Quick Hits

*** The federal government is one step closer to having a unified security clearance and background check system. David L. Norquist, the acting number 2 official at the Pentagon, issued a memo transferring control of background checks and clearance investigations to the Defense Security Service. The move is required under the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

The directive announcing the shift is dated Jan. 28, but the move was publically announced by the Defense Information Systems Agency on March 7. DISA indicated that 40 National Background Investigative Service employees and 12 Joint Service Provider employees will be shifting to DSS.

The move to DSS is set to be completed by Oct. 1, 2019. If successful, it will mark major milestone in an effort that was launched in the wake of the hack of the Office of Personnel Management, to redesign the technology and processes used in conducting background investigations.

*** The Census Bureau tried to clarify a plan to enter information sharing agreements with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics in the wake of press reports.

The Associated Press reported the bureau was seeking information on the legal status of millions of immigrants. Heightened by the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 census forms, fears around whether respondents' data will be shared or exposed has been of particular concern for historically hard-to-count and minority populations, and presents a significant challenge for the 2020 count.

To conduct the decennial, the bureau plans to use administrative records from agencies across government. This time around, that data includes immigration information.

"By law, the Census Bureau does not return any records to the Department of Homeland Security or any of its components, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement," the bureau states. "When the Census Bureau receives the records, they are stripped of any personal identifiable information and are used for statistical purposes only and are strictly protected."

In the statement, the bureau acknowledges it "has not received these data in the past."