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FCW : February 2016
The Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Services, which currently handles some 95 percent of federal background investigations, will be absorbed by a new joint venture: the National Background Investiga- tions Bureau. The Obama administration’s fiscal 2017 budget request will include $95 million in dedicated IT development funding for the new agency. NBIB will report to OPM’s director, but the Defense Department will handle the new bureau’s IT operations. “We needed to balance the need for real change with keeping an enter- prisewide mindset, leveraging the good work that OPM has already done,” said Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordina- tor. “Simply moving this organization would not necessarily make for real significant change.” One of the leading Capitol Hill critics of OPM, however, was not impressed. “Simply creating a new government entity doesn’t solve the problem,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair- man of the House Oversight and Gov- ernment Reform Committee. “[The] announcement seems aimed only at White House announces new agency to handle federal background checks days is the average time a cyber breach goes undetected 205 Trending solving a perception problem rather than tackling the reforms needed to fix a broken security clearance process.” But the move was welcomed by committee member Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who has previously called for security clearance processing to be taken away from OPM. “I am encouraged by today’s announcement that the administra- tion will be implementing much-needed changes to the way our government protects what has been described as the ‘crown jewels’ of intelligence: the background investigations of Ameri- cans with security clearances,” Lieu said on Jan. 22. And although the specific structure is a new development, the government has been exploring ways to automate and improve security clearance inves- tigations since at least 2011, and in the wake of last year’s massive OPM breach, the Obama administration pushed a 90-day review of the process. In the near term, the interagency Performance Accountability Council, which is charged with fulfilling the Obama administration’s goal of reform- ing the security clearance process and automating insider threat detection, will set up a transition team to help FIS become NBIB. No target date has been given for the switchover, but U.S. CIO Tony Scott said the government is aiming for a seamless transition. The Office of Management and Bud- get, a lead player in the Performance Accountability Council, did not say whether a new line of business dedi- cated to automated investigations had been set up or would be soon. — Zach Noble FCW CALENDAR Cybersecurity NIST’s Matthew Barrett, DOD’s Richard Hale and DHS’ Phyllis Schneck are among the speakers at this FCW event on finding a more unified approach to federal cybersecurity. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/cybersecurity2016 Cybersecurity The Suits and Spooks conference brings together a range of industry and government cybersecurity experts for two days of discussions on emerging threats. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCWsuits_spooks 2 /17 2 /11-12 Women in tech GSA’s Phaedra Chrousos, EPA’s Ann Dunkin and NASA’s Renee Wynn are among the speakers at this AFFIRM-sponsored panel discussion on women IT leaders in government. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCWwomen_in_tech 2 /18 “Simply moving [OPM’s Federal Investigative Services] would not necessarily make for real significant change.” — MICHAEL DANIEL, WHITE HOUSE February 2016 FCW.COM 3 0216fcw_003-010.indd 3 1/28/16 12:44 PM
March 15, 2016