Background checks are being impacted by a stop-work order that is preventing one U.S. contractor from completing background investigations.
Industry officials say this could impact the security clearance process. The stop-work order was order last month after United States Investigation Services (USIS) was hacked. This hack job potentially exposed the records of thousands of government employees. The stop-work order will hopefully prevent any further potential exposure of records and personal information.
USIS does mostly government background checks and investigations. There’s been an effort to shift some of those checks and investigations to other contractors or do them in-house.
For now, the background check backlog remains the biggest problem. The Office of Personnel Management is still trying to assess how much damage was done by the hack attack. USIS performs background checks for the Department of Homeland security and other government agencies. USIS is dealing with the harsh ramifications of the stop-work order. With no work to be done, USIS has laid off about 2,000 workers. A stop-work order can last up to 90 days, so it still may be several weeks before work can resume. According to one article, USIS conducts around 21,000 background checks a month.
It’s been a tough few months for USIS. The company was responsible for the background checks on Edward Snowden and Washington Naval Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The company has also been accused recently of speeding through a heavy workload of background investigations as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to a need for more cleared workers.
So what happens now? What happens if this stop-work order lasts the full 90 days? It remains to be seen but it will likely not be positive.
We know background checks are important. Sometimes we’re reminded just how important they are when they come to a halt.