First comes Edward Snowden. Then the Navy Yard shooter Aeron Alexis. Then data breaches. Something has got to be done to beef up the background investigation process and protect personnel information.
That’s why the Obama administration is overhauling the entire process and is creating the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to provide background investigations and security clearances for the entire government. The Defense Department will design, develop, and operate IT systems that process and store people’s information.
The new office will be housed within the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and absorb the work currently done by OPM’s Federal Investigative Services, which conducts more than one million background checks annually. The head of NBIB will be appointed by the president.
According to OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert, the agency has been hiring new investigators across the country and will bring on board 400 employees by the end of the year.
In addition to establishing NBIB, the administration has taken a number of steps to strengthen the security clearance and background investigation systems.