Updating my security clearance
The software industry has stepped up with an array of subscription cloud-based products being used by private employers to monitor individuals.They continuously scour open source data to flag events that might indicate that an employee is experiencing a personal crisis that could make them an insider threat.The looming budget crisis will hit the Defense Department very hard.But there is a place where we can cut budgets and improve our security: reforming the process by which security clearances are granted.One result of heightened concerns is that the Defense Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are relying more on continuous monitoring to detect insider threats and for the periodic re-investigations of current employees and contractors.Could technology accelerate the process while improving thoroughness?But my last background investigation was more than five years old, I was informed, and it needed to be updated.I was directed to an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Web site, where I was instructed to create an electronic record, my SF-86.
Yet the OPM apparently had no record of this document, which was filed with that agency. So I spent four hours one Saturday completing another SF-86.Days after Navy contractor Aaron Alexis murdered 12 people during a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept.16, 2013, Pentagon officials acknowledged they had neglected to follow up on a Rhode Island police report the previous month showing that Alexis, who died in a shootout with police, had complained of hearing voices.Soon an OPM investigator contacted me about my clearance renewal. At the appointed hour a pleasant but mechanical investigator arrived. I have dedicated 38 years of my life to America’s national security. We can improve security and save money simultaneously.She would need two hours with me, my secretary was told. After presenting her credentials and informing me of my rights, she suggested we proceed. But our country needs a system built for the 21st century.