Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                         February 5, 2008

                             February 5, 2008

                  SECURITY AFFAIRS

SUBJECT:      Security Clearances

The Federal Government needs a qualified, trusted workforce available
to successfully execute its missions.  However, longstanding practices
used in the security processing of individuals and contractors to work
for the Government pose challenges to the speed with which these
individuals can begin their work or move from one role to another.
Specifically, the processes for determining eligibility for access
to classified information, determining suitability for Federal employment,
determining eligibility to work on a Federal contract, and for granting
access to federally controlled facilities and information systems,
created for separate purposes, rely on similar background data.  Yet
the processes for collecting and analyzing this data are not sufficiently
standardized or coordinated to allow for individuals to efficiently move
between agencies and positions of Government covered by one or more of
these processes.

I have determined that the significant opportunities to improve these
processes, and the expected benefits of doing so, argue for aggressive
efforts to achieve meaningful and lasting reform.  Without altering the
distinct lines of authority for establishing policies and procedures
relating to security clearance, Federal employment suitability, and
related determinations, such reform should ensure that the executive
branch executes these authorities within a framework that maximizes
efficiency and effectiveness while protecting the information collected
from unauthorized use or disclosure.  Embedding that framework in policies,
practices, and infrastructure will ensure that the reform effort and
its benefits will continue into the future.

Efforts toward achieving this integration are already underway, sponsored
by the Director of National Intelligence, Secretary of Defense, Director
of the Office of Personnel Management, and the Assistant to the President
for National Security Affairs, and coordinated by the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget.  These efforts span near-term improvement
opportunities up to a blueprint for a transformed clearance process.  I
direct that their continued close coordination and integration produce a
comprehensive reform proposal that:

      Establishes modernized and comprehensive credentialing, security
      clearance, and suitability processes that employ updated and
      consistent standards and methods;

      To the extent consistent with applicable law, ensures that
      investigative standards for security clearance and suitability
      investigations support and build on each other without requiring
      duplicative steps;

      Enables these innovations with enterprise information technology
      capabilities that ensure the most effective and efficient performance
      across the Federal Government;

      Updates Government information record systems and, as necessary,
      applicable laws and regulations, to ensure that information
      maintained by executive departments and  agencies and required for
      investigation and adjudication is available and can be shared rapidly
      across Government, while still protecting privacy-related

      Ensures that a reformed and aligned investigative system maximizes
      the potential for common ground in the adjudication of those programs
      whose security and suitability determinations are simultaneous; and,

      Ensures that all resulting decisions are in the national interest,
      protect national security, and provide the Federal Government with an
      effective workforce.

Under Executive Order 13381, I assigned to the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget responsibility for improving the process for determining 
eligibility for access to classified national security information.  Under 
Executive Orders 10450 and 10577, as amended, and related statutory 
authorities, the Office of Personnel Management is assigned various 
responsibilities related to personnel security investigations and suitability.  
These and all other current executive orders remain in force.  However, 
recommendations may be made to align or otherwise alter policies and 
procedures to ensure the effective, efficient, and timely investigation 
and adjudication of security clearances and suitability for employment 
for all personnel performing work for or on behalf of the Federal Government.

I hereby direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the 
Director of the Office of Personnel Management, the Assistant to the 
President for National Security Affairs, the Director of National 
Intelligence, and the Secretary of Defense, to submit to the President 
an initial reform proposal not later than April 30, 2008, that includes, 
as necessary, proposed executive and legislative actions to achieve 
the goals of reform described above.  This proposal should be followed 
promptly by any additional proposals this group believes necessary to 
fulfill its mission.

Nothing in this memorandum alters or impedes the ability to carry out the 
authorities of the executive departments and agencies to perform their 
responsibilities under existing law, including, but not limited to, the 
authority of the Director of the Office of Personnel Management under 
5 U.S.C. 1103(a)(7) to recommend executive orders amending the civil 
service rules governing suitability for employment in the competitive 
service and the excepted service of the United States, and the authority 
of the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Department 
of Justice, under 28 C.F.R. 0.25(b) to draft, revise, and advise as 
to the form and legality all executive orders prior to submission to 
the President.

The heads of executive departments and agencies are directed to provide 
all information and assistance requested by the Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget in this important endeavor.

                            GEORGE W. BUSH

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