The United States Senate passed H.R. 3210, the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency or SECRET Act introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), by unanimous consent on March 15.
The SECRET Act passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on July 26, 2017. It now must be passed in the House with minor changes before it is sent to the White House to be signed into law by the President.
If signed and enacted, the legislation would assess inefficiencies and shortfalls in the security clearance process to improve classified information protection while also ensuring individuals are to start their job that requires clearance in a reasonable amount of time.
Specifically, the bill requires the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) National Background Investigations Bureau to report on a number of details pertaining to the backlog of security clearance investigations and provide a backlog mitigation plan that shows the cause and remedy for the backlog.
It also requires NBIB to report on the process required to grant security clearances to staff of the Executive Office of the President.
“This idea was born from a meeting I had with local businesses who were frustrated with many of their hires not being able to start work due to the excessive wait times for security clearances,” Knight said. “With so many important defense and aerospace projects happening here in the Antelope Valley and throughout our district, this backlog can hurt our local economy and is a threat to our national security.
“In addition, recent reports of individuals in the Executive Office of the President holding security clearances when they shouldn’t have are very concerning,” Knight said. “The SECRET Act addresses both of these concerns by improving accountability and encouraging more responsive processing of clearances. I’m very pleased my colleagues in the Senate passed this important piece of legislation and I look forward to pushing it through the final hurdles on its way to becoming law.”
Knight is a member of the Armed Services Committee where he also sits on the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.