PSC Welcomes Executive Order on Transfer of Background Investigations Responsibility  

Arlington, Va. (April 25, 2019)— The Professional Services Council (PSC) welcomed the signing of the executive order transferring security clearance background investigation responsibility from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the Department of Defense (DoD).

“PSC has long held the view that an efficient background investigations process requires a unified approach across the whole of government, and this executive order advances that goal,” said David J. Berteau, PSC president and CEO.

OPM’s National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) was established for that whole-of-government approach in 2016, but under a 2017 law, part of NBIB’s background investigations work was already scheduled to be transferred to DoD. The executive order implements the June 2018 White House management reform agenda to move to DoD the remaining NBIB workload, which supports more than 100 federal agencies and departments.

In the past year, NBIB has succeeded in reducing the backlog of investigations by nearly 30% through process improvements, increased resources, and the use of technology.

“This executive order is another important and necessary step in addressing the many issues still remaining with security clearances and suitability determinations across the entire federal government,” Berteau continued. “While the transfer of responsibility will not solve reciprocity problems, adjudication delays, or the lack of publicly available information from the government, it does offer opportunities for bringing technology and process improvements into the entire personnel vetting process.”

The executive order directs: 
renaming the Defense Security Service (DSS) as the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), which will serve as the primary federal entity for conducting background investigations and overseeing continuous vetting;
OPM and DoD to designate of the support functions to transfer as part of the background investigations mission;
within 60 days, DoD to be able to be prepared to establish and conduct personnel vetting; and
completing the transfer from OPM to DoD by Sept. 30, 2019.    

“PSC and its members stand ready to support this transfer in every way possible,” Berteau said. “Our member companies and their government customers require an efficient and effective personnel vetting system, not only to perform essential work, but also to recruit and retain the necessary workforce.”

Media Contact: 
Ashlei Stevens
Director, Media Relations
703.875.8974 | 
About PSC: PSC is the voice of the government technology and professional services industry. PSC’s nearly 400 member companies represent small, medium and large businesses that provide federal agencies with services of all kinds, including information technology, engineering, logistics, facilities management, operations and maintenance, consulting, international development, scientific, social, environmental services, and more. Together, the trade association’s members employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states. Follow PSC on Twitter @PSCSpeaks. To learn more, visit