OPM Widens Team of Contractors for New Background Check Bureau

Less than a month before it is scheduled to stand up its new National Background Investigations Bureau, the Office of Personnel Management on Monday announced that it had accepted bids from four contractors, two of which are already performing security clearance background investigations.

Joining incumbents CACI Premier Technology Inc. and Key Point Government Solutions under contract with OPM’s Federal Investigative Services are CSRA LLC and Securitas Critical Infrastructure Services, the agency said, noting that it received only four bids and accepted all.

OPM in January had announced NBIB’s creation to address holes in the security clearance process brought to light by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s document release and Aaron Alexis’ shooting of employees at the Washington Navy Yard. OPM billed the change as a way to better protect personal data collected during investigations. Hackers last year compromised 21.5 million files containing personal information.

Previous contractors got into legal trouble for shortcutting and mis-reporting their progress on checking backgrounds before agencies determine whether to grant security clearances.

Some lawmakers have been skeptical about the new bureau and have pushed for the Pentagon to play a larger role in defense-related background checks.

OPM conducts roughly 95 percent of background investigations for federal agencies, it noted in a release about the new five-year contracts that take effect in December. “The awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts each include a guaranteed minimum of $1 million,” the agency stated. “Amounts above $1 million are based on the amount of workload each contractor is assigned and completed during the contracts performance period.”

The addition of two new firms also “increases the industry base for performing investigative fieldwork” and improving services to agency customers, OPM said.

OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert said she “looked forward” to the companies working in coordination with OPM’s federal investigators in processing hundreds of thousands of background investigations annually. OPM’s statement said the contractors will “continue working seamlessly as OPM transitions FIS into NFIB.”

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