tv Security Clearances CSPAN March 9, 2018 3:22pm-6:17pm EST
society that we can gather opinions with which we do not agree and collect them and preserve them for future generations. there are a lot of countries in the world where nobody would dare do that, and here we are just step says from the u.s. capital and we have a variety of opinions and a variety of cartoonists and mr. block is just a great example of one of the artists that we've collected. >> watch american artifacts sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> coming up saturday march 24th, live coverage of the march for our lives being held here in washington. the event scheduled to start at noon eastern as families rally against gun violence and urge action to prevent mass school shootings. again, that's march 24th, live coverage on krshg span.
on wednesday the senate intelligence committee held a hearing on the security clearance process for government employees and contractors and officials from the private sector and government agencies explained the scope, time lines and resources used to conduct clearance investigations. this is just under three hours. is -- sen. burr: i would
good morning. i'd like to thank our witnesses for appearing today to discuss our government's security clearance process and potential areas of reform. intelligence community, the department of defense and defense industrial base trust cleared personnel with our nation's most sensitive projects and most important secrets, ensuring a modern efficient and secure clearance process is paramount and necessary to maintain our national security. the committee will first hear from industry representatives from their perspective on the process and how it affects their ability to support the u.s. government. our first panel includes mr. kevin phillips, president and ceo of manpeck, miss chapel vice president of intelligence information and services and raytheon, mr. david berto, president of the professional services council and miss brenda
farrell from the government accountability, and we appreciate you and thank you for the thousands of employees you represent who work every day to support the whole of the u.s. government. many of our nation's most sensitive programs and operations would not be possible without your work. i look forward to hearing from you on how your respective companies view the security clearance process and how it affects your operations, your hiring and your retention and competitiveness. i also hope you've come today prepared with ideas for reform where necessary. our second panel will include representatives from the executive branch. mr. charlie thalen and director of the national background investigation bureau, mr. brian dunnbar and assistant director of national counterintelligence and security center at the odni and director for security and intelligence at the office of
the undersecretary of defense, and the author of the defense security services at the department of defense. they'll provide the government's perspective on this issue and will update us on their efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the current system. the purpose of this hearing is to explore the process for granting secret and top secret clearances to both government and industry personnel and to conserve potential better ways forward. the government's approach to issuing national security clearances is largely unchanged since it was established in 1947 and the net result is a growing backlog of investigations which now reached 547,000 and inefficiencies that could result in our missing information necessary to thwart insider threats or workplace violence. we should also consider new technologies that could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the vetting process while
also providing greater, real time situational awareness and potential threats and sensitive information. furthermore, the system of reciprocity whereby clearance granted by one agency is also recognized by another simply does not work. we would all agree that the clearance process should be demanding on candidates and should effectively uncover potential issues before one is granted access to sensitive information, but clearly, the current system is not optimal and we must do better. i am hopeful that today's discussion will have some good ideas and strategies that we can put into action to reform the process. again, i want to thank each of our onces for your testimony and i turn to the chairman for any comments he might have. >> welcome to our onces and i first want to thank the chairman for holding this hearing in an
unclassified setting. i believe that the way the government protects our secrets is a critical area for oversight of this committee and as the chairman has already mentioned in many ways the system that is in place which was born in 1947, and i remind everybody, that's when classified cables were sent by typewriter and teleex really hasn't changed very much. i believe the clearance process today is a duplative, manual, intensive process and it relies on shoe leather investigations that would be familiar to fans of spy films. it was built for a time when there was a small industry component and they stayed for their entire career. the principal risk was for someone to share pages for classified reports with identifiable foreign adversary. today in many ways, we worry more about insider threats, someone who can remove an external hard drive and provide pedobites of data online to an
adversary or for that manner to a global audience. in industry, and i'm proud to have in my state, an industry is a much larger partner. workers are highly mobile across careers, sectors and location. technologies such as big data and a.i. can help assess people's trustworthiness in a far more efficient and dynamic way, but we've not taken advantage of these advances. just last month at an open hearing the director of national intelligence, director coats said that the security clearance process is, in his words, broken and needs to be reformed. in january of this year and i appreciate the gao, witness today, placed a security clearance process on its, quote, high-risk list that there is that the government needs reforms. the problems with our security clearance process are clear. the investigation inventory has
more than doubled in the last three years. with as the chairman's mentioned, 700,000 people currently waiting on a background check. despite recent headlines, the overwhelming majority of those waiting don't have unusually complex backgrounds or finances to untangle. nevertheless, the cost to run a background check haver inially doubled and the time lines to process clearance are far from the law, these failures in the security clearance process impact individual individuals, companies, government agencies and even our own military's readiness and as i mentioned in the commonwealth of virginia, i hear again and again from contractors, particularly from government agencies that they cannot hire the people they need in a timely manner. i hear from individuals who must wait for months and sometimes even a year to start jobs that they were hired for, and i've
heard from a lot of folks who ultimately had to take other jobs because the process took too long and they couldn't afford to wait. to compete, globally, economically and militarily, the status quo of continued delays and convoluted systems cannot continue. no doubt we faced real threats to our security that we have to address. insider threats like ed snowden and harold martin, they compromise vast amounts of data and the tragedy of the shootings at the washington naval yard and fort hood took innocent lives. the impact of these lapses on national security are too big to think that incremental reforms would suffice referring back to dan coats' testimony. we need a revolution to our system and i believe that we -- i believe we can assess the trustworthiness of the clear workforce in a dramatically faster and more effective manner than what we do today. we have two great panels here
that will help us from the government's perspective and from the nice national security partners in the private sector. i'd like to thank you all for appearing and i hope that our next meeting and i hope some are listening downtown that the office and the omb which chairs the inner agency efforts to address clearances which decline to appear before us today will actually participate in this process. i want to be a partner in rethinking our entire security clearance architecture. i want to work with you to devise a model that reflects the dynamic workforce and embraces the needs of both our government and industry partners. thank you, mr. chairman, i look forward to this hearing. >> i thank the vice chairman. to the members, when we have finished receiving testimony i'll recognize members based on the seniority of up to five minutes. with that, i understand you're going to go first and then we'll work right down to your left, moo i right and all of the way
down the line. the floor is yours. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. >> chairman berg, vice chairman warner and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today to discuss our recent work on the serious challenges associated with the personnel security clearance process. we designated the government-wide security clearance process is a high-risk area in january 2018 because it represents a significant management risk, a high-quality, security clearance process is necessary to minimize the risk of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to help ensure that information about individuals with criminal histories or other questionable behavior is identified and assessed. my written statement today summarizes some of the findings in the reports issued in november and december 2017 on this topic. now i will briefly discuss my written statement that's provided in three parts. first, we found that the executive branch agencies have
made progress reforming the clearance process, but key, longstanding initiatives remain incomplete. for example, agencies still face challenges in implementing pekts of the 2012 standards that are criteria for conducting background investigations and in fully implementing a continuous evaluation program for clearance holders. efforts to implement such a program go back ten years. we found that while the odni has taken an initial step to implement continuous evaluation in a phased approach, it had not determined what the future prices will consist of or occur. we recommended that the dni develop an implementation plan also, while agencies have taken steps to establish government wide performance measures for the quality of investigations and the original milestone for completion was missed in fiscal year 2010. no revised milestone currently
has been set for completion. we recommend that the dni establish a milestone for completion of such measures. second, we found that the number of agencies needing timeliness objectives for initial secret and top secret clearances as well as periodic reinvestigations decrease from fiscal years 2012 through 2016. for example, while 73% of agencies did not meet timeliness objectives for initial clearances for most of fiscal year 2012, 98% of agencies did not meet these objectives in fiscal year 2016. lack of timely processing for clearances has contributed to a significant backlog of background investigations at the agency that is currently responsible for conducting most of the government's background investigations. that is the national background investigations bureau. the bureau's documentation shows that the backlog of pending investigations increased from 190,000 in august 2014 to more than 710,000 as of february
2018. we found that the bureau did not have a plan for reducing the backlog. finally, we found the potential effects of continuous evaluation on agency are are unknown because the future phases of the program and the effect on agency resources have not yet been determined. agencies have identified increased resources as a risk to the program. for example, dod officials told us that with workload and funding issues they see no alternative, but to replace periodec investigations for certain clearance holders with continuous evaluation. dod believes that more frequent reinvestigations for certain clearance holders could cause $1.8 billion for fiscal year 2018 to 2022. however, the dnis recently issued directive for continuous evaluation clarified the continuous evaluation is continued to supplement and not replace periodic reinvestigations. in summary, mr. chairman,
several agencies have key roles and responsibilities in the multi-phase clearance process including odni, omb, dod and opm. also, the top leadership from these agencies comprises the performance accountability council that is responsible for driving implementation of and overseeing the reform efforts government wide. we look forward to working with them to discuss our plans for assessing their progress and addressing this high-risk area. now is the time for strong, top leadership to focus on implementing gao's recommended actions to complete the reform efforts, improve timeliness and reduce the backlog. failure to do so increases the risk of damaging unauthorized disclosures of classified information. mr. chairman, that concludes my remarks. >> thank you, mrs. farrell. the floor is yours. >> mr. chairman, vice chairman and members of the committee. my name is kevin phillips. i'm the president and ceo of man
tech international. we support national security and homeland security. i appreciate the am opportunity to participate in this industry panel and i ask that my written statement be entered as part of the hearing record. senator warner, including our initial outreach through nvtc, 15 companies and six industry associations have worked collectively over the last six to nine months to increase the visibility and importance of this matter and to propose solutions to help improve the process. put simply, the backlog of 700,000 security clearance cases is our industry's number one priority. given the increasing challenges that we face in providing qualified, cleared talent to meet the mission demands, we consider it a national security issue and an all of government issue because it impacts every
agency we support. some quick facts in 2014, the time it takes for clearance has more than doubled in our industry. the average time it takes to get a ts, sci clearance or top secret clearance is over a year and the time it takes to get a secret clearance is eight months. top professionals are in high demand across the nation. they do not have to wait over a year to get a job. and increasingly, they are unwilling to deal with the uncertainty associated with this process. as a result of this issue, the key support for weapons development, cybersecurity, analytics, maintenance and sustainment, space resilient support as well as the use of transformational technologies across all of government is being unserved. since the end of 2014
approximately 10,000 positions required for the contractor community in support of the intelligence community have gone unfilled due to these delays. upon we offer the following recommendations to improve the backlog. first, enable reciprocity allow for crossover to be done routinely and automatically. today, 23 different agencies provide different processes and standards in order to determine who is trustworthy and suitable to be employed within their agency. one universally accepted and enforced standard across all of government is needed. second, increased funding. the current backlog shows no signs of improvement. we need funding to increase processing capacity to reduce the backlog we have today while our government partners who are working diligently to develop and implement a new system, work to develop the system of tomorrow. third, prioritize existing
cases. the amount of backlog of 700,000 cases and the time leans have not improved and we may be at a point where we may have to prioritize within the backlog, the cases where they have the biggest mission impact and pose the highest risk of national security based on the access to data. fourth, adopt continuous evaluation, adopt new systems that can be used across all of government and establish a framework for which government and industry can better share information about individuals holding positions of public trust that is derogatory to better protect the nation against threats from insiders. fifth, from a legislative standpoint, we consider this a whole of government issue. accordingly, we believe that a concerted focus from congress is required and the oversight is needed. we support the reinstatement of the erpa timeliness with incremental milestones.
erpa is the intelligence reform and terrorist protection act. finally, we offer that mobility and portability for clearances ng m among the contractor community is needed. we in the industry fully understand the importance of a strong, security clearance process. that said, slow security does not constitute good security. time matters to mission. the industry is committed to take the actions needed to hire trustworthy individuals and to help protect the nation from outside threats. we appreciate the committee's leadership and the focus this important matter. thank you. >> thank you, mr. phillips. >> chairman burr, vice chairman warner, members of the committee, i am honored to present raytheon today before the select committee on intelligence. raytheon and our employees understand and take very seriously our obligation to protect the nation's secrets. we submit to the same clearance
process that governs our government and military partners and we take the same oath to protect the information established and entrusted to us. every day our number one priority is honoring that oath while meeting the needs of our customers. as vice president of raytheon's global intelligence solutions business unit and navigate the des rupg disruptions and backlogs that it causes on a daily basis. not just for raytheon, but for our suppliers and our industry peers, but ultimately for the war fighters, intelligence officers and homeland security officials who rely on our products and services to protect the united states. the magnitude of the backlog and the associated delays is well documented and the metrics speak for themselves, but what metrics fail to capture are the real world impact of the backlog.
new careers put on hold, top talent lost to non-defense industries and programs that provide critical war fighter capabilities suffer delay and cost increases. the delays also come with a real world price tag. those new hires run up overhead costs while they wait for their clearance resulting in significant program cost increases and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. . reducing the current backlog will require immediate and aggressive interim steps, some of which are already being addressed. raytheon supports the government's efforts to add resources and ease requirements for periodic reinvestigations. we also appreciate efforts to streamline the application process. automate and digitize information collection, provide for storage and improve the related processes. beyond these actions we
recommend eliminating the first in, first out approach to the investigation work flow. focusing immediate resources on high priority clearance and low-risk invest gaigations. it is critical that congress in the branch implement fundamental reforms that streamline the clearance process and increase our nation's security by leveraging advances in technology. this effort should be guided by what our industry calls the four ones. the first one is one application which is a digital, permanent record, forming the basis of all clearance investigations, updated continuously and stored securely. the second is one investigation which would implement continuous evaluation and the appropriate use of robust, user activity monitoring tools to facilitate a dynamic, ongoing assessment of
individual risk while securing sensitive information on protected systems. the third one is one adjudication which calls frr streamlining the system so the agency's clearance decision is respected by other departments and agencies. this would increase efficiency and promote reciprocity based on a consistent set of standards for access, suitablity and fitness. the fourth and final one is one clearance that is recognized across the entire government and is transferable between departments, agencies and contracts. we believe the implementation of these reforms will hamstring the current system while promoting more effective recruitment, retension and utilization of government employees and
contractors and most critically, these reforms will help close the security gaps that threaten our nation's secrets and personnel. the modern threaten viernme env can no longer be addressed with snapshots that even the most well-intended reporting requirements and working groups and legislative deadlines have not, and will not overcome the fear of change or the comfort of the status quo. strong, sustained leadership from congress and the white house will be crucial to the success of these efforts. thank you for the opportunity to be here today, and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, miss chapel. mr. bettero? . >> thank you, mr. chairman, and members of the committee, we appreciate you holding this hearing. i would ask the statement be entered into the record in its
entirety and i would make a few key points here. you heard the problems and the process solutions the four ones, the one application, one investigation, one adjudication and one clearance. it highlights, i think, that this is a whole of government problem and just look at the panel that you have following us. you don't have a whole of government representation on there as vice charm irman warne pointed out. it plays a role in the performance accountability council and the fundamental process across the board. in the end, this is a set of processes that exercises judgment and makes a decision on where to place trust and in that decision is a calculous of how much risk are we willing to accept. if it's zero then we'll never issue a clearance, right? and so there's a whole level of dynamic that has to go on there and the four ones helps get you there. what, though, can this committee and the congress do? first, keep the whole of
government requirement in mind, within that, there's a funding process, and all of those question agencies will have separate authorities here have to provide funding to somebody who will do the work and typically today that's the background investigation bureau. we can't find from where we sit outside a record of where the funding stands for those 23 agencies because it's across all of the appropriations accounts. omb used to track that and report that, but that's no longer available to us. it may be available to you, it should be available to you, and i think it's important to think the fy-18 funding bill and make sure that that funding is in there because these systems will not operate without adequate resources. you can't buy your way out of it, though, there has to be substantial process improvements and my fellow panelists have talked about that, but in the mean time, you have a requirement for part of this responsibility to be moved from the office of personnel management and over to the
defense department and you will hear more about that in the second panel. while that movement's taking place and the plan is it will take years, right? the system has to keep going, as well and so there's got to be both funding for the ongoing work and funding for the new capabilities inside the defense department and that makes it all the more important. my fellow panelists have mentioned reciprocity and this is a panelists mention reciprocity. how are are you cleared at one level and not cleared and accepted at another part. the record shows different agencies but within the agencies there are a lot of sub categories. dhsh alone has a tuz dozen reciprocity. they can say, you are good enough for them but not for me and they don't have to tell us why. we know there is an impact gocht as well.
we don't have that kind of information out of the government but you have to believe that somewhere backlog of 700,000 will have an impact. that's no longer there. we need you to help make that information not only visible to you in the committee, it might come to you in an fouo kind of system. but visible to the public and those of us that have to do or job within the government. with that, mr. chairman, i will conclude my remarks and turn back to you.
>> thank you, mr. berteau. the chair will recognize himself and then we'll go by seniority for up to five minutes. my question's very simple, and it's this. let's make an assumption that funding is not an issue. why's it take so damn long? give me the three things that make this process be so long. ms. phillips? >> let's start, sir, with we have, from history, a number of agencies who have their own processes set up, and they have to go through those processes, and they're very manual. as mentioned before, the process
was established during the eisenhower administration. it's very manual. investigators have to go in person and write notes, rather than use tablets. they have to go through the mail to send a request to get an education check. they physically have to visit a person versus using social media or other access points to get things done when today's technology allows for a much more rapid way of getting decisions done without, in our view, changing the trustworthiness of the individual. that can be done greatly and significantly. i think the second part is that people want to walk through the process and make sure, in this environment, that people are trustworthy, and the time line is taking longer because the assurance is needed, and it's impacting the mission. and we want to make sure time is factored in to the decisions or we will not be able to defend the digital walls from outside threats. so, i think it's the process, and i think it's the need to have a more risk-based review
against the mission requirements and the need to protect our nation combined from insider threats. thank you. >> ms. chappell. >> i would echo -- i would echo his comments, but i would say it a little different. we are a nation blessed with very high technology. we are just not using that technology in this process. we talked about, you know, people having to physically go and meet people. i think that while that gives us some level of assurance, i think the continuous evaluation gives us a whole other level of assurance, and we should use that technology to give us more confidence in the results as well as decrease the time lines. >> i mean, basically, what you've told me is i've put more effort into understanding who my interns are than potentially the process does for security clearances. because you go to the areas that you learn the most about them, which social media's right at the top of the list. i can't envision anybody coming into the office that you haven't
thoroughly checked out everything that they've said online, which is, to them, a protected space, and we all know that it's a public space. and i think what you've done is you've confirmed our biggest fear, that we're so obsessed with process and very little consumption of outcome. and i think that's how you get a backlog and you can let that continue to be the norm and nobody's outraged. what's the single change that you'd make to the security clearance process if you only were limited to one? ms. farrell? >> i think prompt action. this needs to be, as some of the colleagues here have said, a high priority, and we keep hearing the words, top leadership. there was top leadership involvement when the d.o.d. program was on the high risk list from 2005 and 2011.
we saw that top leadership driving efforts from omb, d.o.d., the dni, that's what we're going to be looking for as we measure their progress going forward to take actions to come off the high risk list. top leadership actions and engaging with congress to show that the reducing the backlog is a top priority as well as taking action to communicate that to the other members of the personnel security clearance community as well as my colleagues on the panel here, but leadership is desperately needed in this area. >> mr. phillips. >> sir, immediately, it's funding, but putting that aside, i think long-term, it's one uniform standard and reciprocity. it's a big deal. >> ms. chappell. >> i would say continuous evaluation monitoring. you know, doing that on a continuous basis, which reduces the periodic investigations, which allows those people to
spend more time reducing the current backlog. >> mr. berteau. >> do i get to use the three that they've already used and add a fourth one to it? >> absolutely. >> because i do think reciprocity is the top priority in that process. but i think using technology, not just in continuous evaluation, but in the investigations process itself. i've had a clearance for nearly 40 years and the guy still shows up with a pencil and a piece of paper and makes sure that the questions i've entered into the form, which are in many cases the same answers i've given for almost 40 years, are still what i believe and he writes it down with a pencil, and then he takes it off and puts it into a computer system that's not compatible with anybody else's computer system. let's get the process down to where we're using 21st century technology. >> my thanks to all of you for
your candid responses, and i say that with the full knowledge of knowing that this issue is a multi-committee jurisdictional issue on the hill so we've got just as much to fix up here, i think, some of the things that you have expressed are the results of no coordination legislatively, and i think we're going to take that at heart as we move forward. vice chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and again, thank the panel for their, i think, accurate description. i think it's really important that we all think about -- and i appreciate the gao putting this on the national security high risk, because not only are we wasting taxpayer dollars by hiring individuals that cannot do the work they're hired to do or as some of the industry panels indicated, will then not take a job because of the clearance process, and i think we particularly lose on the government side where people would come in and serve at a much, perhaps, lower salary than they would on industry side but because of the security
clearance. and i really appreciate, mr. berteau, your comments about the use of technology. if you can give -- i'll start with you and at least start through our industry colleagues, other specific examples on how, on a technology basis, we can improve this process that, again, candidly, hasn't been significantly updated since the 1950s. mr. berteau, do you want to start and then we'll go down, specific technology examples. >> i think that the entities that are involved in both the front end, the scheduling process, the investigation process, and the adjudication process have all identified a number of places where they can bring that technology to bear. the greatest advantage, i think, we can take is to have integrated data across the government so that, in fact, we've got access to everything everywhere. the intelligence community has made more progress here than much of the rest of the government has had, but they also have the advantage of scale. the scale is smaller, and they've got the funding and resources and the motivation to do that. i think we can give you a list of specifics that you could consider as you go forward as well.
>> ms. chappell. >> i would say going back to my previous answer, the continuous evaluation. a lot of this data that we go personally ask these people, you know, that are the same questions we've asked for 40 years, that data, a lot of that data, is available in open source, you know, that's available to anybody. it's a matter of public record. >> rather than having somebody send a letter to an educational institution or -- >> correct. >> so many personal visits and could you drill down for a minute on continuous evaluation, at least for secret clearance level. >> you know, if you go down through and look for bankruptcy, if someone files for bankruptcy, that's a matter of public record. for example, we can get that, you know, through just trolling the web. >> without an agent going to a courthouse. >> without an agent having to physically travel and then go take that information down with pencil and paper, for example. >> thank you. >> sir, i'll give you two
examples and one desired solution. we have one -- one of my fellow ceos has a contract where he has people in the green zone doing d.o.d. work, and they cannot support, in that same limited space, work for another department because they have to file an entire process to get a clearance in order to do that, and this totally separate. so right across the street, they can't go in and support with a confined environment for two agencies to do the same thing in a very difficult environment. separately, we have a separate ceo, he's got a contract that does work that the information flows to both d.o.d. and somewhere in dhs. that individual has to fill two applications and go through two investigations to do the same job. industry quite often utilizes public systems that we share that are cloud based, multilayered security, and we pay for it ourselves. we control the data ourselves,
but it is a uniform set of systems that are available. we can make that decision. i think establishing a uniform system that every agency who has funding can fund into and do its own processing would be very beneficial, because then those accesses would be available at the same security level for people to know what's happening and that crossover, and that reciprocity could happen just like that. >> and i think just before i get a last question in for ms. farrell, we need both reciprocity and portability and i think one of the reason this is so high on the priority list, he lived this experience, having sat on this committee for a number of years, access to all types of information, the amount of, when he left the senate, and for a few weeks later, when he was an appointed head od and i because there was that short-term gap, he had to go through a whole other security process. it was absurd.
ms. farrell, what i've heard, and everybody knows it's a problem, but this, like much of g and a, in terms of operations, gets pushed to the back of the line. how do we make sure that we, as congress, can, with appropriate oversight, make sure that agencies don't take their security clearance budget and push it to the back of the line. everybody acknowledges this is an issue and a problem, but these are dollars that don't ever seem to be prioritized because they are not sold to mission. >> i think this is something that goes back to the top leadership from the deputy director for management at omb, who is the chair of the council that's driving the reform efforts and overseeing the reform efforts and to send the message that this is a top priority, whether it's reducing the backlog or fully
implementing a ce and resources will be provided and the agencies will follow suit. and if i may comment on the technology, the continuous evaluation is an area that you've heard has great promise that could help streamline the process, perhaps be more efficient and as i noted, the efforts to implement continuous evaluation go back to 2008 with full implementation expected in 2010, and that has not happened. we are encouraged by the dni's recent directive expanding on what ce is. however, we still don't really know what continuous evaluation is going to comprise and when it's going to be implemented, and i think that's going to be a huge step for the dni to develop a detailed implementation plan of when the phases are going to occur and the agency's expectations to implement that. >> mr. chairman, i'd simply say i think ms. farrell's comments are pretty clear. we've just got to start at the top and i'm disappointed, and i know you are as well, that omb did not take our invitation to
actually participate, since they chair the interagency council to try to move forward on this. and i think we need to get them back in at some point. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. all three of our private sector witnesses today have been understandably very critical of the unacceptable flaws in the government's clearance process and the lack of a system of continuous evaluation. inadequate funding has been mentioned. i want to turn the question around. there have been three widely supported serious breaches at the nsa and all three involved contract employees. it is evident that relying solely on a moment in time shot -- snapshot of an applicant's security profile to
determine clearances and secure our information and facilities is simply not working, and i've been a strong supporter of moving to continuous evaluation, particularly following the navy yard shooting. but my question for each of the three of you is what responsibility do contractors have to identify and report changes in employee behavior that may indicate a vulnerability and should trigger a review of the security clearance, and in least one of the widely reported incidents involving nsa, the employees who worked with the individual were very aware of issues that should
have triggered a review of his clearance. so, i understand the role that government has and that we need to do much better, but what is your role, particularly in light of those three serious breaches all involving contract employees. mr. berteau, we'll start with you and then move across. >> thank you, senator. those are critical questions, obviously. i'd make three points there. number one, i know you know this, but the process is the same, whether you're a government uniform personnel or a government civilian or a contractor in terms of the investigation and adjudication process. >> i do know that. >> and i think that the issues that we've been talking about
today, some of the process fixes, actually incorporate in them a number of the lessons learned from those very examples that you cite here. and continuous evaluation being the key piece of it here. so, i think that a number of the proposals, some of which are already being implemented, although since we don't get visible insight into that, we don't know how far that implementation is, that's a question for your second panel, are designed to address those very same problems. but i think there's a third piece and the examples that you cite, this is -- you're right, there are individuals inside who do this, but from the company's point of view, these are people working inside a government facility and we frequently don't get information about -- or our member companies don't get the information about the employee that the government itself has so there's got to be greater cooperation between the government oversight mechanisms and the contractor oversight mechanisms. this is where personnel issues, privacy issues, security issues and contract issues come together and we've got to design it that way up front in the contract itself, and i think we're very capable of doing that. we know how to do it. we just don't do it every time. >> ms. chappell, what is raytheon's responsibility?
>> so, we have a responsibility to train our employees. so, yearly, we go through an employee training series that's mandated across all of our employees. and in some cases, where we have employees sit at government facilities, they take yet a second round of training that is required by that government customer as well. so that's two. the second thing we do is what we call a user activity monitoring. so, when you log on to a raytheon system, you are -- it's very clear to you, it says right there on the screen, that your activity is being monitored while you're on those systems. and so, we have a process where we use analytic type of
capabilities to look at what people are doing on the systems, to monitor their behavior, to look for thing that are outside their normal patterns or their normal work scope. that data is then provided to our security operations center and then if it triggers an alert, we go through an investigation process. if someone comes through and, you know, says there's something going on with an employee, we trigger an investigation. >> mr. phillips, very quickly, if man tech has a group of employees working for the government and on highly sensitive information, and many of the employees of that group thinks that one of the employees has gone off the rails, developed a drug problem, has financial problems, what specifically happens? >> specifically, man tech has an insider threat program that identifies high-risk employees and once those individuals, whether they hold a position of trust or see a behavior that we need to track, it rolls into a process that's controlled
through our senior security executive, coordinated with our human resources and legal department, and overseen by myself, with board updates every quarter to make sure we are tracking those individuals that have been identified from an insider threat perspective. we report that information to the government. we also start monitoring their overall behavior, where appropriate, to make sure that that individual's behavior doesn't provide additional risk of harm to our employees or federal employees or potentially increase the position of trust or breach of data to the government. and additionally, we spot check people coming out of our own skiffs for data. we want to make sure that as a partner, we're doing everything we can. the only thing we suggest we have to share information better about individuals who hold positions of public trust. >> thank you.
>> senator feinstein. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. i'd like to follow up on senator collins' questions to you, mr. phillips, specifically what changes have been made by your company in the wake of snowden and martin? >> ma'am, since then, we've increased our insider threat process. we do more training. >> from what to what? if you could be specific here, that would be helpful. >> sure. i think all of government is moving towards mandating industry be a partner in this process. we already had a process in place, but what we're doing is making sure that every behavior -- we physically go to our program managers and we tell them, if you or your employees see a behavior, we need see it. we need to know. >> where did you miss with snowden? >> we did not -- we did not have that event within our framework. the snowden component or something like that specifically is the employee is on a federal
facility and a company cannot access the government's data to see the behaviors. they have to be visually seen by the people around that individual. we need to better share information. >> isn't that an important point right there? >> yes, ma'am, it's very important. >> i just want you -- because these were big events, and it's very hard for us to know the background and how it happened. so could you go into that in a little bit more detail. >> anything that has a -- is on a secured government network or secured government facility is controlled by the government regardless of whether it's a military federal employee or contractor. and the information flow around that is fairly limited for security reasons but also personnel reasons. the information sharing program that we think is best long-term aligning those who have positions of public trust and have agreed to that, with the appropriate protections of privacy, if they are on a network, having classified information, how do we better collectively track the behaviors and actions of the individual so that we as a contract community
can take the appropriate actions on that staff. >> well, as you know, both these employees were contract employees with nsa. how closely have you reviewed the procedures, and have you made any recommendations to nsa? >> ma'am, the agency has gone through significant review, and we as a contract community are adjusting to meet the required additional standards to be responsive to the risks that they may have seen within their review. >> senator -- >> well, maybe somebody can add to that, because that's a very general statement, and it doesn't leave me really with any answer. >> if i could sort of add a little bit to that, not necessarily the snowden case or the martin case, but we see time and again a situation where the government will tell a
contractor, this person is no longer suitable, take them off the contract. but they won't tell us why. they won't tell us what behavior has occurred, what has motivated them to do that, and so we're left trying to figure out what happened here, right? >> how often does that happen? >> i don't have a count of how often because there's no database to do it but i hear about it more than once a year. and i probably don't hear it about a lot of times that it does happen. and so, you have individuals, and it may be that the company releases that individual, but the individual can go somewhere else. so the information sharing that should occur here between the government and the contractors involved, cutting across the security domain and the personnel and human resources domain, has gotten to improved. >> because of the 4,080,000 national security clearances, the contractors hold almost 1
million, it's 921,065 of those. that's a big constituency out there, and because it involves the defense companies, of which raytheon is a california company that i'm very proud of, that's one of them, its seems to me that the private sector has an increased responsibility too. ms. chappell, how do you view that? how does raytheon, specifically, view an increased responsibility? >> so i think we are -- we have stepped up our training requirements around this area, you know, more sensitivity to what has happened and making people aware. when it's on our own networks, we have control on what we monitor and, you know, where we see risk and how we escalate that and how we investigate. i think mr. berteau is very
correct in that there needs to be better partnership when our employees sit on government facilities and use government networks, there needs to be more information sharing on what we can do jointly, because we don't have the ability to to monitor those networks, so i think any insight we can get there is most helpful to us in making sure we adjudication through our workforce. >> right. on pages 7 and 8, i'm looking for your written remarks and can't find them at the moment, but you make some good recommendations. could you go into them for us, please? >> on the written -- >> in the written. let me find it. >> just one second, please. >> i'm sorry, mr. chairman. i'm sorry. my hand slipped and i lost
the -- >> so, i think that was around the one application. >> that's right. the fundamental reforms, and you began with the clearance backlog of 300,000 and the one application, and it runs through. now, this is more than a decade, as you point out, since they were first proposed, but to make immediate progress, you say raytheon encourages the government to prioritize and set incremental milestones for implementing government-wide reciprocity, continuous evaluation, and information technology reforms. can you be more specific about that? >> yes, so, on the one
application, that is the one standardized and one standardized, one digitized, so it's available, can be shared across organizations, you don't have to fill that out more than once. one investigation to make sure that whether it's a d.o.d. investigation, an air force, army, or a cia investigation, that that's the same investigation, they have the same standards, the same views on risk, those can be shared across the different agencies. one adjudication of that, so instead of having different adjudications, you have one set of adjudication process os -- processes, one set that that adjudication is based on, so that clearance can be agreed to and can be recognized across the different agencies.
and then clearly, just the one clearance, you know, to make sure that that reciprocity moves across organizations, so i think they're pretty -- they're pretty fundamental, pretty standard, pretty simple processes. one application, one clearance process, one adjudication, recognized by all. >> do you think that would make a difference with the 4 million -- >> i think it would make a huge difference. because not only would it streamline the original investigation, you're not reinvestigating the same people over and over and the resources required to do the reinvestigation would be focused on the backlog. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, if you would indulge me for just one added point. senator feinstein's line of questioning is really critical here. one thing that i think it's important to put on the record, the member companies for psc and companies like raytheon and mantech are very limited in their ability to get information
out of the government of the status of the investigation and adjudication that's going on with the people they've submitted into the process. if kevin phillips or jane chappell calls the government agency that's doing that, what they will likely be told is, we can't tell you anything. go talk to your contracting officer representative. who then has a process they have to go through internally, not the speediest of processes, and they may or may not get you an answer back. we see cases where a decision has been made and not communicated to the company in some cases for more than six months. so, there's a lot that has to be done here in terms of improving the communication back and forth. i think the oversight role of this committee in encouraging that and getting visible results of that from the agencies involved would be very helpful. >> thank you very much. would you be willing to write something up as to what both of you or three of you think would be the specifics and send it to
the chairman? >> absolutely. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> thanks, senator. >> thank you, chairman. ms. farrell, in your testimony, you talked about the 12 recommendations, i think, you made to the director of national intelligence. how many of those did they accept? >> for the majority of those, we directed to the dni, they did not comment where whether they agreed or disagreed. so, we don't know if they're going to take action on those recommendations or not. >> i think -- i must have read your testimony wrong. i got the impression they had concurred with some but not all. >> they did concur with some. >> what does that mean? >> what does that mean they concurred with some but not all? i need my thesaurus to figure out what that means.
>> they concurred, for example, with taking steps to develop a continuous evaluation policy and implementation but on other actions, they disagreed, they thought that they had already had things in play and that no more action was necessary. >> which of the 12 things you recommended do you think would have the most impact on achieving the goal we want to achieve here? >> for today, i think it would be the implementation plan for continuous evaluation. but i also have to note there's been a lot of discussion about reciprocity, and reciprocity is statutorily required by the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 2004. so, by that act, agencies are supposed to honor investigations that are conducted by an authorized provider as well as adjudications from an authorized adjudicator. there's always certain exceptions. but the reciprocity is in statute. it just hasn't had guidance so
it can be implement. >> and continuous evaluation, ms. chappell, how does that relate to what -- you're saying a lot of the same things, continuous evaluation using open source data or data that's already been collected rather than going through that process again. do you want to talk about that just a little bit more. >> so, what we're saying is instead of waiting from day one when you're given your clearance to year five and having no investigation between that period and then doing your periodic investigation with sending people out, traveling around the country, doing your investigations, all through that time period, to continuously monitor data to see if there is
any adverse data concerning that person and do you need to start, you know, is that person of higher risk and do you need to pay more attention to that person sooner rather than wait the normal five to six years for that background investigation. >> and if that -- if that person, like senator warner mentioned, about the senator coats and that brief space when someone has been -- has moved on to another job and is coming back, do they have to go through the whole clearance process again? they have to resubmit again everywhere they ever lived and -- >> yes, sir. >> don't we have all that somewhere? if they've been cleared once. >> yes, sir. >> senator blunt, i've lived in the same house for the last 29 years. i've had the same neighbors on each side of me. both are former government employees with suitability determinations and clearances as well. every time i fill that form out, it's exact same information as
it was the time before and the time before that and the time before that. it's already in their databases. they just make me do it again. >> does anybody have a reason that would justify why you'd have to do this again if the government's already collected all this? >> there's an old saying out of world war ii, called the chief cause of problems is solutions and in almost every case, these elements of the process that are built in here was a fix to a previous problem. what we've never done is the kind of end to end analysis of what actually result are we trying to get out of this and how do we design a process that gets that result. i think what you'll hear from the second panel is some of the efforts both at the national background investigations bureau and the d.o.d. is developing a plan for will take advantage of some of that opportunity. it's just going to take a long time, and we'd like to see it speeded up. >> and mr. berteau, on one other
question, small companies rather treated differently when it comes to getting their employees cleared? >> unfortunately, they go through the same process, and i think they have an added disadvantage. if a company has substantial amount of work in the government, they may actually be able to make a job offer to a new employee and say, we've got something we can have you do while we're waiting the year or two years it takes to get this clearance through the process. it's very much harder for a smaller business who doesn't have the business base or the overhead capacity to be able to do that. so you make a contingency offer. well, if this is a critical skill, let's say it's a cyber security expert who's just come out of college, you're asking them, put your career on hold for an indefinite period of time, don't get paid, go do something else while you're figuring out what to do here, and then maybe we'll get a clearance at some point in time and be able to hire you. this has two negative advantages. one, it's going to reduce the number of people who are going to want to do that. secondly, they're going to have lost their technical edge because the system is moving on. the cyber security world is moving on while they're not working in it and so it's a double impact. when i mention the importance of balancing risk here, there's a risk that we often don't take
into account. it's not just the risk of awarding a clearance to somebody who ends up doing something wrong. there's a risk to government missions and functions in every step of the way by not doing it in a timely way and not by having the best and brightest people on board to do that. that's got to be part of the calculus. nobody documents that. >> thank you. thank you, chairman. >> senator wyden. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and it's been a good panel and i'm just going to ask one question to this panel and it's for you, ms. farrell. it seems to me, one of the central issues here is there is a culture where over secrecy is actually valued. and there is no accountability for excessive secrecy. so we end up with 4 million people with security clearances, and i've heard my colleagues talk about the backlog question and i know that is very important to our companies, but i think to really get at the guts of this issue, we've got to deal with this over secrecy kind of question.
i'd like to ask you, what, in your view, is the government doing that is most helpful in terms of reducing that 4 million number, which i think reflects that there are too many secrets out there and too many people are sitting on them. what's the government doing about that? >> senator, i'll start. >> i'd like to start with the gao. >> okay. >> thank you. that's okay. there's -- we have, in the past, recommended that d.o.d. and its
components, the services as well as the agencies, evaluate their positions that require clearances to make sure that the clearance is required in the first place. and then have procedures in place where they periodically reevaluate those positions to see if those clearances are still necessary. that would be a way to make sure that the requirement is correct, and most people think that clearances follow people. clearances don't follow people. they follow the position. >> ma'am, i want to be respectful. i know of your recommendations. i'm curious as to whether you think the government is moving
effectively and expeditiously on actually doing something about i, because this strikes me, this excessive number of security clearances and your recommendations are always to have these reduced. i've been on this committee with senator feinstein, we're the longest-serving members, and i've heard this again and again. so what is the government doing that is actually effective in your view about this? not your recommendations, which i think are very good. but what is the government doing that is actually effective now in terms of reducing this number. >> i think the answer is obviously not enough because if they were doing enough in terms of leadership and prompt action, they wouldn't have the backlog that they have or the number of people that you're calling into question. >> okay. i'm going to submit some questions to you in writing as well, and thank you, mr. chairman. look forward to the second round. >> senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. with the hack of opm a couple of years ago, reportedly by a hostile foreign power, countless americans have had their privacy violated and their personally identifiable information obtained by that foreign power. can -- do any of you have any observations or comments about what impact that sort of lack of security for that sensitive information, what impact that's had on the best and the brightest people who we would like to serve in these important positions. >> so, i'll start with that.
because my personal information was some of that information that was leaked, not only my information but the people who i had down as references, my family members also, their information was also compromised. so, i think it's incredibly important that this data is secured and that it goes through the same cyber process that the programs that we support do. >> mr. berteau, the -- you were saying how you have to fill out the same information on repetitive applications for security clearances. i guess we know that foreign nations have that information. but the u.s. government apparently doesn't keep it in a place where they can use it without having to ask you each time. >> senator, it is my understanding that actually a number of steps have been taken inside the office of personnel management to provide greater security.
that's a question, i think, for the second panel on the status of those steps. but what we also have to recognize is that it will never be 100% secure on being able to do that and i think we have to mitigate against that as well. i would also note that it's not just the central databases that come into play here. it's all the individual things inside each of the agencies as well. we probably are in a situation where we're going to have to be able to recognize and mitigate that as rapidly as possible. i'm probably a little less concerned about that particular -- although, you know, i got a letter and my wife got a letter and my kids all got a letter as well, i had the responsibility inside d.o.d. to actually oversee the mailing of those 22 million letters. we mailed out 1 million a week, and it took the better part of a half a year to notify everybody. i note that that mailing
occurred about a year and a half after the breach. so, we also need to be able to let people know in a more timely way that their data has been compromised. >> i just -- i don't know anything about that episode that we can be proud of. just seems to me to be embarrassing, and obviously people are at risk as a result. let me move on to ask the -- about interim clearances. the role of interim clearances. when i don't understand is how can somebody get -- have a sufficient background investigation to get an interim clearance and what limitations are put on that clearance that would not be available or that would -- would not apply to a complete clearance, so to speak. and how does that actually work in practice, the role of interim clearances and the background investigations that are conducted to approve of those. >> senator, thanks for the question.
mantech is entering its 50th year of supporting national security this year and we have forever had interim clearances being an integral part of moving people into supporting the federal government. as you know, the interim clearance process is a decision that's a government decision. it is not something we, as contractors, can decide we have to inform the government and let them make those adjudications. we have not seen, as a company, issues with the process and how we do it. that said, one of the issues is because of the time it takes to get a security clearance, that interim security clearance time line is now longer than it was three years ago. so, part of our suggestion is we need to move that time line back so the time people have interim security clearances is narrowed. the process itself is the background investigation that is commercial is done on the individual from a company standpoint. the forms are reviewed in total
about the employee to make sure that the potential applicant to make sure that all information is available so that that government employee or official can make a decision whether sufficient grounds to grant an interim clearance, based on those facts, before the more manual investigation takes place. in our history, as a company, less than one person per year has been identified in that sequence as not being supportable to doing security work in the future. >> thank you. >> senator heinrich. >> thank you, mr. chair. i want to follow up a little bit on the good questions from my colleague from texas. for those of you in industry, and we'll start with you, mr. phillips, how often have you seen a tssci interim clearance? is that a common thing?
>> for our industry, it is not uncommon, but it's an example out of our, let's say 150 people doing an interim status, a vast majority of them are secret. for the type of work we perform. so i can't compare it to any other application or requirement. >> got you. >> those who are in an interim secret status have already received a secret clearance. >> sure, right. >> so it's fairly narrow. >> ms. chappell. >> from my personal knowledge, i don't know of interim clearances on a tssci kind of clearance. those are usually finalized from an interim clearance, they're more on the secret side, and quite frankly, with the backlog of clearances that we have right now, i think the risk of not doing that and, you know, not being able to perform the mission is very high. >> okay.
that's very helpful. >> senator, in my experience, i don't know if there's data collected on this, but in my experience, it was more common in the past. it's a lot less common today, and it has been a lot less common over the last few years. i think it's one of those examples of lessons learned. >> for good reason. >> for good reason, i agree. >> for the risk that's inherent in that. does the government track how many interim security clearances are issued by type, by agency, by personnel type, and is there a process in place to make sure that when that temporary access period is expired, that there's a review to say, well, you know, red flag, this is coming to an end, we should look at this person again. >> i take it you want me to answer that. >> yeah, if you could. >> that information might be at the agency level, and their case management systems, but it was not at the levels that we looked at in our reviews when we worked with odni to collect data on the o investigation time as well as the adjudication and intake for specific agencies. >> so, obviously, the whole of
government, all the agencies aren't here right now but that's something we should probably pay a lot of attention to. >> yes. >> for any of you who want to offer your advice on this, it seems to me, from some of the previous testimony, that it sounds like continuous evaluation is really important, but it shouldn't necessarily supplant a periodic review. it should supplement a periodic review. is that your view across the board? and any of you who want to offer your advice on that, i would be curious. >> yes, sir, i'll start. so technology allows for continuous evaluation. ten years ago you really couldn't do it. start with that as a very good thing to utilize, and over time it will become a more and more important thing because it can be depended on and, in fact, it will identify things not five years from now but along the way between now and five years.
we consider it a use of technology to the benefit of national security. within that framework depending on the level of trust on the ce process itself, the periodic reinvestigation percentages can come down. >> i see. >> i don't see it going away, but it can be like the irs. we're going to audit you every once in a while versus everybody 100%. >> so the interim period between those periodic reviews might get longer based on a lower risk. >> and there can be sample periodic reinvestigations to help inform and make sure the process is working. >> okay. >> i would just say it slightly different. i would say it focuses where the higher risk is and where you should focus periodic investigations on. >> ms. farrell, i want to ask you one more question before i run out of time here. you testified that the national background investigation bureau is trying to decrease the backlog, but it has huge challenges in actually achieving this.
one of the stories i've seen that i'm intrigued by that seems to be working is mbib is taking and deploying teams of investigative personnel to specific sites for a two-month period where they'll set up shop in a dedicated work space, and they try to crank through some of the time sensitive clearance investigations without the back and forth that we heard about in some of the testimony, the travel, the inefficiencies. this is happening right now at a couple labs in new mexico. it seems like a good story in increasing efficiency. do you agree with that? is this a model we should be potentially applying more broadly? >> what we found during the review was that the bureau did not have the capacity to carry out their investigative responsibilities and reduce the backlog. the bureau looked at four scenarios of different
workforces to try to tackle this backlog. they looked at if things stay the same, they look at very aggressive hiring of contractors. they decided it was not feasible for the plan where they would put so much emphasis on the contractors. and the two plans that at the did look at, the backlog still would not be reduced for several years. there hasn't been a selection, though, of which plan they're going to go with in order to reduce the backlog. so that is going to be key. you can't reduce the backlog if you don't have the workforce. >> i don't disagree with you. i don't think you answered my question, but my time is over so we're going to have to move along here. >> senator king. >> first i want to congratulate you because you made the key point of this whole hearing for me. it's the opportunity cost that we should be talking about. it's the good people lost. and that's what brings me here today because i know too many stories of people who just gave
up, who spoke arabic, who visited and lived in the middle east and because of that couldn't get their clearance. it was a kind of catch-22 and those are the very people we want. so i think that's what we have to keep focusing on, those immeasurable people lost, the opportunity cost that has made this such an important inquiry. ms. farrell, who is in charge? if john mccain were here, he would be saying who can we fire had had this is a pure management problem, it seems to me. >> this is a management problem. i referred to the performance accountability council because those are the principals that are in charge of implementing the reform efforts and oversight. >> who is on that council? >> the deputy director for management at omb, it's the director for national intelligence who is also the security executive agent, which means that person sets the policy -- >> well, my problem with that is anytime you have a council -- the term all of government has been used -- i'm sick of that term. that means none of government. that's what people say when nobody is in charge. is there one person who has the
responsibility for fixing this problem, and who are they? >> i would point to the chair of the performance accountability council because that person does have the authority to provide direction regarding the process and carry out those functions. >> is that person going to be here today? do you know? >> i believe that person declined. >> well, that's kind of ridiculous, isn't it? so the one person in the government that's in charge of this issue, that's a very important issue, isn't here because -- did they have to wash their hair? what's the deal? >> i can't speak for omb, sir. >> well, that's really -- that's really disappointing. okay. again, for you, ms. farrell, the private sector has moved on from the 1940s style of doing these things of financial sector does it much more quickly. have we tried to learn from them?
has there been any effort to study how the financial sector does this, for example? >> i do believe that the executive branch agencies have reached out to the private sector after the navy yard shootings. they did a 120-day review. they identified challenges within the process. there was a lot of coordination with government and nongovernment. many of the recommendations that they had were recommendations they had been working on, though, since the reform began back with the passage. >> i would hope we could try to learn something from the private sector because they appear to be doing this much more efficiently. mr. berteau, a technical question, the people who come to interview you, to redo the security clearances, do they carry a clipboard? >> i think they do, sir, and i think it's legal size so it has more room. >> to me the clipboard is the sign of not being in the 21st century. >> i'm sorry to hear that.
i actually own a couple of clipboards and i occasionally use them. >> i used to say it was the universal symbol of authority. but if you go into a hospital and they hand you a clipboard, they're seeking data from you that they already have somewhere else in their system. that's the point i'm trying to make. >> yes, sir. i think that's within my experience. if i could add something on the who is in charge something, you've hit a very key point. there are divided responsibilities. and some of those divided responsibilities actually spill over into the question senator wyden raised about really focusing on -- we've been focusing entirely on the supply side of this equation. how do we actually move people in the process and put them in clearance. there's a demand side of this equation as well. and actually operating under the authorities granted by this committee a previous dni did a substantial reduction in the number of those that required clearance. i think it was something around
700,000 that they eliminated the requirement for a clearance. if you could do one thing to reduce the backlog, getting rid of the demand would be the one thing. but what we've seen over time, and this is back to your question of who's in charge, other responsibilities, responses to other incidences, the navy yard shooting, for example, we see -- when i was back in the defense department what i saw was, in fact, you had to practically get a clearance to get a pass to get on the base even though there would be nothing you would ever touch in the way of classified material once you got on. that's out of an abundance of caution we don't want somebody to come on the base with a gun and be able to kill our people. there are other ways to do that, i would submit, than expanding and lengthening the background investigation process and evaluation using 21st century is the key. >> one more question. am i correct in taking from this panel that these security clearances are not transferrable, they're not portable? you get one in one agency and if you go to another agency you have to start over? >> it varies. >> that's a disappointing answer. >> there are places where
portability is robust and it doesn't take long, only a day or two. there are others, department of homeland security, for example, i believe the average to move from one to another is almost 100 days. within the same department, under the same cabinet. >> i'm sorry, i can't believe what you just said. you mean a person within the homeland security department who has a clearance to move from one job in homeland security to another job in homeland security takes 100 days? >> yes, sir, and it could even mean that a contractor sitting at the same desk moving to a different contract has to go through a new process. >> that's preposterous. >> i think that's a very nuanced and subtle word to use for it, yes, sir. >> thank you. >> senator lankford. >> i want to pick up where you left off because that was one of my key questions. what's holding that back why the agencies don't trust each other enough to be able to handle
clearances? is this an issue of i don't trust your people, or not a common set of standards? >> it's probably a combination of a host of things. i think the three things you could do about it, number one, is force a set of common standards, and even within dhs, for example, there's only statutory standards for one part of dhs. it happens to be the transportation security administration and that's a result of a different line of congressional inquiry. setting common standards and then reviewing and making sure that the deviations or the additions to those standards are minimized and they have to be approved by the top leadership. there's a leadership question. that's the second piece that comes in. >> what is currently not aligned right now on our standards? >> i think it tends to be more in the civilian agency side than it does in the intel community and the defense department side. i think the standards are a little clearer but they're not clear to us. we as contractors often don't know what standards are going to be applied to the individuals.
>> push pause on that real quick. could we get a list from anyone to say where we deviate in standards, civilian, defense, contractors, whatever it may be? >> the standards should be the same for -- there is federal investigative standards, they do not differ by category of the workforce. fred adjudicate tive standards are supposed to be uniformly applied. there is no data or measures about the extent to which reciprocity works or does not work. this is something that we have recommended before that there should be a baseline to determine whether or not reciprocity is working. and if it's not working, then to it be able to pinpoint the issues being discussed as to why it's not working. many years ago, it was believed that reciprocity was not working because agencies did not trust the quality of the investigations that someone else had done. but we don't know what the issue
is today. >> so when i meet with the chief human capital officers of the agencies called chcoas is this reciprocity issue, this issue is not only slowing down and creating a bigger backlog, and demand issue, to have to go through this again and again for the same person, and incredible nuisance for the person actually going through it for the third time, but it's also decreasing our federal hiring in the speed of actually getting good people on the job. so what i'm trying to drill down on is this an issue of agencies having a standard across all of federal government but add one moran because they've added one or twor mo more then we have to the whole thing? and we have to do one additional check? what is it. >> this is not issuing policy on
how reciprocity should be applied. >> the reciprocity is already required. >> required by statute. >> so it's required but you are saying releasing management from anyone else on how to actually apply what is current law? >> because current law does state with certain exceptions. so it's up to the dni to note what those certain exceptions are so that the agencies will be able to determine if an investigative can be accepted as well as adjudication. >> because at one point who is determining what the certain excepti exceptions are? >> the agencies. >> so they can determine it? >> right. some guidance out there but it's not clear. so the dni is working on reciprocity policy and we are waiting for that policy to be issued. >> okay. what is the key information gathering that is needed? you also mention this as well about individuals getting 0en to a facility that may not need security clearances because they
won't touch documents or see elements they aren't able to see. what is the lower level to do faster to make sure those individuals can start to do their job? >> so the dni does have statutory authority and responsibility for the standards for security clearances. there is it a second set of standards just for suitability or fitness to be in the job and for the credentials to be able to access the facilities. those standards are governed by the ochs f personnel management, not the dni. and there frequently needs to be a little better mapping between these two. i think the greatest thing this committee could do is require more reporting about this. my experience as government official when i'm required to send you a report, i'm going to pay a lot more tension what i'm doing than if i'm not. >> great. thank you. >> do any members seek additional time? >> can i have one more question,
mr. chairman. >> absolutely. >> who in the united states government decides who is eligible for a security clearance? >> that would be the -- usually, it's the agency of the employee that's applying for the clearance. the agency takes the investigative report and determines if someone is eligible or not. >> thank you. >> mr. cornyn, sometimes there are easy decisions made at lower level and sometimes harder calls that have to go higher up before a decision is made. that has to do with both the quality and characteristics of the individual case but also the dynamic of the job and what needs to come into play here. so it can actual be calculated in terms of who comes into play here. that's also have a very good question i think to ask the government representatives on the second panel.
>> vice chairman. >> i just would again thank you mr. chairman for holding this hearing. but i think getting more members engaged because we are losing good people. but i go back to miss chappell's comments. one if we can use technology. and, two, the closer we can get at least at the secret level on one standard, one form, one adjudication and one clearance seems like it's common stens. and marry the technology with continuous evaluation. and we can make real, real progress. and the good news is there is no odi director codes, and i think a host of us realize this is a problem, and again i thank the chair for holding this meeting. >> i thank those of you at the diocese, witnesses today. your testimony is in valuable to us. i walk away to some degree more optimistic than i came. because i think that the biggest issues that you've raised can be
solved. and i think this is a question of can we put the right people in a room that understand when you talk about reciprocity, what is that? as i said to senator king, we shouldn't be shot, dhs is the commingling of about 37 different pieces that we move from different areas of government, and we put it under a new agency. and given that there was baptism by fire of the secretary, it's not unrealistic to believe that they still operate like the core agencies they came out of that just happened to be under a new banner. so i think these are all things that are doable. we have to have the right leadership in the room talking about real solutions. and i think that it's the commitment of this committee that we will start and complete that process. and at the end of the day,
i'd like to welcome our witnesses for the second panel. we just heard from the industry on the challenges that face and some potential solutions moving forward. we'll now have an opportunity to hear from the executive branch, their perspectives, and their ideas. i understand the daunting task and job before each of you vetting more than four million cleared personnel and identifying threats before they materialize. it's not easy. but we can do better than we are doing today as we continue our dialogue, i hope you'll speak freely, frankly, and think creatively. because this hearing is not only about identifying the problem, but it's about uncovering the solutions. i want to thank you each of you for being here. and i want to reiterate what i said at the end of the last panel. i actually am more optimistic right now than i was before we started. because i think we have been able to clearly understand the big muscle moves, and i think
that putting the right people in the room might enable us to try to overcome some of the challenges and replace it with solutions that we would have full agreement are worth trying or that we feel will achieve a different outcome. so i'm now going to turn to the vice chairman, i'm going to turn directly to mr. dunbar who i understand will begin. and then the floor will go to mr. phalen, and then mr. reid and mr. paine. mr. dunbar, the floor is yours. >> thank you, chairman burr, vice chairman and members of the community. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss security clearances, challenges and reforms. the director of national intelligence is designated as
the security executive agent, in this role the dni is responsible for the development, implementation and over sight of effective, efficient and uniform policies and procedures governing the conduct of investigations and adjudications and, if applicable, polygraph for eligibility for access classified information. the national counter intelligence and security center has been designated as the lead support element to fulfill the dni responsibilities. we are responsible for the over sight of policies goffening the conduct of investigations and adjudications for approximately four million national security cleared personnel. the security process includes determining if an individual is suitable to receive a security clearance. conducting a background investigation. reviewing investigative results. determining if the individual is eligible for access to classified information or to
hold a sensitive position. facilitating reciprocity. and periodic will i reviewing continued eligibility. we work closely with the agenci agencies responsible for actually conducting investigations and adjudications and managing other security programs associated with clearances. this ensures that our policies and practices are formed by those working to protect our personnel and sensitive information. we have collectively enjoyed some noteworthy process insecurity reform, including the development and implementation of multiple security executive agent directives, examples of which i've outlined in my written statement for the record. however, as recently noted by coats and his annual theta assessment, security process is an urgent need of substantive reform across the entire enterprise. we must quickly and with laser focus identify and undertake concrete and transformative action to reform the enterprise.
while at the same time, continuing to ensure a trusted workforce. und underpinning reform effort must be robust investigation process which enables federal employees and workforce partners to deliver on agency mission while also protecting our nation's secrets. when the background investigation process fails or is delayed, mission delivery suffers, the national security is put at risk, and our ability to attract and retain the workforce is inhibited. despite the hard work of professionals working these itch use daily, we reached a time of critical mass which demands transformative change. significant challenges for the background investigation program continued to adversely affect government operations. current investigative backlog is approximately 500,000 cases and the average time for investigating and add judd
casing clearances is three times longer than the terrorism act standards. for the first quarter of 2018, matrix indicate top stek ret investigations government wide took an average in excess of 300 days. this is four times longer than the standards and goals. in addition, backgrounds investigation related costs have risen by over 40% since fy 2014. the suitability executive agent all security organizations and all impacted industry partners agree that this is unacceptable. i would like to take the opportunity to provide the committee with more detailed regarding upcoming trusted workforce initiative. this is designed overhaul i referenced earlier. enterprise effort sponsored by the security executive agent and the suitability executive agent
in concert with our partner organizations which will bring together key leadership, change agents, industry experts, and innovative thinkers to chart a bold path forward for the security and credentialing enterprise. the participants, including all performance accountability counsel principal organizations, are committed to critically reviewing and analyzing with the clean slate how to accomplish the transformational overhaul which is required. as mentioned m my statement for the record, our trusted workforce 2.1 initiative kicks off next monday and tuesday, 12 and 13 march, at the intelligence community campus. we look forward to implementing and ultimately accomplishing the revolutionary change required across the clearance enterprise. in addition, we look forward to updating the committee on our progress.
the committees are committed to transformation overhaul in at least three areas. first, revamping the approach and policy framework. current standards are built on decades and not fundamentally changed since 1950s we set the ambitious goal by the end of 2018 we will identify and establish a new set of policy standards that transforms the u.s. government's approach to vetting its workforce. our objective must be to entrust a workforce to protect vital national security information with which they are entrusted. second, overhauling the enterprise business process. current process is slow, overly reliant on manual field work and does not leverage advancements in the availability of data. finally, we must modernize information technology. existing technology constraints
our ability to transform fast enough. we must leverage today as technology to connect vital security processing required and tomorrows technology. after a decade of incremental policy change, there is still unacceptable operational burden on government agencies making determinations. we owe those dedicated professionals a high performing process that meets the needs of our workforce and ultimately the american citizen. >> we are committed to full transparency of these efforts. thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee. and i'll be happy to resopond t any questions. >> thank you. >> vice chairman. >> thank you in his absence. >> i'll bring my clipboard later. members of the committee, my
name is charles phalen junior and appreciate the opportunity to appear before you. they conduct 95% of the investigations across the federal government. results of this mostly singular supply chain are used by over 100 agencies to make their independent adjudicate tive decisions. even though few agencies that have their own delegated or statutory authority to conduct investigations, such as agencies of the intelligence community, rely on our services in some capacity. i would like to start by addressing inventory and put context around the numbers that have been the subject of much media attention. 2017 we completed 2.5 million investigations across all our investigative types. as of today, our inventory is approximately 710,000 investigative products. these include simple record checks, suitability and credentialing investigations,
and national security investigations. it's important to note that the top end number i just mentioned is much greater than the number of individuals waiting for their first, their initial security clearance to begin working with or on behalf of the federal government. of that total inventory, about 164,000 are either simple record checks that move in or out of inventory daily, or are investigations supporting credential or suitability. clearances. approximately 337,000 of those are for initial investigations. and about 209,000 are for periodic investigations. since we stood up 17 months ago as nbib, we have worked to increase our capacity and realize efficiencies, stabilization of the top end inventory over the past six months has been obtained primarily because we have invested in the necessary infrastructure. we are approaching this challenge on three fronts.
first, to recover from the 2014 loss of the usis contract. we have rebuilt both workforce capacity. as of today, there are over 7,000 federal krot or investigators working on behalf of nbib. that's good. that's not enough. second, our investigative capacity can be significantly enhanced through smarter workforces time. through the implementation of our business process reengineering strart strategy, we have critically done the shortfalls and corrections needed to support the requirements and our decisions have been enhanced through better data and a lit iks. we have improved by p priorityizing cases. and start hubs within industry. we have increased efficiencies enhanced interviews and
collective by powers of technology to discover information. and to free the investigative focus of those aspects of investigations where human interaction is still critical. third, we are fully supportive of the upcoming executive agent's workforce initiatives. they are driven by existing policies, some dating back seven decades, and much to be gained by this review effort and we are fully behind it. underpining all of this is the planned transition to a new information technology system being developed by the department of defense. and national background investigation services, nbis, will ultimately serve as nbib system to support background investigations and will offer shared services with end to end process for all government agencies and departments. nbib with the support of inner agency partners will continue to make improvements to the
background investigations and vetting processes. as an example, for the past year we have offered our customer agencies a continuous evaluation product that meets today's guidance issued by the national intelligence for continuous investigation. as we work to reduce this inventory, we will work to meet customer needs, leveraging their expertise, as part of our decision making process, and remain transparent and accountable to all of our customers and to congress. we recognize that solutions to reduce inventory and maintain the strength of the background investigation program includes people, resources, and technology, as well as partnerships with our stake holder agencies, and changes to the over all clearance investigative and add adjudicated processes. finally, as federal government works to implement the transition of the department of defense sponsored background investigations we will examine our workforce needs, our capacity, our budget, and work with our partners to minimize disruptions.
we have a shared interest in reducing inventory, taking steps to effectuate smooth tran sticks and understanding of this process and ultimate impact on national security. thank you for the opportunity to be here today. i look forward to the next year. and i look forward to ens aing any questio answering any questions you may have. >> thank you. mr. reed. >> thank you. on behalf of secretary of defense mattis, thank you for the opportunity to meet today to discuss a very important topic at hand. i have submitted my statement for the record and, sir, with your permission i would like to take a few minutes to amplify an um could of points. first of all, the department of defense fully appreciates the necessary for security clearance for form. and fully committed to doing our part to implement new methods for sustaining trusted workforce. in a manner in which upholds the
highest protection for national security information, safeguarding our people, and always ensuring the highest degree of readiness to defend our nation. with the support of congress, multiple committees, and our close interagency partners represented here today from the office of the dni, office of personnel management, and the office of management and budget, we have for the past some 18 months been developing plans to transition responsibility for background investigations for our portion of the workforce from mr. phalen's organization led by mr. paine. and chair and vice chair may recall, we met and briefed on this about 11 months ago internally. and we have been moving out steadily. last august, secretary mattis approved our plan, which was referred to as the section 951 plan tasked us to in the 2017 authorization act to submit a plan for this transition. and this past december upon approval of the national defense
authorization act for 2018, this included direction to the defense department to implement the transition plan we submitted under the previous tasking and to do so by october of 2020. we are well under way to meet this objective. in fact, can project today that the initial phase of the plan, and there is some dependencies i'll talk about, but begin implementing this plan later in this year, october time frame, concurrent with the next fiscal year and there are some conditions i'll talk about. our team we all working very hard every day to put the resources and the procedures in place to make this happen. and mr. pain will talk about that in detail. but the mission to our department and in line with the intent of the security executive algt just talked about with the 2.0 initiative, dod is actively
developing these alternative procedures for conducting background investigations, advantage ourselves with all available technology and other things. our fundamental concept is to build on the existing continuous evaluation program which security agent has established, to build around that, and supplement that with additional tools, such as risk rating tools which analyze individual risk, analyze risk by position and where to look and focus processes. we have processes for automated record checks, some of that is in hughes, to build around that, to take the shell, enhance that, with other tools that give us a full comprehensive picture of the risks we are dealing with and human risk with risk profiles and host of other data connected to other programs we
have, such as insider threat, such as user monitoring, such as base access, facility access. we are in a position to aggravate that data to give us much more association of the risk than we had. and that is the background we are referring to. >> we have worked this tw owith colleagues here. and there is full agreement of everyone i've briefed that this methodology is viable and sufficient and goes far beyond where we are today in updating our understanding of risk in the workforce to a more future looking state. we will soon, i said there is a condition about when we'll start, we will soon be submitting to the dni our proposal requesting approval to begin phasing in the use of this process for a selected segments of our workforce. and we will do this in a very graduated madjar graduated manner so we can understand what everything is
taking place and appreciate where we are and accept the results. and we will at the same time we have to buildup a capacity to do this on scale. so this is a ramp. the plan we submitted sd a ramped plan, three part plan over three years. and as i said we are prepared subject to the concurrence of the security agent to formally commence this in october of this year. this will be a long term process and it will be doen in a graduated manner. we will buildup our capacity and bring everyone along with us, congressional oversight, all of our reporting requirements, ever ability and full intent and no latitude not to uphold and not to represent what we are doing. there is nothing below the water line that folks won't understand. we are very cognizant of this reciprocity issue and how people need to appreciate what's happening so they have trust and kfd nens tconfidence in the sys. and we are prepared to do that. we are equally mindful, as we do
this, that we must continue to rely on the national background investigations bureau to process the some 500,000 dod cases in their inventory. those cases have gone into that system. we are enabling them to do that now. we are the sponsor for the it system. we will continue to do that and build those tools out. all of which will transfer, but they will continue to be available to all of government and all investigative services providers in the federal government will have access to the tools and procedures we will are developing. in the later stages of our plan later in next year, we will begin working with nbib to understand and implement the resource transforms. financial resources we put into nbib are on a pay as you go. but the contractor that supports it now, as they ramp down to smaller population, we are 75%
of their business load, roughly, so as we shift that, we are working with them commitment to provide the plan through the pack principals of what our ramped up plan is and their ramped down plan is, and they have to be in harmony, and we will support and enable them to do so. and i would just adhere they have done a tremendous job. dealing with a difficult challenges with the inventory that mr. phalen inherited when he took that job. and we are very much appreciative of what they are doing. i can't under estimate the complexity of this endeavor. it's about a $1.1 billion end price. we have volume of 700,000 cases a year that they process for us. there is some 8 to 10,000 people that do this. and all of this will be in motion as we phase and implement this plan, keeping them whole and viable and establishing our ability to do our mission, which will then be benefited by the
fact that we have control of our own initiation process, investigations piece, and the adjudications, and then very important going forward, the follow up, the continuous vetting, continuous evaluation, foundations that i already discussed. we are working on this every day. we have great team work. we appreciate the support of congress on this endeavor. and, sir, thank you. and i look forward tour questions. >> thank you. mr. payne. >> mr. chairman, vice chairman, members of the committee, thank you very much for this opportunity to speak with you on this topic. you have my written statement. i'm not going to go into that. and i'll try to keep my comments as brief as possible because i know you have a lot of questions. i'll say that i am many the individual who is going to be responsible for executing the mission in dod for background investigations and begin to build that mission. as a result of that charley and i have to work, mr. phalen and i
have to work very closely with each other, and our teams have to work very closely with each other so that we do this in a manner that doesn't hinder nbib's ability to work down the backlog while at the same time increasing our capacity to pick up these investigations. that being said, and in view of the previous panel that was here and the comments that came from the previous panel, i am responsible for industry security currently. while we do not do the background investigations ourselves, it's mr. phalen's organization that does that, we initiate the background investigations. i am the individual who grants interim security clearances and takes them away. i am also responsible for the execution of dod's continuous evaluation program, which from my perspective has been greatly successful and is the way of the
future. we have to go down this route if we are going to make the necessary changes to make this process better. in addition to that, the insider threat programs for dod, i own the defense insider threat management and analysis center which is where all of the insider threat concerns in dod come to. and we work with the individual agencies within dod to resolve those particular issues. all of those things combined, as mr. reid outlined a few moment it is ago, all of those things combined are things that we did not have back in 2004 or 2005 when dod had the initial mission for background investigations. we have them now. that is it the way of the future. that is the way that we have to go. if we are going to make any progress in making this program
faster and making this program more secure, we got to look at a different methodology of doing this. it has to -- we have to utilize continuous evaluation and automated processes many of which mr. reed outlined in his statement. but in addition to that, we have to look at the standards. we have to change the standards. if we are going to do this successfully, we have to change the standards. and that is going to result in some big decisions on our part. and those big decisions pertain to how much risk we are willing to accept. as mr. berteau in the previous panel stated, we are never going to be able to reduce the risk to zero unless we stop hiring. obviously, we can't do that. and there is always going to be risk involved in the investigative process. there is always going to be risk
involved in the security clearance process. what we have to determine is how much risk we find acceptable. and thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. payne, thang to all of your our witnesses. again, recognize witness up to five minutes. recognize myself first. i want to tell you a story. a story starts about ten years ago. 22-year-old graduates college. never any plans to work for government. gets offered a job. civilian at dod. and couldn't be more excited. parents more excited than he was. job, paycheck, things that you hope they are going to find. and then a process of 11 months of security clearance.
you know, it gets back to some things that were said in the first panel. and i don't think that i'm an exception. that happened to be my son. here's a kid that is incredibly excited to work for government, work where he did, ready to go, and after 11 months, you know, he wonders whether he made the right decision. he didn't lose his skills like some will do today if it's technology. but the question is, how much of that initial passion for working for government do you lose from the standpoint of retention down the road? so understand i get it firsthand why we've got to accomplish what you've set out to do. it is unacceptable to this next generation, just the fact that
things go so slowly. i say that with the full knowledge, and i'm still talking about the federal government, and there are some things that even congress can't change, but the reality is that we can do much better, and mr. reid i thank you you for your brief, almost a year ago. the fact is the time line is about exactly where you told "u" it w told us it was going to be. we are excited to be the roll out rksz mr. payne, a lot of pressure on your shoulders, i get that but we can't go forward unless we do this. i know the commitment of dan coats. and i don't think that that's going to change as long as he's there. and i think now we are matching it with desire by members of congress to make sure that we not only identify those things that need to be changed, but we accomplish the solutions. so i think that we have good
partners. mr. reid and mr. payne, this is to you. are the are there additional authorities that you need to accomplish this rollout and eventually fully move this system to what you have designed? >> senator t from authority standpoint section 925 of the current nba a gives us reenforces secretary's authority in the first instance to conduct background investigations which was a plus. it also provides direction, not so much authority, for us to consolidated other elements within the department, which also is very helpful. >> let me ask it a different way if i can. >> yes, sir. >> is there anything in federal statute today that hinders your ability to change your review process the way you this i it needs to be done? >> not that i'm aware not in
statute. now we are wholly dependent it on director coats and his leadership, to approve, as i outlined our alternative process. and secretary mattis cannot do that unilaterally. we are beholden to the security executive agent and the suitability executive agent for the standards they set and the process they control. and we don't have a problem with that process. we are eagerly looking forward to working in 2.0, because it comports with the plan we set out. so i do not believe there is impediment in federal law. >> so i want you to go back and make sure there is not some statute pop its ugly head up and say this does make sense but you can't do this until we change this statute. if we have things to change let us know now so we can implement this on the timeline that's designed. >> yes, senator, absolutely.
>> i should have said this at the first panel, and i'll say it now. i'm not adverse to additional investigators. i'm not adverse to increasing funding. i am adverse in doing either of those things before we change the system. so, you know, until you change, it's hard to truly evaluate what the need is going to be, what the cost is going to be. i am hopeful, and i think mr. reed this is your intent, that this takes the timeline for security approval and drives it down. can you give us what your goal is from the standpoint of the timeline, if today, if nine years ago it took 11 months, i can't imagine what it is today for that similar tsci individual. what's your goal now? >> yes, sir. the established goals for each
level of clearance are attainable under our plan, but more better than that, under our plan, currently for secret reinvestigation, the guideline goal is 145 days. it's taken about twice that long. under our plan, our vision is that that periodic reinvestigation as currently conducted does not exist. that a contemporaneous would be in place of that. there would still be deliberate face-to-face reupping of employees. it's not auto pilot. but the monitoring and the reporting which we are already doing in our program now, will be the backbone. so the answer to that question is the goal is eliminate the requirement currently existing for periodic reinvestigations at all levels. we have some work to do to get beyond the first level. >> what can i tell that next 22-year-old who wants to be a civilian dod employee and getting ready to go through the background check, 22 years old,
never lived anywhere but school and home, how long will it take to process him for clearance? >> again, under the current process, that ranges from 200 to 400 days. under the future process, it's perfectly attainable to get down in the current guidelines which are for top secret 150 days, but we feel it can go much lower with the automation and the tools that i described, sir. >> okay. vice chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we heard a lot of commonality from the first panel to the second panel in terms of goals. it's not a new problem. but i loo can at just the last performance over the last couple of years. we have doubling of the backlog. mr. phalen, you say it's stabilized. when are you going to get it down? we've had doubling of the cost.
we have not commonality on that or how we'll get there. we had the notion of increased technology, but again i don't see a timeline presented. we see in certain areas, for example, financial sector where enormous security concerns. they have been able to implement tools like continuous evaluation using increased technology. and i get the frustration on the dod side to say, we have to split this up. but if we are talking about an effort to go, if we accept some of the industry's interests in terms of one application, one investigation, one adjudication and one clearance, seems like we are going in the opposite direction. so i'd like to hear from mr. reid or mr. payne if we go through this process, we are not simply going to do more duplication, less port ability, less reciprocity, than what we
have right now, which, again, first to acknowledge, is not working? >> yes, sir. lt application. >> the application, standards are federally elected. there is one standard. what we are embarking on and preparing to implement is alternative methodologies to reach those standards. now, in parallel, they talked about, looking at the standards. if they change, they'll change for everybody. we are not creating a new standard or application. we are automating behind the application process we go through to collect the data to form the basis of background investigation that becomes basis of adjudicate tive process. we are not changing the process. >> recognizing you are the vast majority, how do we make sure goals take place as you build this new system? >> again, in very first
instance, sir, that will be by adhering to the guidelines set by the executive agents and everything we implement. we do not have unilateral authority to change that process without the executive agent's concurrence. so a line that. >> respectfully, i know you are trying to head us in the right direction, but it sounds a lot of process words rather than specific guidelines, time tables, how we'll get there. let me just -- while i share the chairman's concern about simply throwing money at t bit. but my understanding is an awful lot of agencies they kind of build this into their dna and don't continue to prioritize fundsing. so the funding there isn't getting there. so i don't think we need to throw more dollars but make sure agencies make this a priority within their funding scheme. and i hope dod, which has gotten a very generous bump up in the
last budget, if you take this on, it would be very disappointing, at least to this senator, if we came back and said we didn't have the dough to do it. let me go to mr. phalen, stabilizing at 700,000 is not acceptable. and new techniques that some of the government labs were using in terms of for example hubbing interviews. why is it taking so long, trying to implement what seems to be common sense, hubbing, i have area like norfolk, virginia, huge numbers waiting for clearances. what can you talk -- what can you say specifically about using these tools that seem to be working in doe, kind of across the breathe in other areas like
in my area? >> taking all those. >> and start with how we'll drive that 700,000 backlog down. >> starting with that, when i first joined the organization 17 months ago, the work we were required to do was in sufficient to do that work. period. that's why that the inventory continued to rise as opposed to begin to stabilize. when we reached the point we have the same capacity that we had in 2014, when this all fell apart, that's a weigh station to point the stabilization. it's not the end game. in one sense i'm proud we hit that, but not proud we have not brought that down. our goal is to bringing it down. last week i noted to a committee on the other side of the house side that we were looking at
potentially as much as 15 to 20% reduction by this time -- by the end of the calendar year. that's still not sufficient. but it will be by itself we'll begin to drive that number down. it will probably take us a couple of years to get down to a level that is much more effective. along the way, we are trying a number of things. we have talked about technology. we need to be able to get at information, collect information more reliably, more quickly, through technology, as opposed to shoe leather as was mentioned in the previous session. the problem is getting to some of those sources right now, particularly law enforcement sources is not as easy as one would hope. and still have to put a lot of people on the street to find police records and various levels. but we are working with agencies to continue to do that. you talked about hubbing, we started that with the department
of energy, as surge, about 17, 18 months ago in lastal a most, looked very promising, we have since that point, we have done a number of things that are both hubbing and surging, one is more concentrated than the other. most recently we finished one in paterson air force bay in the dayton area. we recognized an increased efficiency somewhere in the low 40% positive note. in other words, what would normally be an hour's work, they were finishing in 36 minutes. that's a rough estimate. there were far more productive in that hubbing area. you mentioned the area around tide water, actually getting a session in tide water on april 1st. we pulled together all the dod and our assets and going to focus on that area. but that is one of probably about eight or nine that i could mention just in the last year we
have actually done this and found positive results. certainly, dayton, san antonio, out in nevada, tinker air force base, oklahoma city, and i mentioned tide water. and one promising is two fronts, one working with industry directly to find areas not by company but geography and program where we can begin focus our resources places like southern california, again like tide water, like florida where we can bring that together and work with industry to focus you're energiour energies down there. second part is follow up on comment by earlier panelists. it's clear to me in my current work and last experience in life, industry collects data before they put someone in to a clearance, decide to hire somebody. and we need to find a way to leverage the way it's done and
accept it and not ask the same questions. and that will by itself reduce a lot of time and collection and effort. that's ha high level view. i hope gets to some of the points you mentioned, sir. >> curious you didn't mention national capital region as one of the areas that would be recipient of hubbing area, since this is greatest concentration forts need for clearances. >> interestingly, on my asset question yesterday, and spoke to the folks in charge of the activities in this area, we are in the washington d.c. area, work has to be done in the washington area close to being up to speed in the washington d.c. area. it is other parts of the country where somebody's background may take them to other parts of the country not as up to speed. >> i'll be happy to send my friends in contracting of that fact. they don't believe that fact. >> understood. >> dod has done own background investigations and work before and then handed that back over to the whole of government?
>> yes, sir, prior to 2005, we had responsibility for background investigations at what's now the defense security service. >> so whaet's the lesson learne? give me the key lessons learned? >> so mr. payne touched on one of those, that is having comprehensive process in place to deal with the volume and scale of investigative items. stt continuous evaluation tools that we have now are different. risk rating and automated records check. additional tools we are developing to streamline the submission process within the department. if you look at the current process and look at past practice, high percentage of drag in the system between submission and investigation, just to get the submission clean and get all the data. we have tools in place already to improve upon that. i talked about this streamline background investigations. and then central and this
positioning of our consolidated facility that did not exist at that time either. so we have in place or we vl in place when we move investigations back, all three pieces of this enterprise, sub submissions, investigations and adjudications all under a single organization, with the authority and the resources and the mission focus. and i would just say currently, sir, deputy shanahan, number one is clearance reform. secretary mattis, actively involved in pushing us to better solutions and to make this functionality not back office thing someone does in the department. not administrative thing but security focus that exists in the team now, i can't say what tas in 2005, it could not be any higher today and we have the pieces aligned to put this into action. >> give me two goals that are the nickels and noses type goals here. will this drop down costs? and will this speed up the process? >> yes and yes.
>> give me a ballpark of what that means. >> in terms of speed tg the process, again, current time lines we are experiencing 150 or so days for secret level reinvestigation. we will eliminate that requirement completely. so there is a time improvement there. current background investigation field activities, field work, our studies and our pilots and everything that we put into place now, using aggregated data tools that i've talked about, can get us 90% of everything we are getting now from the field investigation on the front end, and then the tools can focus on the last 10%. we will still have to go out and do some field work. but 90% of the field work can be handled through automated processes. so that will drive down the capacity needed to do those field investigations. and, therefore, drive down the cost per unit that we currently provide to opm. >> right. and you said first time approval
is still at 150 days still your assumption first time new person, new hire. >> that's the reinvestigation. but currently it's about the same for the initial secret, is he tech ret level. >> and you assume it's still going to stay at the 150 days? >> pardon me? >> you'll still assume it's 150 days. currently 150 days, you assume when you transition days it will still be 150 days? >> knows, that's current standard. i don't know today how fast we can do it. my thought is it can be done in a couple days. facilities here in the d.c. area that run serious automated checks that are thorough, and it's 20 minutes. i don't know we'll have 20 minutes. there are always things you have to check. >> i'm back to chairman question 22-year-old, thaens whthat's wh
you gave him 150 days. >> current standard. >> you think a couple weeks. >> absolutely on secret level. no reason it can't be. >> mr. payne, do you concur on that? >> i think. i think some of the things we have in place right now, again, as mr. reid outlined using continuous evaluation. maybe i want to finesse that a little bit. continuous evaluation as opposed to continuous vetting. so continuous evaluation, programs set up by the dni, is designed to look at the risk in between periods of reinvestigation. when we talk about continued -- and they have seven data sources they are requiring every agency to utilize when they do continuous evaluation. when i talk about continuous vetting, i'm looking at expanding that into other data sources. data sources within dod. other data sources within the government.
other data sources within the public sector, that we can pull those things together, many required already for the secret investigations, and do those on a continuous basis. and if we are doing those things on a continuous basis, there is no need to do a reinvestigation on someone at the secret level unless you come up with derogatory information. so that's where the significant savings is going to be. >> okay. thank you. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been surprised in this hearing that we haven't had to talk much about money. mr. fphalen, is there managemen? is there shortfall in terms of
the people necessary to work down this backlog? >> so under the current process in our current operation, we operate working capital fund, revolving fund. and agencies wish to have investigation done give us the money to have the investigation done. so from our standpoint, it is, here's the money, do an investigation, so we are not short of funding to do these investigations on our end. where i think better question would be are the agencies that need to have an investigation conducted funded appropriately to identify the money to send to us to do the investigation. >> are there sufficient personnel? our economy is pretty tight. is there a shortage of qualified people to do this work? >> the high end of folks to do the investigative work as a population is stressed at this point to hit beyond where we are. although we have encouraged ourselves to continue hiring. so today, there are nearly adequate, but we still have much more work to do. and if we don't change today's processes, some of the things you heard already, then we'll
continue hiring beyond that and that brings greater stress on the total number of people to do it. >> so that's initiative to do that? >> yes, to reduce the need for having people in there, yes. >> i think could go to any of you, i'll address it to mr. reid. is the port ability we talked about part of this revamped plan, to consider that factor so we don't have to redo these tests? let me ask a specific question. we heard about dhs where you might to have a whole new investigation to go from one job to the next agency. please tell me that doesn't happen in the department of defense. >> knows, it does not. we are all under one roof. and dhs independent agencies brought together in dhs are still operating differently. but we have for years had a single adjudication facility
within the department. and external to the department -- >> so the clearances are portable within the department of defense? >> absolutely, sir. >> and is this -- is the port reinvention that's going on? >> the portability -- the interesting part is that mostly today a singular investigation in the agency can use the investigation that we do to conduct an adjudication but it's up to that agency to do the adjudication and the example you heard earlier within dhs with the same set of facts they may decide to ask for more information, ask for a readjudication. >> so portability isn't a part of the overall structure of the new system. it's an agency-by-agency decision whether they will accept -- whether they will do reciprocity? >> i would say it's less about structure and more about both empowering them and encouraging them to accept the decisions made by others in previous lives, so the decision made by one agency, but the second agency to accept that that first
agency probably did a pretty good job and was honest about how they approached it, and to accept the results of that first investigation and not, other than maybe another question, but not ask a lot more about it, not reinvestigate, not -- i'm sorry, not reinitiate an investigation. >> thank you. mr. reid, why is it that it's taking so long, has taken and apparently will take so long to transition from the opm to department of defense? you were talking about 2020 i think, and it started last year. >> yes, sir. so the defense authorization act requires us to implement the plan by october 2020. we intend to implement the plan in october of '18. we're projecting a three-year three-phase plan starting -- >> you're going to bring it in on time and under budget? >> well, it says start by 2020. so we'll start now. it didn't tell us how long to finish, but we submitted a three-year plan so logically the expectation is we take three
years. when we moved it out of dod last time, it took more than five years, and it's more complicated, but to short answer your question we want to do it in a phased, deliberate and graduated way. we have to keep our partner agency whole. they support a lot of other agencies in the government, and they rely on us to do that. it will help them work down their inventory once we start processing new cases separately. that will drive down the new work that goes to mr. phalen of tens of thousands of cases -- of thousands of cases a week that we're providing them now. we'll turn off that spigot and help with the backlog as we build up our own capacity and capability. >> i'm out of time, but mr. payne, very quickly. you used a phrase that struck me. you said we have to change the standards. what did you mean when you said that? do you mean lower the standards? >> i don't necessarily mean lower the standards, but we have to -- the federal investigative standards dictate what steps have to be taken to achieve a secret level security clearance or a top secret level security
clearance, so, again, as has been outlined, we -- >> so it's the steps that might have to be compressed. >> correct. >> not necessarily -- >> not the adjudicative standards, the investigative standards. >> that's what i needed to know. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair. >> senator wydon. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i have a question for you, mr. phalen. i've made a special focus of my work during this russian inquiry, the follow the money kinds of questions. i want to ask you a couple of questions relating to that. for you i think, mr. phalen, the question is should someone who fails to disclose the financial entanglements with a foreign adversary be eligible for a security clearance? that is a yes or no question. >> i'm not sure i have a yes or no answer for you, sir. i believe it would -- it would
play a prominent role in a decision as to whether that individual should be granted a clearance, and it's not an inconsequential question to ask. >> how is it not an up or down yes or no? we're talking about significant financial entanglements with a foreign adversary. shouldn't somebody who fails to disclose it, i mean it's one thing if it's disclosed and you have a debate and like you say it's balancing, but failure to disclose seems to me a different matter all together, so i gather you don't think necessarily that somebody who fails to disclose a significant financial entanglement with a foreign adversary shouldn't be denied a security clearance. >> that's not what i meant to say. >> go ahead and tell me what you meant to say. >> under the adjudicative standards, i would defer to mr. dunbar, under the adjudicative standards there's nothing that says if you do this, you can't have a clearance.
it says to the adjudicator take into account all you know about this individual and make a decision regarding their candor, regarding their entanglements, regarding their families, regarding crime, regarding all sorts of things and make a decision. i would say that the scenario you outlined would play a prominent -- be a prominent thought to be considered during the adjudication, but there's nothing in today's standards that any of those things by themselves are disqualifying. it would a very important piece to consider. >> do you believe it ought to be disqualifying? >> i would have a hard time overcoming that. >> great, thank you. okay. mr. dunbar, question for you. jared kushner's interim access to top secret sci information has raised a variety of questions. under what circumstances should individuals with an interim clearance get that type of access? that's for you, mr. dunbar. >> senator, as we've heard earlier today with the industry
panel, interim clearances have been used throughout the government for some time, many years. there are two specific documents for interim clearances and the guidance that's out there now allows interim clearances at the secret level as well as the top secret level. there are situations called out in the guidelines which speak to urgency of circumstances, those types of ideas about how when someone might be granted an interim security clearance. i believe an example that would be applicable here is an incoming administration which has the need to onboard personnel and get them into positions as soon as possible in order that they can perform the duties of their function. in regard to mr. kushner's specific case, the dni sets policy, standards and requirements.
as mr. phalen has stated, each individual adjudication, and this is contained in the security executive agent number four, is treated based on the whole person concept in which every particular piece of information, positive and negative, past, present, all of those things are factored into the adjudication. as mr. phalen has stated, in my opinion the issues which you've raised, senator, would be issues which would need to be investi. i have no reason to doubt that the federal bureau of investigation would not investigate each and every issue very fulsomely. >> let me ask one other question. during our open hearing, in fact, i think it was worldwide
threats and the vice chairman to his credit mentioned security clearances being central to the question of protecting sources and methods. i asked fbi director wray with respect to rob porter how that decision was made. i mean, when did the fbi notify, you know, the white house, and it was clear when you listen to director wray's answer, it did not resemble what john kelly had actually been saying to the american people, so i'm still very concerned about who makes decisions at the white house and with regard to white house personnel, in your view, mr. dunbar, who would make the decision to grant an interim clearance holder access to top secret sci information? >> senator, that decision would be made, in my understanding, by the white house office of personnel security based on an investigation conducted by the fbi.
>> my time -- my time is up. i would only say i'm not so sure as of now who actually makes that decision because we've heard mr. kelly speak on it. i understand the point that was made by, you know, all of you who are testifying. i think it still remains to be seen who would make that decision to grant an interim clearance. i'm over my time. thank you for the courtesy, mr. chairman. >> before i turn to senator harris, mr. phalen, since you do most of these right now, is it unusual or is it acceptable that if an individual who has filed for security clearance finds out they left something off their application, are they offered the opportunity to update that for consideration? >> yes. >> so if somebody left it off, they could add it on and that
would be considered in the whole of the evaluation? >> yes, it would be, and any time during an investigation, what we frequently find is two scenarios. number one is i just forgot when i was filling out the sf-86 to put that on there as an individual issue and there are times when we will go in and conduct the investigation, have the face to face conversation -- >> so that's actually happened more than the one instance that senator wyden referred to? >> we find it happens with some regularity. >> thank you. senator harris? >> thank you. mr. phalen, it's important i think for the public to understand why these background checks are so important to determine one's suitability to have access to classified information. can you please explain to the american public why the background checks are so important to national security? >> yes. so in taking a background check in addition to the investigative piece and the ultimate decision by the government agency to grand that person access to
information or have some level of public trust, we -- we owe it to -- i think we as a government owe it to the american people and to the american taxpayer to ensure that people who are working in the national security arena and in areas where there is a public trust that we have done everything that we can within reason to determine that this person -- that that trust can be placed into that person, and i know in an earlier part of the conversation, earlier hearing, there was a conversation about should we reduce the number of people that have clearances. i think there's not so much a counterargument to that, but when we have people across this particular environment and in the earlier panel where they have access daily to national security information, secrets that give this country an edge in war, in peace and other sorts of things, and at the same time, we have our industrial partners that we work with that are building all those tools that help us fight those wars or keep that peace, and this is a very simple thing, i said in other
venues, do you want to have less trust in the guy who is turning bolts on an f-35 assembly line or more trust. my argument is you probably want more trust than less. >> and in addition to the trust point, isn't it also the case that the code of federal regulations lays out 13 criteria for determining suitability, not only to determine who we can trust, but also to expose what might be weaknesses in a person's background that makes them susceptible to compromise and manipulation by foreign governments and adversaries? >> that is correct. this is a process both looking at history to ask if you have -- do you already have a record of betraying that trust and perhaps more importantly both for initial investigations and for the continuous vetting or continuous evaluation portion to say what is changing in their lives and how do we predict whether they are going to go horribly bad before they get that far? >> so there are 13 criteria, as i mentioned. one is financial considerations and i'm going to assume that we have these 13 factors because we have imagined scenarios where in
each of them and certainly any combination of them could render someone susceptible to the kind of manipulation that we have discussed. so can you tell us what we imagine might be of the exposure and weakness of an applicant when we are concerned about their financial interest and in particular those related to foreign and financial considerations? >> so in a nutshell it would be an individual who has entangled themselves, whether foreign or not, in financial obligations that have put them in over their head and oftentimes this causes people to make bad decisions, bad life decisions, and in some of these cases we've found from the history of espionage it causes them to decide, well, i've got something valuable here. let me sell it to somebody. >> and how much information is an applicant required to give related to foreign financial considerations? >> they are required to identify foreign financial investments, foreign financial obligations
and foreign property. and -- >> foreign loans? >> that would be a financial obligation, yes. >> of course. >> yes. >> and when we talk about foreign influence and it is listed as a concern, what exactly does that mean in terms of foreign influence? what are we looking at? >> it would be how am i or am i influenced by either a relationship i have with someone who is foreign, a relationship with an entity that's foreign? it could be a company. it could be a prior or co-existing citizenship i have with a foreign country. it could be a family member who is someone from a foreign country and how much influence any of those things would have over my judgment as to whether i'm going to protect or not protect secrets and trust. >> and given your extensive experience and knowledge in this area, can you tell us what are
the things that individuals are most commonly blackmailed for? >> it is not -- i have to go back and do some more research. the instances of blackmail by people committing espionage is not as substantial as the incidence of people who simply have made a bad decision based on financial or other entanglements and they just make poor decisions and decide my personal life is worth more than my country. >> right. and then i have one final question. and this is for mr. payne. according to press reports last fall you said, quote, if we don't do interim clearances, nothing gets done. you continued to say i've got murderers who have access to classified information. i have rapists, i have pedophiles and people involved in child porn. i have all these things at the interim clearance level, and i'm pulling their clearances on a weekly basis. this obviously causes and would cause anyone great concern.
and the problem, of course, being that the inference there is that interim clearances don't disclose very serious elements of someone's background. so can you please tell us when we also know according to press reports that there are more than 100 staffers in the executive office of the president who are operating on interim clearances what we are going to do about this? >> i will say that the length of time that someone stays in an interim capacity has to be limited as much as possible. just to give you an example from dod standpoint, and my -- and my area of jurisdiction right now is industry, cleared industry. last year we issued 80,000 interim clearances to industry. currently there's about 58,000 people on interim clearances. if you look at the timeline that they have been involved or they have had their interim
clearances, they range -- it ranges anywhere from six months to two years, but if you look at just last year in terms of interim clearances, and let me give you a couple of statistics here, 486 people from industry had their clearances denied last year, their main security clearance, their full security clearance, they were denied. of those, 165 of those individuals had been granted interim clearances. now, during the process of the investigation information was developed during the investigation that resulted in us pulling the interim clearances of 151 of those individuals, and the remainder were individuals who did things after they received their interim clearances. so -- so the risk -- you can see
the risk that is involved with interim clearances, and they need to reduce the amount of time that we have somebody in an interim capacity as much as possible. >> i agree. thank you. >> mr. vice chairman. >> one, i appreciate the panel and i appreciate your answers in the first panel as well. this is a high, high priority issue i think for all of us and it's remarkably no partisan. we've got to get this improved. i will leave you with one -- it's been a long morning already. i will leave you all with one question for the record because it was raised in the first panel, but we didn't get a chance to raise it today and i would like to get a fulsome answer from each of you. i would argue that particularly in an era of more and more open source documents, we have to take a fresh look at the need to make -- the need to have over four million plus people actually have to go through a clearance process of any type,
and particularly the tremendous growth, too, of top secret clearances versus simply secret. i would like to hear back in writing from all of you, what can we do and what would be your policy recommendations so that we could not have so many people actually have to funnel through on the demand side on a going forward basis, where more and more information is going to be out. thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this in open setting. >> i thank the vice chairman, and i think all of the members. this is up of those issues that the membership of the committee has been extremely engaged on, and i want to thank those first -- the first panel members who chose to stay and listen to the government witnesses. you know, i'm always shocked at the number of people that have the opportunity to testify and stay and choose not to do that so i really respect the ones who do take the time to do that.
i thank all four of you for not only providing us your testimony today but for the jobs that you do. mr. payne, you've got a big job and mr. reid, you've led this charge and mr. phalen, you walked in -- not many people would take the job, and you have -- you have performed as well as one can do, and that's faced with losing 80% of your business down the road, knowing that. mr. dunbar, i'm not sure you knew that you had signed up for this when director coats asked you to come in, but this is -- it's important, and as we've chatted up here as other members have gotten an opportunity to question you, we're really confident that this might be a model that we're beginning to see that we can replicate and that the energy between you and mr. phalen, that exchange is
going to happen and then there's an opportunity for director coats to coalesce the rest of the government towards this model. the one word that didn't come up in the second panel might have come up once or twice and the first one is reciprocity. there's nothing that either one of you are doing on both ends where it solves the problem of reciprocity within an agency or from agency to agency, and i can tell you we've got a security officer that got her security clearance at the state department, but when she came to be security officer for us, the state department said we don't have accreditation with the cia so she had to physically go pick up her paperwork and take it to the agency to be recognized.
you would think in 2018 something like that wouldn't exist, and it's bad enough that it does, but i think when we look at why are we doing this, it's really not to solve that problem. it's to make sure that the next generation of workers that are going to come through the pipeline actually want to do it and can do it and do it in a time frame that they are accustomed to. it always mystifies me that somebody is willing to share their entire life story because they do, right, mr. phalen? everything is out there to be exposed because they believe in what they are doing, and i want to make sure that the next generation has just as much passion about doing this. we wouldn't be quite as involved as a committee if it weren't for the passion of the vice chairman. he's been relentless on this and
i think it's safe to say the committee, i say this to you, mr. dunbar, i will take up with director coats, i will offer to director coats the committee being involved in the issue of reciprocity and how we bring agencies together to work through some of those things. it's not that the director doesn't have the authority to do it, or i think he's in full agreement with us, but sometimes having a congressional piece involved in those provides the director an additional stick that he might not have without us, so i'll make that offer to dan that we will be involved to that degree. mr. reid, i hope that your history with us which is at least annual updates if not faster that you'll continue those and that this committee will have a real inside look into the success of the model
cedric richmond and a douglas descendent give remarks. you can see the ceremony at emancipation hall at 7:05 p.m. eastern. sunday night at 8:00, charles calhoun, author, re-evaluates grant's presidency. mr. calhoun explains why president grant was considered an unsuccessful chief executive by many early 20th century historians despite his domestic and foreign policy achievements. he argues that president grant was actually an influential president, dogged by political enemies and scandal. we are back joining us this morning from west newton, massachusetts, jessica vaughn, policy studies director for the center for immigration studies. miss vaughn, what is your group and your stance on immigration? >> we are a research institute that studies the effects of immigration on american society, and we study immigration policy and demographics and labor
market and fiscal costs, really refugees, the whole waterfront of immigration policy from the standpoint of the national interests and trying to promote policies that work for our country and for americans rather than for special interests. >> what does that mean, then? are you conservative, libertarian, progressive? how would you define it? >> the immigration issue doesn't really fall into the usual idealogical categories. we are nonpartisan and we have conservatives and liberals on our staff. what our motivation is is to find an immigration policy that works for the country and our research has shown that immigration levels right now are too high, too skewed toward immigrants that are going to struggle to be self-sufficient in the country and also, too much