WASHINGTON — An IT system prototype built by Perspecta to manage mass amounts of security clearance background checks will transition to production under an other transaction agreement from the Pentagon’s background investigation agency.

The production agreement, using the Pentagon’s other transaction authority with less rigid competitive contract requirements for some technology development projects, is worth about $474 million over five years, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency estimated in its announcement May 14. The agency is building its capacity to manage about 95 percent of the federal government’s background investigations. That task is made more difficult by the government’s huge backlog of checks that have slowed the security clearance process.

The award, with a one-year base and four one-year options, follows the completion of a prototype process that started in 2019, in which Perspecta developed an enterprise IT system and data analytics capability for the agency.

The production OTA will continue Perspecta’s work on developing and operating the prototype as part of a comprehensive IT system DCSA uses to manage background checks and security clearance investigations for federal employees and contractors, the announcement stated.

Defense IT contractor Peraton Inc. bought Perspecta earlier this year for more than $7 billion.

DCSA became the federal government’s primary background investigator in 2019 when an executive order from then-President Donald Trump transferred the authority from the Office of Personnel Management to the Pentagon.

The federal government’s security clearance backlog sat at 188,000 cases as of May 2020, according to a report from DCSA last June. That number was down from a peak of 725,000 active investigations in April 2018.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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