The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is looking into tech-assisted continuous vetting for Federal employees, according to a proposed rule on “suitability and fitness vetting” that OPM published in the Federal Register.

Suitability and fitness vetting simply refers to whether or not an individual is “suitable or fit” for a position over time, according to OPM.

The proposed rule follows along with the “Trusted Workforce 2.0” initiative, as well as President Biden’s 2021 National Security Memorandum.

“Key goals of the initiative are to capitalize on information technology capabilities that allow for the integration of automation and take advantage of a wider spectrum of data, reduce time-intensive manual processing, and promote greater mobility of the workforce by providing vetting processes that enable each individual’s vetting status to be continuously up-to-date,” OPM wrote.

According to the proposed rule, the continuous vetting process would subject Federal employees to a background check at any time. The process relies heavily on automated sources.

OPM explained that because each individual’s background check will always be up to date with the continuous vetting process, “agencies will no longer need to await results of a new background investigation and will instead be able to onboard individuals more quickly into new positions.”

An updated background check may only need to be requested to fill in gaps due to a change in a position’s risk or sensitivity, eliminating the need for five-year “reinvestigations.”

Comments on the proposed rule are due to OPM by April 3.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.