Industry appeals to Rumsfeld on clearance issue

Industry is cranking up the pressure on the Defense Department to resume processing applications for contractor security clearances by calling on Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld to immediately resolve the issue.

Members of seven industry groups have sent a letter to the Pentagon urging Rumsfeld to reverse the Defense Security Services' decision to stop accepting industry applications for all security clearances.

The agency, which provides security support services to DOD and federal government defense contractors, ceased the activity as of April 28 due to a lack of funding and the high volume of applications.

'We request that immediate action be taken to reverse this decision in the short term by finding ways to fund the clearance granting process for the remainder of fiscal year 2006,' the letter stated. 'Additionally, action should be taken to review the funding requests for this function for fiscal year 2007 and out years to ensure that this shortfall does not occur again.'

The letter also said it was imperative that DOD and industry 'address both the funding and policy aspects of this issue and that action be taken immediately to prevent this situation from recurring.'

The presidents of the Aerospace Industries Association, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, the Contract Services Association, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the Information Technology Association of America, the National Defense Industries Association and the Professional Services Council all signed the letter.

They also sent copies of the letter to deputy secretary of Defense Gordon England, undersecretary of Defense for intelligence Steven Cambone, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics Kenneth Krieg, and acting director of Defense security service Janice Haith.

Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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