Defense Department to take over background investigations for federal government

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE on Wednesday signed an executive order transferring responsibility for conducting background checks from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the Defense Department. 

The order says "needed reforms" require that "the primary responsibility for conducting background investigations Government-wide be transferred from the Office of Personnel Management to the Department of Defense."

Under the order, the department will change the name of the Defense Security Service to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). The DCSA will be the primary agency charged with conducting background checks for the federal government.


The change will take place no later than June 24, the order said. 

"This executive order reflects the administration's commitment to reform the personnel vetting enterprise to ensure a trusted federal workforce and achieve an efficient, effective, and secure operation that meets all government-wide needs for background investigations," the Defense Department said in a statement. 

"Efforts to undertake the transfer of OPM's background investigation function and associated personnel, resources, and facilities to DOD will begin immediately," it added. 

The administration's background check procedure came under scrutiny last year after news broke of allegations that then-White House aide Rob Porter abused his ex-wives. White House staff originally said they first heard about the allegations in media reports, but FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that the bureau previously informed the White House of the allegations, which came up during his background check. 

A security clearance for White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump's strategy to stay in office Trump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators Press: King Donald's goal - no checks, no balances MORE, who is also Trump's son-in-law, was reportedly rejected twice by analysts then overturned by the president's personnel security office chief.