Thursday, September 01, 2005

Feds Hurry, Slow Down

In my post Opportunity Costs of Security Clearances I ranted about needing security clearances for assessment work. Now I read Security clearance delays still a problem by Florence Olsen:

"Security clearance delays are the same, if not worse, than a year ago, before lawmakers made changes designed to help clear the backlog...

[N]ewly enacted reciprocity rules have made no dent in a problem that is creating mounting costs for high-tech companies. Those rules permit agencies to accept clearances initiated by other agencies."

Wonderful. Not only do agencies not trust employees, they don't trust other government agenices. That is understandable, but pathetic; jobs are left vacant because .gov entities want to play petty games. It gets worse:

"ITAA officials said 27 member companies that responded to a survey are coping with the backlog by hiring cleared employees from one another, sometimes paying premiums of up to 25 percent."

Great. This means the same cadre of cleared people are being shuffled among agencies. New blood with potentially more enthusiasm, skill, and (gasp) lower salaries (which would appeal to any commercial endeavor) are left to watch this dance from the outside.

So how bad are the delays?

"21 companies, said they had encountered delays of 270 or more days in getting top-secret clearances for employees. Last year, when ITAA conducted a similar survey, 70 percent reported equally lengthy delays.

The longest waits occurred in seeking clearances for employees to work at the CIA and the Defense Department."

So, in places were skilled security practitioners are most needed, they are not available.

Those that are already in place must cram before 2005 FISMA scores arrive. In my NSA-IAM class last week, a State Dept. worker told us he had to work a disaster recovery scenario on Sunday 28 August in order to meet his 31 August deadline.

Companies that cannot properly manage their workforces go out of business. Governments just lumber along. There is no mechanism to correct deficiencies, aside from massive intelligence or defense failures like 9/11, the Iraq war, and so on. Sorry for the depressing post, but I don't see a light at the end of this tunnel!


Anonymous said...

270 days? Not even! I submitted my original paperwork on 5 April 2004, and *still* do not have a clearance. And my background is squeaky clean.

H. Carvey
"Windows Forensics and Incident Recovery"

Shirkdog said...

Whatever you say keydet (squeky clean) :-)

At least you should get an interim clearance while you are being processed.


Anonymous said...

That's 270 federal working days, or about 5 years in business terms.