Are All Security Clearances Equal?
Security clearances as Shakespeare – Is a security clearance by another agency as sweet?
Security clearance reciprocity is a question that comes up frequently at ClearanceJobs.com. Many professionals assume that if they have been cleared by one agency, their security clearance will readily transfer to another agency. This isn’t the case. While OPM conducts the vast majority of security clearance investigations, the three letter agencies conduct their own investigations, and others, including the Department of Homeland Security, make use of both OPM and outside contract investigation services.
How long it takes to process a security clearance is determined largely by how well an applicant fills out their SF-86, as well as their personal background (Foreign Influence, Financial Issues, and sheer stupidity will all delay a clearance determination). But the adjudication time will also depend on which agency is processing the security clearance.
Many defense contractors will find themselves being cleared by multiple agencies in their career, with varying degrees of ‘reciprocity’ involved in the process. Electronic records and the use of eQIP are designed to improve processing times and encourage reciprocity. But as the focus moves from timeliness to judiciousness, the push for reciprocity may move to the sidelines.
What has been your experience with investigations performed with different agencies? Have you had luck with reciprocity or faced a similar wait time as your initial clearance determination?