@denbesten has it correct - everyone waits in the same queue for endorsement and each application is reviewed by a member of our endorsements team. I understand that it has to be this way per ANSI guidelines. I've shared feedback posted in the Community before with the team to see if there's any way to speed it along for members who already hold one of our certifications, but a change to this process isn't as quick to implement as you might hope. Any change to the process of certification goes through rigorous scrutiny before action can be taken.
Samantha stated back in December of last year that they were looking at making improvements....
And those do appear to be paying off. We are now hearing of 4-5 week waits, down from 8-9 in December. Although it would be great to see this halved again, we need to first celebrate that they are back to the SLA. The (ISC)² approach seems to be staffing up to improve the service level for all endorsees, rather than focusing on a more dramatic improvement for the few in the CISSP->CCSP bucket.
... people whose employment and/or extra salary is predicated on maintaining one or more of these certs.
Without question, eliminating the "expired cert gap" ought to top the to-do list, primarily due to the extremely high impact (employment and/or extra salary). After that, improving CPE submissions is pretty important due to wide (100% of the members) and frequent (40/year) impact. The good news is that a new CPE system is due yet this year.