The State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said in a new report that it found deficiencies in State’s reporting of security clearance data to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) during fiscal year 2019.

OIG conducted an audit of the integrity and use of security clearance data reported to ODNI, and found that State’s methodology for collecting and reporting FY2019 quarterly and annual Timeliness Data and National Security Metrics didn’t meet ODNI requirements.

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The Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2010 requires the reporting of security clearance data, and ODNI requires each intelligence community (IC) element to submit quarterly and annual assessments of Timeliness Data and National Security Metrics.

To report Timeliness Data, OIG found that State “collected a random sample of security clearance cases for the quarter and reported the average for each quarterly submission to ODNI for the initiation phase, which is not reflective of the true timeframe for completing the initiation phase for all security clearances because it involves an average timeframe of the sample of cases selected.”

For National Security Metrics, the OIG found in FY2019 that State didn’t submit the required quarterly reporting to ODNI because the process to provide all the information on a quarterly basis was “considered too cumbersome” because of the manual nature of collecting and organizing the data.

Further OIG found that State had outdated standard operating procedures to guide the collection and reporting of Timeliness Data and hadn’t developed standard operating procedures for collecting and reporting National Security Metrics.

OIG made three recommendations to address deficiencies, including:

  1. Having the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) implement modifications to the recently deployed Integrated Security and Suitability System that responds to ODNI quarterly and annual reporting requirements that involve Timeliness Data and National Security Metrics;
  2. DS should develop and implement standard operating procedures that result in consistent and accurate reporting of Timeliness Data and National Security Metrics; and
  3. DS should assign responsibilities to additional personnel for collecting and reporting Timeliness Data and National Security Metrics, and require a secondary level or review prior to submitting the data reported to ODNI.

State concurred with the three recommendations made by OIG.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.