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Research Questions

  1. Which emerging mobile technology platforms would be most relevant to the SSC process and helpful in government vetting of personnel?
  2. What practices and lessons learned would assist integration of security applications with mobile platforms?
  3. How can useful private-sector screening practices be incorporated to increase efficiency in the initial stages of the SSC process?

This applied research project provides the Security, Suitability, and Credentialing (SSC) Performance Accountability Council Program Management Office (PAC PMO) with an examination of how U.S. government vetting processes and procedures could be enhanced by application of mobile technologies and platforms. The research team identified key mobile platform and security factors to consider when communicating with and screening candidates within the SSC process. This report also describes relevant private-sector practices on talent acquisition, applicant tracking systems, screening methods, and communication strategies with candidates prior to the onboarding process.

The RAND research team performed the following tasks for the PAC PMO: (1) categorize emerging mobile technology platforms according to SSC process relevance and ability to assist government vetting of personnel; (2) illustrate relevant practices and lessons learned for integrating security applications with mobile platforms; and (3) provide recommendations on how best to incorporate potentially useful private-sector screening practices to create efficiency within initial stages of the SSC process.

Key Findings

  • The USG has not integrated mobile technology with SSC vetting processes.
  • Expanding the use of mobile technologies beyond traditional vetting models could uncover additional information sources and shorten investigation timelines.
  • There are opportunities for the USG to adopt several private-sector hiring practices that may improve overall candidate vetting experience.
  • Adopting mobile technology could promote a more diverse workforce in accordance with Executive Order 14035 and consistent with related priorities for Trusted Workforce 2.0 implementation.
  • Identifying metrics for success within a virtual or hybrid working environment could help to ensure that the USG is vetting for the most relevant factors.
  • Several hiring flexibilities afforded to USG departments and agencies have proven beneficial during the pandemic but are due to sunset in fiscal year 2023.

This research was sponsored by the Performance Accountability Council Program Management Office (PAC PMO) and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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