McCarthy fights for China Lake workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy applauded the U.S. Office of Personnel Management this week for addressing the backlog of security clearance applications for personnel working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division and the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake.

After hearing concerns from constituents about the adverse impact the security clearance processing backlog is having on work at China Lake, McCarthy raised these concerns with OPM and worked with OPM and the base to find an innovative solution. As a result, OPM has temporarily assigned additional field investigators to China Lake to expedite background checks and to perform onsite interviews, significantly reducing an application period that oftentimes took more than a year to complete. This decision is expected to allow China Lake to recruit and retain the highly skilled and dedicated workforce to engineer our nation’s most important weapons systems and will help improve our nation’s military readiness.

“I welcome the actions taken by the Trump Administration and OPM Acting Director McGettigan to help ensure China Lake can recruit and retain the best and brightest in the defense of the United States. The security clearance backlog can delay development of critical weapons and platforms designed to help our warfighters defeat our enemies,” said McCarthy.

The work accomplished at China Lake also serves to protect American service members and our allies around the world, and this duty demands a fully-staffed workforce that is second to none. I am pleased that OPM has recognized the important work at China Lake and is working to ensure the base continues to foster one of the most capable, dedicated, and important workforces in the world. When fully equipped, there is nothing the men and women at China Lake cannot accomplish.”

“Rep. McCarthy took quick action when we raised the issue about the length of time it was taking OPM to do the background investigations to get security clearances for new employees,” said Scott O’Neil, executive director of the China Lake Alliance.

“This problem affected both our government and our local contractors’ workforces. It was serious and beginning to significantly affect the execution of the NAWCWD’s mission. Rep. McCarthy’s action has resulted in more direct field support for China Lake and as a result the length of time to get these clearances has significantly been reduced.”

Story First Published: 2017-09-08