Strategic Change for National Security: The Birth of a New Agency
In June 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that hackers compromised millions of Americans personally identifiable information in one of the most severe data breaches in recent history. The successful intrusion into OPM servers, perpetrated by the Chinese, highlighted major issues in the Government’s information technology (IT) infrastructure, including continued use of legacy systems and lack of oversight of private contractors. As a result, the Government convened an interagency panel to perform a 90-day review of OPM’s background investigation infrastructure.
The panel concluded the following two solutions needed to be implemented to address the systemic challenges throughout federal background investigations:
- Create a new agency housed in OPM called the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB)
- Centralize critical IT infrastructure within the Department of Defense (DoD)
This restructuring of Federal suitability and security background investigations is a strategic advancement in national security.
Managed properly, it can accomplish three important objectives.
- First, the NBIB strengthens national security by modernizing and reinventing the way federal background investigations are managed and conducted. It centralizes leadership of background investigations under one roof with a focused mission, placing greater concentration on process improvement, speed, and higher quality investigations
- Second, the NBIB also provides greater protection to critical IT infrastructure. DoD can help manage and modernize the background investigations information systems, using its industry-leading cyber security expertise and depth of IT resources
- Finally, the NBIB fosters greater collaboration among Government agencies and their partners. Since the inception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Government has significantly improved interagency cooperation. The aforementioned interagency security and suitability panel is an example of such sharing among agencies in the spirit of strengthening national security.
The creation of the NBIB is an exciting opportunity to revitalize and repair an overburdened system and bolster homeland security in the process.
The more our intelligence, defense, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies collaborate to solve problems, the stronger our nation’s security will become. The personal information of those who serve the Government is a critical element of this security.