WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Government Management Subcommittee, today introduced the Security Clearance Modernization and Reporting Act of 2009 to address lingering concerns over the clearance process and help sustain the momentum for reforming and modernizing the security clearance and suitability determination processes.

“The federal government loses talented people to private industry if security clearances take too long,” Sen. Akaka said.  “For both human capital and national security, it is vital that security clearances and suitability determinations be of the highest quality and made in a timely manner.  Senator Voinovich and I have worked on this issue together for several years and I am so pleased our oversight has yielded positive results.  We must work to make sure this issue is removed from the High-Risk List as soon as possible.”

“Problems with the federal government’s security clearance process have been documented since the 1990s,” Sen. Voinovich said, “and while some progress has been made in the past few years to decrease the amount of time it takes to obtain a security clearance, more improvement is needed to fully reform the security clearance process. I am proud to cosponsor Sen. Akaka’s bill to ensure that recent reform efforts continue and are expanded.”

The security clearance backlog was placed on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) High-Risk List in 2005.  Since then, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, chaired by Senator Voinovich until 2007 and Senator Akaka since, has held a series of oversight hearings on the serious shortfalls of the Federal Government’s ability to effectively and efficiently issue security clearances to federal employees and contractors.  As a result of this oversight and the hard work of many government employees, the tremendous backlog of security clearance investigations has all but vanished, and clearance determinations are made much more quickly.  Senators Akaka and Voinovich continue to push for fundamental changes to the clearance process to ensure that we do not experience the same problems in the future.

Subcommittee hearings (follow links for webcasts, witnesses and testimony):