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To speed hiring, ICE looks to automated case screening

To make it easier to fill positions at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility is looking for an automated system that can prescreen applicants for national security positions and assign a complexity score that reflects the likelihood the candidate would be granted a security clearance.

According to a request for information, ICE wants an existing artificial intelligence or IT system that can compile and analyze data included in an applicant’s Questionnaire for National Security Positions and Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions to determine the complexity of analyzing the disclosed information. With a complexity score, ICE expects it can better manage the workload of the security screeners and introduce more predictability into its federal and contractor applicant pipeline. 

The complexity score would be based on the expertise and time required to complete a review of a candidate’s application based on the information the individual disclosed, along with data from law enforcement records, credit reports and other sources. Cases with a high complexity rating may not qualify for a quick approval, and candidates with low complexity ratings could be processed faster.

Currently, a personnel security specialist assesses the likelihood of a security clearance being granted by manually examining and analyzing the information. Often it takes multiple layers of review to understand how complex a case is, creating redundancies and bottlenecks in the hiring process.

There is no existing method to assess the information until it is adjudicated, ICE said. In FY 2020, ICE staff made nearly 16,000 decisions, so a system that could quickly clear the more straightforward cases would markedly speed up the hiring process. Additionally, ICE said, such a system will give it the ability to accumulate data for performance management, reporting, predictability and timeliness.

Besides streamlining evaluation of candidates, complexity scores will assist in case management, timeliness reports and adjudicator training, ICE said.

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