The Department of Defense and Boeing are investigating a security clearance lapse that resulted in hundreds of Boeing employees working on the secretive Air Force One planes with expired credentials before they were temporarily suspended.
The Yankee White security clearances for about 250 employees who work on the Air Force One aircraft lapsed last week, according to Boeing. They ended up with a temporary suspension until the issue was resolved and nearly all were reinstated over the weekend. Yankee White clearances are required for Pentagon and contractor personnel who work with the president and vice president or Air Force One due to the role in presidential security and transportation.
The issue affected Boeing employees who work on the current Air Force One aircraft, known as VC-25 A, and the next generation Air Force One planes that are under development and known as VC-25 B. Some of the Boeing employees clearances lapsed months or years ago, including at least one case in which the Yankee White clearance expired seven years ago, according to the news agency, which first reported the news on Thursday.
The incident was confirmed by the Air Force and Boeing in response to questions by FOX Business and emphasized that there was no impact on the VC 25 A and VC 25 B operations, which weren't stopped at any time as the situation played out.
Boeing told the Air Force last week of a lapse in their Presidential Support Program personnel tracking. An Air Force spokesman said that approximately 250 VC 25 A and VC 25 B personnel had been temporarily suspended access to the VC 25 A and VC 25 B areas. The vast majority of employees are now eligible for access to the secured spaces as of Sunday, March 19th. All of the employees impacted have valid Top Secret clearances. None of their security clearances have been suspended. The Air Force and Boeing will not comment on specific security matters, but the spokesperson said that they continue to work together to provide robust security for VC 25 A and VC 25 B. The Air Force believes that the Boeing CompanyBoeing Company is making every effort to resolve this issue through their Root Case Corrective Action RCCA processes, which is taken seriously by the Air Force. A Boeing spokesman confirmed the timelines for the temporary suspension and reinstatement of personnel with expired security clearances.
The documentation issues have not had an impact on the VC 25 B schedule, according to a Boeing spokeswoman. No Boeing employee has lost their security clearance or had it suspended. All of the affected employees have a valid Top Secret clearance. The next-generation VC 25 B Air Force One program has struggled with cost overruns and scheduling delays that resulted in Boeing taking about $1.9 billion in charges on the $3.9 billion fixed-price development contract.