Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

115th Congress   }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                     {      115-258

======================================================================



 
 SECURELY EXPEDITING CLEARANCES THROUGH REPORTING TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 
                                  2017

                                _______
                                

 July 25, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Gowdy, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3210]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 3210) to require the Director of 
the National Background Investigations Bureau to submit a 
report on the backlog of personnel security clearance 
investigations, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend 
that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     3
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Roll Call Votes..................................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
Committee Estimate...............................................     5
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     5

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Securely Expediting Clearances Through 
Reporting Transparency Act of 2017'' or the ``SECRET Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. REPORT ON BACKLOG OF PERSONNEL SECURITY CLEARANCE 
                    INVESTIGATIONS.

  Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and 
quarterly thereafter for 5 years, the Director of the National 
Background Investigations Bureau of the Office of Personnel Management 
shall submit to Congress a report on the backlog of security clearance 
investigations that includes--
          (1) the size of the personnel security clearance 
        investigation process backlog; and
          (2) the average length of time, for each sensitivity level, 
        to carry out an initial investigation and a periodic 
        investigation.

SEC. 3. REPORT ON SECURITY CLEARANCE INVESTIGATIONS OF PERSONNEL OF THE 
                    EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.

  Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Director of the National Background Investigations Bureau of the Office 
of Personnel Management shall submit to Congress a report that explains 
the process for conducting and adjudicating security clearance 
investigations for personnel of the Executive Office of the President, 
including White House personnel.

SEC. 4. REPORT ON DUPLICATIVE COSTS.

   Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Director of the National Background Investigations Bureau of the Office 
of Personnel Management shall submit to Congress a report on the cost 
of duplicating resources under the control or direction of the National 
Background Investigations Bureau for implementation of the plan 
referenced in section 951(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization 
Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (10 U.S.C. 1564 note).

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          purpose and summary

    H.R. 3210, the Securely Expediting Clearances Through 
Reporting Transparency Act of 2017 (``SECRET Act''), creates 
basic reporting requirements for the National Background 
Investigations Bureau (NBIB) regarding the current backlog of 
federal security clearance investigations. Specifically, the 
bill requires NBIB to report quarterly on the size of the 
backlog and the average length of an investigation, broken down 
by type of clearance sought.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 3210 is necessary to prevent government inefficiency 
caused by delays in the completion of background investigations 
for current and prospective employees. Prospective federal 
employees frequently cannot start their jobs until their 
clearance process is complete. The delay attributable to the 
backlog causes some promising candidates to find employment 
elsewhere. Contractors face similar backlog-related problems, 
creating a bottleneck that can lead to missed deadlines and 
more waste.
    Up-to-date estimates on the backlog are crucial to 
understanding whether the situation is improving or 
deteriorating. In June 2017, the security clearance 
investigation backlog at NBIB stood at 650,000.\1\ For 
perspective, the entire community of individuals with a federal 
security clearance and access to classified information is 
roughly 2.3 million.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Briefing by Charles Phalen, Director, National Background 
Investigations Bureau, to H. Comm. on Oversight & Gov't Reform Staff 
(June 5, 2017).
    \2\Office of Management and Budget, Insider Threat and Security 
Clearance Reform Cross Agency Priority Goal Quarterly Progress Update, 
FY 2016 Quarter 4, at 18.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 3210 would require NBIB to report quarterly to 
Congress on the size of the backlog and the average time for a 
clearance investigation, by clearance type. The first report 
will be due 90 days after enactment, and the quarterly 
reporting requirement will continue for 5 years. With that 
information, Congress will be able to monitor NBIB's 
performance and evaluate trends over time. That understanding 
will help guide subsequent security clearance reform efforts.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On July 12, 2017, Representative Stephen Knight (R-CA) 
introduced H.R. 3210, the Securely Expediting Clearances 
Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2017, with Representative 
Gerald Connolly (D-VA). H.R. 3210 was referred to the Committee 
on Oversight and Government Reform. The Committee considered 
H.R. 3210 at a business meeting on July 19, 2017 and ordered 
the bill reported favorably, as amended, by voice vote.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    The short title of the bill is the ``Securely Expediting 
Clearances Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2017'' or the 
``SECRET Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Report on backlog of personnel security clearance 
        investigations

    Section 2 requires that the Director of the National 
Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) of the Office of 
Personnel Management submit to Congress a quarterly report 
detailing the backlog of personnel security investigations. 
These reports are to be submitted starting 90 days after the 
enactment of this bill and on a quarterly basis thereafter for 
5 years. Section 2 requires that the report include the size of 
the investigative backlog, which includes the number of 
security clearance investigations that have yet to be 
completed. Section 2 also requires that the quarterly report 
include the average time for an individual investigation 
throughout the personnel security clearance investigation 
process. The report shall break down the data in question by 
clearance and level, as well as type of investigation (initial 
or periodic reinvestigation).

Section 3. Report on security clearance investigations of personnel of 
        the Executive Office of the President

    Section 3 requires that NBIB issue a report within 90 days 
of enactment of the bill explaining the process for conducting 
and adjudicating security clearance investigations for 
personnel within the Executive Office of the President.

Section 4. Report on duplicative costs

    Section 4 requires that NBIB issue a report within 120 days 
of enactment of the bill describing potential duplicative costs 
resulting from a potential transfer of personnel security 
investigation responsibilities from NBIB to the Department of 
Defense, as outlined in a plan to be developed in accordance 
with Section 951(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization 
Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (10 U.S.C. 1564 note).

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Full Committee consideration of the bill, 
Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA) offered an amendment to 
require NBIB to produce a report within 120 days of enactment 
on possible duplicative costs resulting from a potential 
transfer of background investigation responsibilities to the 
Department of Defense (DOD). The National Defense Authorization 
Act of 2017 required DOD to devise and publish a plan for such 
a transfer. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) also offered an 
amendment requiring NBIB to produce a report describing the 
general process by which security clearance investigations are 
conducted and adjudicated for employees of the Executive Office 
of the President. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 19, 2017, the Committee met in open session and, 
with a quorum being present, ordered the bill favorably 
reported, as amended, by voice vote.

                            Roll Call Votes

    There were no roll call votes requested or conducted during 
Full Committee consideration of H.R. 3210.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill requires the Director of the National Background 
Investigations Bureau to submit a report on the backlog of 
personnel security clearance investigations. As such, this bill 
does not relate to employment or access to public services and 
accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goal or objective of this bill is to require the Director of 
the National Background Investigations Bureau to submit a 
report on the backlog of personnel security clearance 
investigations.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    In accordance with clause 2(c)(5) of rule XIII no provision 
of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of section 551 or title 5, United States Code.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of Section 5(b) of the appendix to title 5, 
United States Code.

                      Unfunded Mandates Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement, the Committee 
has included below a letter received from the Congressional 
Budget Office.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, which the Committee has included below.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 25, 2017.
Hon. Trey Gowdy,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3210, the SECRET 
Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (for Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3210--SECRET Act of 2017

    H.R. 3210 would require the National Background 
Investigations Bureau (NBIB), within the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM), to provide three reports to the Congress. The 
reports would cover information about the backlog in federal 
investigations for security clearances, the process for 
conducting security clearances for the Executive Office of the 
President, and the costs to NBIB and the Department of Defense 
for such investigations.
    Information from OPM indicates that the information 
required for those reports is already compiled for other 
efforts. Thus, CBO estimates it would cost less than $500,000 
over the 2018-2022 period to prepare the reports; such spending 
would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 3210 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3210 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 3210 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                                  [all]