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H.R. 3210: SECRET Act of 2017

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 27, 2017 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 264

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3210

[Report No. 115–185]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 27, 2017

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

November 27, 2017

Reported by , with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

AN ACT

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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, for the most recent full calendar quarter—

(1)

the size of the personnel security clearance investigation process backlog, including, for each sensitivity level—

(A)

the number of interim clearances granted;

(B)

the number of initial investigations for Federal employees;

(C)

the number of periodic reinvestigations for Federal employees;

(D)

the number of initial investigations for employees of Federal contractors;

(E)

the number of periodic reinvestigations for employees of Federal contractors;

(F)

the number of initial investigations for employees of, and employees of contractors of, the Department of Defense;

(G)

the number of periodic reinvestigations for employees of and employees of contractors of the Department of Defense;

(H)

the number of Federal employees conducting background investigations; and

(I)

the number of employees of Federal contractors conducting background investigations;

(2)

the average length of time, for each sensitivity level, to carry out an initial investigation and a periodic reinvestigation;

(3)

a discussion of the factors contributing to the average length of time to carry out an initial investigation and a periodic reinvestigation;

(4)

a backlog mitigation plan, which shall include—

(A)

the identification of the cause of, and recommendations to remedy, the backlog;

(B)

the steps the Director shall take to reduce the backlog;

(C)

process reforms to improve efficiencies in, and the quality of, background investigations; and

(D)

a projection of when the backlog will be sufficiently reduced to meet required timeliness standards; and

(5)

a description of improvements in information and data security.

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 Office of Administration of the Executive Office of the President 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.

4.

Report on duplicative costs

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the other members of the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council established under Executive Order 13467 (73 Fed. Reg. 38103), 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).

5.

Report on continuous evaluation and reciprocity

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall submit to Congress a report that provides—

(1)

the status of implementing continuous evaluation Governmentwide, including—

(A)

the number of agencies with continuous evaluation programs and how many of those programs are currently meeting the investigative standards;

(B)

a risk assessment of replacing current reinvestigation requirements with continuous evaluation programs by 2020;

(C)

a discussion of the barriers for agencies to implement continuous evaluation programs, including any requirement under a statute, regulation, Executive Order, or other administrative requirement; and

(D)

plans, including timelines, for implementing continuous evaluation Governmentwide and phasing out periodic reinvestigations;

(2)

a detailed explanation of efforts by agencies to meet requirements for reciprocal recognition to access classified information, including—

(A)

the range of the length of time for agencies to grant reciprocal recognition to access classified information;

(B)

additional requirements for reinvestigations or readjudications, by agency; and

(C)

any other barriers to the timely granting of reciprocity, by agency, including any requirement under a statute, regulation, Executive Order, or other administrative requirement;

(3)

recommendations, including timelines, to improve the background investigation process to—

(A)

simplify the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (Standard Form 86) and increase customer support for applicants completing such questionnaire;

(B)

use remote and virtual techniques and centralized locations during field investigation work;

(C)

use secure and reliable digitization of information obtained during the clearance process; and

(D)

build the capacity of the background investigation labor sector; and

(4)

a review of whether the schedule for processing security clearances under section 3001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (50 U.S.C. 3341) should be modified.

6.

Review and update of position designation guidance

(a)

Definitions

In this section—

(1)

the term agency has the meaning given the term in Executive Order 13467 (73 Fed. Reg. 38103), or any successor thereto;

(2)

the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives;

(3)

the term background investigation means any investigation required for the purpose of determining the—

(A)

eligibility of a covered individual for logical and physical access to Federally controlled facilities or information systems;

(B)

suitability or fitness of a covered individual for Federal employment;

(C)

eligibility of a covered individual for access to classified information or to hold a national security sensitive position; or

(D)

fitness of a covered individual to perform work for or on behalf of the United States Government as a contractor employee; and

(4)

the term covered individual means an individual who—

(A)

performs work for or on behalf of an agency; or

(B)

seeks to perform work for or on behalf of an agency.

(b)

Review and updating

(1)

Initial review and update of guidance

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall review and, if appropriate, update the guidance the President issues to assist agencies in determining—

(A)

position sensitivity designation; and

(B)

the appropriate background investigation to initiate for each position designation.

(2)

Reviews and revisions of position designations

Not less frequently than every 4 years, the President, acting through relevant agencies (as determined by the President) and in accordance with the guidance described in paragraph (1), shall review and, if necessary, revise the position designation of positions within agencies.

(c)

Reports to Congress

Not later than 30 days after completing a review under subsection (b)(2), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on—

(1)

any issues identified in the review; and

(2)

the number of position designations revised as a result of the review.

(d)

No change in authority

Nothing in this section limits or expands the authority of any agency to designate a position as sensitive or as requiring its occupant to have access to classified information.

November 27, 2017

Reported with an amendment