The Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Personnel Security and Suitability (DS/SI/PSS) is responsible for conducting security clearance and suitability investigations for individuals at the Department and at certain other Government agencies.
OIG reviewed the reports submitted from 2012 through 2016 and identified a number of errors, making it impossible for OIG to determine the actual amount of time it takes to process clearances at the Department. For example, DS/SI/PSS uses blanket estimates instead of actual times in its reporting to ODNI and maintains databases with conflicting timeliness information. In addition, DS/SI/PSS does not maintain any data on conversions, so actual processing times for those efforts are also unknown. Finally, OIG identified factors that may impede the timely processing of clearances, including confusion over roles and responsibilities, a lack of adequate resources, and an influx of student interns requiring clearances.
Even though agencies must ensure that security clearances are conducted in a cost-effective manner, OIG found that DS/SI/PSS has not analyzed how much it spends on its clearance investigations. In FYs 2012 through 2015, DS/SI/PSS also failed to seek payment for overseas investigatory work performed for other agencies, potentially costing the Department millions of dollars in lost reimbursements.