As a part of that card issuance process, all workers and contractors are required to undergo specific background investigations.

For more on HSPD-12, read The Access Control Race.

ITAA thinks HSPD-12 and the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201 within HSPD-12 are effective, but it fears the directive will lead to an unmanageable workload for the OPM, according to FCW.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report earlier this month assessing agencies’ FIPS 201 compliance. Read GAO: Fed. Agencies Face HSPD-12 Challenges for more on that report.

According to FCW, the ITAA report said, “The president cannot request, and the Congress cannot provide, sufficient funding and personnel resources for the investigative services.”

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