Challenges and Improvements in the Personnel Security Requests Process

By LaShawn Douglas

customer experience

In our previous blogs, we’ve discussed the concept of processing personnel security requests and the stakeholders involved. As government seeks to improve processing times for personnel vetting, we also have an opportunity to improve the customer experience. The June 2019 OMB Circular No. A-11, defines Customer Experience (CX) as:

….a combination of factors that result from touch points between an individual, business, or organization and the Federal Government over the duration of an interaction and relationship. These factors include ease/simplicity, efficiency/speed, and equity/transparency of the process, effectiveness/quality of the service itself, and the helpfulness of service delivery employees.

While the Government should rightfully focus on national security as the primary consideration for personnel vetting decisions, it should also seek to enhance the ease, simplicity, and transparency of the experience for those who engage with the security clearance process such as Security Management Officers and Government/Contractor employees.  While the government has a unique challenge in balancing national security with customer experience, they need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, delivering positive personnel vetting customer experiences can 

  • Deepen the sense of accomplishment and employee engagement for those who provide the personnel vetting “service”
  • Make the government a more attractive employer; and, 
  • Motivate employees and contractors to remain even more committed to compliance with security requirements

Fortunately, there is ample opportunity to make the personnel vetting customer experience better. The Performance Accountability Council,is looking at opportunities to increase processing times. The Office of Government Accountability recommends issuing a reciprocity policy to guide agencies in honoring previously granted clearances by other agencies. As key Government decision makers consider various process and policy actions to increase the efficiency of personnel vetting , how might they also enhance the customer experience??

In order for the Government to transform both the process and experience of personnel vetting, a good place to start is to better understand stakeholder goals, expectations, and touchpoints with service providers.  Our next blog post will examine how to accomplish this with stakeholder journey mapping.