August 19, 2019

August 16, 2019

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New Federal Background Check Office to Take Over Investigations of Cleared Contractors

A new government bureau is being created to conduct background investigations of federal employees and contractors who require access to classified information, government officials have unexpectedly announced. In an official blog post that caught many defense and intelligence industry contractors by surprise, senior government officials announced that the Office of Personnel Management Federal Investigative Services (OPM FIS) will be absorbed by a newly established office called the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). Reporting to the Director of OPM, the NBIB will concentrate on providing effective, efficient, and secure background investigations for Federal employees and contractors.

Directly related to last year’s massive OPM breach, which saw the theft of millions of federal background investigation records, the NBIB’s formation is being touted as a way to enhance the cybersecurity of sensitive background investigation data. The establishment of the new office is also being cited as justification for improving the information systems and networks that transmit background investigation data, as NBIB’s information technology systems will be designed, built, secured, and operated by the DoD.

Industry insiders are right to worry that the time and resources necessary to establish the NBIB may cause further delay to ongoing background investigations. Although OPM’s Federal Investigative Services was at times staffed by more than 8,500 skilled OPM investigators, only sparse information has been released about the staffing and funding of the new NBIB (including its FY2017 budget of $95 million for information technology upgrades).

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About this Author

Brian E. Kaveney, Litigation, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, Law firm
Partner & Security Clearance Team Leader

Brian Kaveney is an experienced business litigator whose practice includes advising defense contractors on compliance matters and assisting companies and individuals in obtaining and maintaining the proper security clearance.

The founder and head of Armstrong Teasdale’s Security Clearance and Facility Clearance Task Force, Brian guides companies, key management personnel, and employees through the process of obtaining and keeping the approval that is required to work with the Department of Defense, the military services and other agencies. He anticipates issues and concerns and...

Tod Stephens, Armstrong Teasdale, Security Lawyer, Iraq Vet

Security and Facility Clearance Law

After leading American and Iraqi soldiers in combat for nearly three years, Tod Stephens has become a leader in the field of security law. In his practice, Tod helps businesses anticipate and resolve defense industry compliance challenges.

Within the cleared defense industry, Tod advises in-house counsel, business managers, corporate directors, and Facility Security Officers (FSOs) in navigating their complex regulatory obligations. Tod regularly represents clients during their interactions with the Defense Security Service (DSS), the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DOD CAF), the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), the Personnel Security Management Office for Industry (PSMO-I), and numerous Government Contracting Activities (GCAs). As an MBA mindful of the bottom line, Tod leads teams of former government professionals to efficiently prepare businesses for DSS inspections, implement vulnerability mitigation plans, and resolve personnel and facility clearance challenges.  

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