What Does the Personnel Security Process Entail?

By LaShawn Douglas


The concept of processing personnel security clearance requests is pretty straightforward. A prospective employee will require access to sensitive information, so the Government initiates an investigation to determine whether to grant access. The process happens in three steps:

  1.     Initiation
  2.     Investigation
  3.     Adjudication

Streamlining the amount of time it takes to complete the end-to-end vetting process continues to be a top Government-wide priority. 

The U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled “High Risk: Government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Process” which highlights challenges in the timely processing of clearances. The report states that the security clearance process was designated as a high-risk area in January 2018. The report focuses on three significant challenges related to (1) the timely process of clearances, (2) measuring investigation quality, and (3) ensuring IT security. The report also indicates that some agencies have made progress reforming the security clearance process, but long-standing key initiatives remain incomplete. 

Stay with Big Sky as we travel through the personnel security clearance process, and help to provide resources for balancing readiness and risk when making personnel vetting decisions. Our upcoming blog series will focus on efficiency without sacrificing quality, with a look into how government agencies can optimize the end-to-end vetting process, beginning with stakeholder journey mapping.