H.R. 3210, the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency (SECRET) Act, introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) in July 2017, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 22.
The SECRET Act will implement a variety of provisions to increase accountability of the security clearance process and improve the system to more efficiently process cases in a timely manner.
Specifically, this bill requires that the National Background Investigations Bureau within the Office of Personnel Management to report on the backlog of security clearance investigations as well as a mitigation plan to remedy the excessive wait times.
Additionally, the Executive Office of the President must report on the process used for conducting and adjudicating clearance investigations for the President’s staff.
The bill also includes provisions to direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report on and provide recommendations to improve government-wide continuous evaluation programs, classified information requests, and the overall process for investigating security clearances.
“This is a big win for our district and the country,” Knight said. “Our area is home to a wide array of federal contractors working on the most advanced aerospace, defense, and scientific research projects. These job creators are dependent on the ability to hire a highly skilled workforce who are properly cleared to work on these important projects.
“However, under the status quo, it often takes many months or even years for a newly hired employee to start working just because they were waiting for their security clearance to get through the massive backlog at OPM,” Knight said.
“This situation is unacceptable,” he said. “Not only does it slow down the production of important projects, but it also deters qualified prospective workers from taking these jobs. This causes a talent drain in these sectors and ultimately hurts our national interests.
“The SECRET Act was formed with heavy input from local business owners and employees and will address this urgent problem,” Knight said. “I am very thankful for the wide bipartisan support this bill has received in both chambers of Congress and am especially pleased that this is now in black and white law. This will go a long way towards creating more stable job opportunities in our area and continuing our region’s leadership in the industries we have always excelled in.”
Knight is a veteran of the U.S. Army and currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.