Department of Homeland Security Vetting Process

April 24, 2018

Long, confusing, and redundant. Three words that have never been used to describe the Federal Government, right? This is how Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) contractors are describing the current vetting and security clearance process for contractor personnel. Currently, there is no standardized approach among DHS’ 27 agencies. This means that one contractor approved to perform work for the U.S. Coast Guard, for example, may not necessarily be approved to perform for the Transportation Security Administration. Also adding to the chaos are contractors often being unclear on what the requirements are due to poor communication from DHS.

Many blame DHS’ shortcomings on its relatively short life as a Cabinet Department. DHS, whose main responsibility is public security, was created in 2002 after the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, DHS is the third-largest Department, after the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and industry representatives are looking for answers.

Industry leaders recognize that this is not a process that should be taken lightly, nor should it be a process that takes months. They are asking Congress to help standardize the process. According to several industry associations, there are no regulatory or statutory barriers that should prevent the DHS from issuing and implementing a uniform vetting process.

How long until DHS approves one short, simple, and useful process? Only time will tell.

This was originally reported by Federal News Radio on February 28, 2018.