Rep. Kelly Works to Protect NBIB Workforce in Butler County

Jul 3, 2018
Rep. Kelly Works to Protect NBIB Workforce  in Butler County

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) engaged in a colloquy with Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) on June 27, 2018, to ensure that the workforce of the National Backgrounds Investigations Bureau (NBIB) in Boyers, Pennsylvania, remains in Butler County. Rep. Kelly also applauded the Trump administration for announcing its intention that NBIB would remain intact and transferred wholly to the Department of Defense (DOD). These remarks, delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives, established for the public record the conversations had with administration officials over the course of last month. Rep. Kelly has committed to continuing to work with federal officials to ensure a transition that prioritizes the importance of the Boyers workforce.

Text of Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:

“Thank you, Chairwoman Granger. I rise to engage you in a colloquy on the importance of the Butler County workforce to federal background investigation operations. The National Background Investigations Bureau has approximately 1,500 employees and contractors in Boyers in my district who handle the intake and processing of federal background investigations.

“As you know, the National Defense Authorization Act last year split the NBIB between the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense. This misguided move would have disrupted operations and negatively affected the critical workforce. 

“I applaud the Trump administration for announcing last week that it will be keeping the NBIB intact and shifting it entirely to the DOD. This action will keep all background investigations under the same agency and will retain economies of scale to efficiently perform these critical operations.

“On Monday, I met with the DOD officials responsible for the transfer. They assured me that there are no plans to move any jobs outside Butler County. This is good news for my constituents, but more communication is needed.

“These 1,500 people perform an incredible service to our nation—and these jobs are critical to Butler County. This workforce has the expertise and experience to perform this sensitive work that keeps our nation secure. Any efforts to reduce the backlog in background investigations must utilize this talented and hardworking workforce.

“Chairwoman Granger, would you agree that the NBIB workforce in Butler County is integral to our country’s background checks operations?”

Response by Chairwoman Granger:

“I appreciate the gentleman’s commitment to this matter. We respect the dedication and accomplishments of all National Background Investigations Bureau workers including the hard work of the staff in Butler County, Pennsylvania. There’s currently a backlog of over 700,000 pending security clearance cases. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told my subcommittee that the Air Force has 79,000 people still waiting for security clearances, and that number has almost doubled in the last 18 months. We want to work with your office to make sure we address that as much as possible, and I look forward to your continued partnership in this matter.”

BACKGROUND

In response to efforts in the U.S. Senate to separate DOD background investigations from the NBIB, Rep. Kelly ensured that the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018 did not include language to transfer background investigations. His office met with NBIB Director Charles Phalen in October 2017 and sent a formal letter to the NDAA conference committee urging them to reject the Senate provision providing for the transfer.

The final FY18 NDAA required the transfer of DOD background investigations from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the DOD. This action would split NBIB between DOD and OPM, negatively affecting the Boyers workforce. Two weeks ago, the Trump Administration announced a blueprint to reorganize federal agencies and included a proposal supported by Rep. Kelly to keep NBIB intact and transferred completely to the DOD. The next step to make this proposal permanent would be an Executive Order issued by President Trump. Rep. Kelly will continue to work with administration officials to prioritize the critical workforce in Butler County in this decision.

Most recently, Rep. Kelly met with the Director of OPM in May 2018 and with the DOD Director for Defense Intelligence in June 2018 regarding the transfer. He currently has a meeting scheduled with the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in July to further discuss this issue.

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