Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Job searching and career networking for security-cleared professionals isn’t a casual affair – it’s something we take seriously at ClearanceJobs.com. The security and safety of our user’s information is important, and so is linking up professionals with the perfect job opportunity at the perfect time. Social tools have come a long way, and can be a powerful medium to help professionals find their next career opportunity.
Our upcoming ClearanceJobs.com hosted chat session with TASC, Inc., a leading systems engineering, integration, and decision-support services company, is one way we’re using social tools to link job seekers and defense industry employers. Register for the chat here and learn more about TASC. During the chat, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with recruiters, ask questions in an arena where you’ll get immediate response, and learn about a company with a variety of exciting job opportunities across the country, but in the Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania regions, in particular.
ClearanceJobs.com hosted chats are just one way we’re harnessing the power of social tools, in a secure setting, to help professionals search for their next job and network in their industry. Find our more about the Cleared Network, including how to register for groups, connect with companies, and use social tools in a secure setting.
So, we know email is a common problem filling security-cleared professionals’ inboxes, especially clearance investigators. Email can be a vital line of communication both within the office and to contact those outside of it, but it can also be a drain on time, especially if it becomes filled with useless messages.
Here is an interesting infographic that might help you consider whether or not to send that email, and one that might be worth sharing with a few colleagues as you clean out your inbox this morning… Continue Reading »
A Freedom of Information Act release of information about Steve Jobs made following his Oct. 5, 2011 death has unearthed a 191-page FBI file about the enigmatic, sometimes controversial and almost universally admired tech giant.
Among the details in the report is the fact that Jobs held a top secret security clearance from 1988 to 1990. The background investigation was conducted as a part of Jobs’ appointment to President George H.W. Bush’s Export Council. Jobs was the chairman and CEO of Pixar at the time.
Ironically, the information included in the investigation mirrors some of the challenges faced by investigators today – past drug use, a series of legal actions requiring research and investigative hours and conflicting reports from colleagues and associates concerning Jobs’ personal character and personality.
Issues of dishonesty and lack of integrity were mentioned, although even most critics said they would recommend Jobs to a position of public trust. Several mentioned that Jobs would distort reality to accomplish his goals, and that while his contributions to the tech industry could not be underscored, his willingness to do whatever it took to obtain them left some colleagues and employees disenfranchised.
Jobs is certainly a special case, perhaps – could an individual whose redeeming qualities were less stellar have obtained the same clearance? Perhaps it all goes back to mitigating circumstances – even in the face of lawsuits, LSD and questionable ethics, Jobs was able to demonstrate a “whole-person” aspect that rounded out the rough spots.
What do you think – if you were investigating Steve Jobs would he have gotten the clearance? What about a candidate today with a similar background, but a less famous name?
We’re launching a new article series at ClearanceJobs.com highlighting security clearance professions. If you work in the security clearance industry and would like to be featured email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Security Clearance Career Profile: Investigating the Tough Cases
by Ericka Cady for ClearanceJobs.com
Until recently I worked at the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) where I adjudicated background investigations on defense contractors who had applied for security clearances. Defense contractor cases are usually handled by the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO), but when DISCO is unable to grant a clearance due to the complexity of the case, the entire file is sent to DOHA.
I occasionally received an easily resolved single-issue case, but most cases that arrived at my desk were incomplete and contained multiple complex issues. These cases involved applicants with massive unresolved issues, such as delinquent debts, criminal records (some dating back to the 1960s), drug use, current alcohol abuse, foreign preference or nationality concerns, and deliberate falsification.
DOHA is now located at Fort Meade, Md. in a new state-of-the-art building specifically designed for clearance adjudication. DOHA shares the building with 9 other DOD adjudication agencies. The new facility is very secure. Personnel are required to clear 3 different checkpoints before arriving at their desks. Building rules don’t allow for any recording devices, cell phones or laptops to come inside. Lockers for the storage of such personal items are provided near the metal detectors in the reception area. Once inside, I would go directly to my workspace, a cubicle in a sea of cubicles.
After dropping my purse and lunch, I listen to 6 to 10 phone messages left for me since leaving work the previous evening. I turn on my computer and review the list of names from the phone messages, with full intent to marry them up with the actual file before attempting a return phone call.
Once logged into the computer, I pull up my email. Email is vital in DOHA. And by vital, I mean a lifeline. All information is passed in office email, from “Important all hands meeting in 20 minutes” to “Who left the coffee pot totally empty and still on?”
Maryland State Senator Roger Manno and 27 of his Senate colleagues have proposed a State income tax credit for costs incurred to obtain federal security clearances. The bill (SB296) would require “the Governor of Maryland to make a $6,000,000 appropriation in FY2014 and FY21015 for the tax credit, applying the Act to all taxable years beginning after December 31, 2011.”
Sounds great, but who would actually benefit from this tax credit. The bill does not define “federal security clearance” and it’s unclear whether the term “security clearance” is being used generically to cover all federal clearances (such as National Security Clearances, Public Trust Clearances, HSPD-12 Credentialing, and Transportation Worker Identity Credentials) or whether only National Security Clearances for access to classified national security information will be covered. Nor does the bill hint at the potential number of Maryland residents who might be able to claim the tax credit or the nature of the clearance-related expenses that will be covered. A call to Senator Manno’s office disclosed that the tax credit is primarily intended to benefit federal contractors and/or their employees, but no specific information was readily available.
The vast majority of federal contractor security clearances are processed by the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO), a component of the Defense Security Service (DSS). DOD approved $238.5M in federally appropriated funds for FY2012 to pay for the cost of DSS processing contractor security clearances, and DSS has never charged defense contractors or defense contractor employees for either the cost of personnel security clearances or facility security clearances.
So, the question remains, who will benefit from this tax credit? Will most of the $6M languish in a special fund and be unavailable for other State purposes, or will someone in the Maryland Senate research the subject and either withdraw the bill or rewrite it so it might actually provide some benefit to Maryland workers who are seeking jobs in the defense industry?
A $39 million task order contract awarded this week to CACI International Inc. includes software engineering and integration services for the Defense Logistics Agency’s security clearance process.
Dan Allen, CACI President of U.S. Operations, said, “With this new task order to support the Department of Defense, CACI will directly enhance the nation’s ability to ensure that only the highest quality professionals receive security clearances. Our direct experience in building advanced interoperable and modular systems for the federal government makes us an excellent choice for this important work.”
The new contract is for a seven-month base period with nine option periods of varying lengths. CACI will provide a service-oriented architecture solution to the security-clearance process, with the goal of increasing timeliness and efficiency.
At a military hearing of Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the website Wikileaks, a major issue being presented by the defense team is whether Manning should have had access to sensitive information in the first place.
Described by his defense team as a troubled soldier dealing with gender identity issues, Manning’s attorneys sought to place responsibility on his military chain of command for ignoring signs he shouldn’t have been given access to classified computer systems.
Under cross examination by the defense, federal witnesses have acknowledged failures in procedure that allowed Manning to keep both his security clearance and access to secure facilities despite his exhibiting behavior described as “unstable.”
One issue preventing superiors from taking further action that was cited in the trial was the shortage of intelligence analysts with the knowledge and skills to take Manning’s place.
While gender identity is being cited by the defense as an issue that should have alerted superiors, as the ClearanceJobs.com article “Sexual Behavior and Security Clearances” states, it’s sexual behavior that indicates personality or emotional disorder that’s the problem, not specific sexual behavior itself… Continue Reading »
A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst who lost his job and his security clearance in 2009 has reached a settlement. John Dullahan was never informed of the reason for losing his job due to the Pentagon’s decision to invoke a national security clause which allows it to keep the reason for firing private, and eliminates the normal appeals process for fired government employees.
In one of former defense secretary Robert Gates’ last acts before stepping down, he granted Dullahan an appeal, which allowed him to settle with the DIA and formally retire at the end of last month. Dullahan will also receive all back pay and benefits from the time of his termination, $25,000, and attorney’s fees.
Dullahan lost his job and security clearance after supposedly failing three polygraph examinations, but DoD polygraph policy states that failing a polygraph alone is not sufficient to cost someone their job. There must be corroborating evidence or information from other sources or the applicant himself (this is why the post-poly interview is often the most important – and stressful – part of the process)… Continue Reading »
A civilian Marine Corps advisor who made waves for repeated calls to increase the number of Mine-Resistant-Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles in theater has gotten his job – and his security clearance – back.
Franz Gayl was relieved of his job and had his security clearance suspended last year, after being accused of using an unauthorized flash drive in a secure computer. The clearance suspension came after years of concerns expressed by supervisors and some admittedly odd behavior on the part of Gayl himself. In a military that prides itself on decorum and chain-of-command, Gayl openly went directly to members of congress with concerns, and even wrote several letters with national security policy recommendations to then President George W. Bush. At office meetings he discussed his depression and financial problems, according to co-workers. Concerned about the state of the economy and possible social collapse, Gayl began stocking up on food and shotguns – something else he didn’t hide from co-workers or supervisors… Continue Reading »
Expedited security screening at airports may be possible for individuals with security clearances, said TSA Administrator John Pistole. In an address before George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, Pistole said that he was working with the director of national intelligence to explore the possibility.
Frequent fliers are no strangers to the long lines and invasive procedures that have made the TSA the subject of public complaint and congressional oversight. Several months ago the TSA offered some relief, with the PreCheck program, launched in four U.S. airports under limited use. Frequent fliers were given the option to undergo prescreening and in return, get some of their travel dignity back. PreCheck fliers have their own airport security line and are able to keep their shoes, belt and jackets on, as well as laptops and liquids in their luggage.
There are no details on when clearance holders may be eligible for the PreCheck program, or if a new but similar program might be launched. But even the possibility would be welcome news for security cleared professionals who spend a lot of time in airports.
“Clearly, that is a category of people that we as a society know and trust more than others,” said Pistole.