OPM prepares for final phase of e-Clearance project

The Office of Personnel Management is planning the final phase of its e-Clearance project, an effort to consolidate and speed processing of government security clearances.

The agency has mostly finished work on two parts of the three-phase project, said John Crandell, e-Clearance project manager and chief of oversight and technical assistance for OPM's Investigations Service.

OPM has created an electronic questionnaire application. Known as e-QIP, the app will let users fill out clearance forms online. The agency plans to deploy e-QIP in June after it loads all clearance forms to an e-Clearance Web site, Crandell said.

The agency also has compiled information from the 18 agencies that perform clearance investigations. The information, centralized in the Clearance Verification System, will give the investigative agencies a single-point of access to clearance records. CVS is built on a consolidated version of the Defense Department's Joint Personnel Adjudication System and its clearance information database.

'The databases are connected,' Crandell said.

The third phase of the project, retrieving and imaging existing files, will start at the end of May, he said. From here on out, the system will capture clearance data in an electronic format, Crandell said.

OPM will spend $50,000 on the imaging equipment it will need. Each of the participating investigative agencies must pay for any imaging software or hardware needed to upload records to CVS, Crandell said.

Over the next 10 years, e-Clearance will save the government roughly $258 million on processing clearances, Crandell said. Simply filing clearance forms electronically will save the government about $40 per application, he said.

The e-Clearance team expects that its project, one of the Office of Management and Budget's 25 e-government initiatives, will be selected by the General Services Administration to test the e-Authentication gateway. The gateway will verify the identities of users of federal e-government programs. GSA, which is building the gateway, has said it will tap at least four of the Quicksilver e-government projects to evaluate the system before rolling it out governmentwide (Click here for GCN story).

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