AFSPC has reduced the backlog of Personnel Reliability Program certifications by 82 percent since January 2000
Air Force Space Command
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PETERSON AFB, Colo. – Air Force Space Command has reduced the backlog of Personnel Reliability Program certifications by 82 percent since January 2000, and its method for processing security clearances has become the Department of Defense model.
“We started tracking PRP certification backlogs in January 2000 and found approximately 600 needing attention – some more than two years old,” said James Moree, Jr., AFSPC deputy director of Security Forces.
In order for AFSPC security forces, maintainers and missileers to perform their jobs in the missile fields, they must have a security clearance and be PRP certified.
“A security clearance permits access to secret, classified or top secret information,” said Mr. Moree. “PRP certification is an additional requirement for those performing the nuclear mission that verifies an individual has an even higher level of reliability than someone with a security clearance alone.”
Before someone can be PRP certified, they must first have a security clearance. The processing target is 30 days for a secret clearance and 90 days for a top secret clearance.
“We had new people assigned to the missile fields who were limited in performing their jobs because of security clearance backlogs,” said Mr. Moree. “Certain career fields allow someone to work under a waiver while their clearance is being processed, but they are still limited in performing the job they were trained to do.”
Because of its impact on the mission, PRP certification was one of two readiness issues in 2000.
That year, AFSPC’s Directorate of Air and Space Operations Security Forces Division and Security Countermeasures Branch started what has become a five-year effort to track daily investigations and make PRP processing for people working in the missile fields a priority.
General Lance W. Lord, AFSPC commander, coordinated with William Davidson, administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, to work the course of action for decreasing PRP processing times and obtain the funding to accomplish it.
Now AFSPC Security Forces work with the wings to compile data on who needs security clearances and centrally track the information at the command. Then AFSPC SF coordinates with Air Staff, the Central Adjudification Facility and Office of Personnel Management to petition 35-day priorities for PRP cases needing to be processed.
The Air Force determines priority.
The OPM contacts the investigator who conducts the security investigation. The facts are collected, but no security clearance determination is made at this point.
Data from the investigation is sent to CAF, who determines an individual’s trustworthiness and suitability for access to classified information in accordance with DoD 5200.2R procedures and standards. Then a security clearance is issued. PRP certification processing is the next step.
AFSPC has also coordinated security clearance processing and PRP certification efforts with Air Education and Training Command.
Once someone reports to an AETC technical school for nuclear-related career training, his security clearance and subsequent PRP certification starts being processed. In most instances, it’s complete before he reports to his first duty station, and he seamlessly transitions into his new job.
Today, only 99 PRP cases are awaiting security clearance investigation and certification. Of those who are waiting, three fourths are able to perform their jobs under waiver, said Mr. Moree.
Space Command’s success is a collaborative effort between their wings, the AFSPC security countermeasures branch, AETC and Air Staff, said Mr. Davidson. “The system doesn’t work without all of the parts working together.”
Now people needing PRP certification in Air Combat Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe are being given priority based on the AFSPC model.