Pentagon Charged with Security Clearance Data Protection

Following the massive data breach involving the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) which compromised approximately 22 million security clearance records of federal employees and contractors, the Obama administration has tasked the Department of Defense (“DOD”) with overhauling the background investigation process, Nextgov reported. This move shifts the responsibility to protect security clearance information from the OPM, the agency that spearheaded the effort at the time of the beach, to the DOD, the article continued.

According to the article, the DOD will implement new IT systems that store background investigation information of federal employees and contractors. Unlike OPM’s IT system, the article reported, the DOD’s new systems will use encryption to protect sensitive data. Further, DOD software engineers will develop the systems using a “modular approach” which will allow them to better adapt to evolving cyber threats, the article explainedNextgov also revealed that parts of the system may be disconnected from the internet.

In addition, the article reported that the administration plans to establish a new entity within the OPM called the National Background Investigations Bureau which will be responsible for conducting background checks. The DOD will also be responsible for the security of the IT systems used by this new office, according to the article. The Defense Information Systems Agency, a combat support agency of the DOD, will be charged with the execution of the project, the article further stated.

The administration has requested $95 million to implement this project, however, even if Congress approves it, the budget would not be available until September 2016 when the next fiscal year begins, according to article. For now, the article added, the project will be funded by the current OPM budget which includes $21 million approved by Congress in December 2015 for IT upgrades.

For more on this issue, please find the full article here.

 

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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