Enhanced Digital Background Screening for US Armed Forces

FBI Vetting Guard troops amid fears of insider attack

In the aftermath of the attack on the US Capitol at the turn of the year, the topic of digital background screening for the police and armed forces has been in the public eye. 

The US Defense Department conducted enhanced background screening on over 25,000 National Guard troops ahead of the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The enhanced digital background screening was intended to review possible insider threats as concerns grew about extremism in the ranks.

12 service members were removed after the background checks found links to extremists or other issues that raised concerns. At least 2 of those removed were found to be posting or sharing messages or comments that were deemed to be inappropriate.

US Defense said that the additional screening represented “an extra layer” of security, with these enhanced checks supplementing their existing monitoring. 

All service members in the US are subject to an annual monitoring program that requires them to report suspected or known extremist behaviour in the ranks. The Army also maintains awareness of threats but, currently, doesn’t collect domestic intelligence itself.

“The risk of insider threat is real for all organisations and it has increased since the Covid pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the people you employ and do business with, which is one of the reasons why Neotas was formed” – Ian Howard, Neotas


Internal Threats Require External Parties

One of the key issues here is conducting internal searches and the risks that come with it.

Third party due diligence has clear advantages for situations such as these. Advanced technology developed by third party background check specialists like Neotas can help speed up the process. We’re able to process vast quantities of data with hyper accurate results, guaranteeing no false positives.

Objectivity is also critical in reviewing internal threats for high-risk roles. Our reports only highlight risks that warrant further investigation, ensuring protected characteristics including religion, political affiliation and personal attributes stay protected. Organisations who utilise our technology help remove the possibility of human bias, as well as reducing the opportunity for internal staff to be exposed to potentially sensitive information.

In this case for example, how can we be sure that the security staff that were removed from their positions were done so for legitimately dangerous opinions? As the enhanced background screenings were conducted by another internal government body, the results are left open to speculation around bias or that they were in some way clouded by the individual’s political views.


Online Due Diligence – A Tool For the Future Present?

A social media background check is so useful in this case because it provides an insight into a person’s real character and propensities. Using data that’s 100% publicly available, our GDPR compliant checks are able to give insights into real people and behaviours, rather than just database results. 

Time will tell whether or not the enhanced searches used by the US Army in this situation become commonplace. However, with the acknowledgement of the “extra layer” of security that they offer – it’s likely that additional digital background checks will become more regular, particularly for high-risk roles. After all, if the data is out there, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

We’re able to offer fully objective, comprehensive online due diligence solutions and background screening services to those in high-risk or senior positions. Schedule a call with our team to find out more.

Alternatively, you can build a no-obligation quote using our pricing tool here.