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Jun 19, 2015

Tester pushes security clearance reform forward

Senator’s amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act

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(U.S. Senate) - Senator Jon Tester's effort to strengthen security clearance background checks, prevent insider threats, and enhance security for sensitive federal facilities took a strong step forward after his amendment was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Tester's amendment contains recommendations from federal and local law enforcement agencies to increase efficiencies in security clearance background investigations. In 2013, Tester helped create a multiagency task force, including state and local law enforcement officials, charged with drafting recommendations on how to improve the security clearance process.

"We can't allow folks to attain security clearances unless we are absolutely confident they will keep our nation's most sensitive information secure," Tester said. "This amendment takes recommendations directly from experts so we can better prevent cases like the Navy Yard shooting. This amendment will help detect and prevent insider threats, enhance the security of our nation's most sensitive facilities, and improve background investigations."

The amendment does the following:
· Centralizes the Defense Department's security clearance reform effort under‎ one position and requires them to implement continuous evaluation of cleared staff.
· Requires security standards for physical and electronic access to secured facilities across the government.
· Requires all federal agencies to have access to the same resources and tools when conducting background investigations for security clearances
· Updates the law that guides access to criminal history records information. This section of law has not been updated since 2000 - before the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were created.
· Reduces duplication by requiring federal agencies to use one automated information system.
· Requires the Office of Management and Budget to report on how the federal government can better coordinate with local law enforcement to conduct background investigations for national security personnel.

Earlier this year, Tester's bill to reform the national security clearance process by prohibiting federal contractors and employees who have compromised the integrity of a background investigation from performing future background investigations unanimously passed the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

The NDAA now goes to a conference committee to resolve differences with a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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