Background Investigations

Background Investigations Costs for FY 2021

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) took over the background investigation process from the National Background Investigations Bureau last October and has used the same billing rates for background investigations since fiscal year 2018, but there will be some modest changes starting in FY 2021. Here is the breakdown of current and future rates:

Current Rates FY 2021 Rates
Investigation Type Standard Priority Standard Priority
National Agency Check (NAC) $154 Unavailable $159 Unavailable
Tier 1 (T1) $194 Unavailable $198 Unavailable
Tier 2 (T2) $536 $660 $559 $604
T2 (with subject interview) $1,550 $1,674 $1,573 $1,618
Tier 2 Reinvestigation (T2R) $247 $348 $265 $286
T2R (with subject interview) $1,261 $1,362 $1,279 $1,300
Tier 3 (T3) $433 Unavailable $440 Unavailable
T3 Reinvestigation $417 Unavailable $424 Unavailable
Tier 4 $4,218 $4,555 $4,233 $4,571
T4 Reinvestigation $2,646 $2,858 $2,723 $2,940
Tier 5 (T5) $5,596 $6,043 $5,706 $6,163
T5 Reinvestigation $3,065 $3,310 $3,134 $3,385

Over the last three years Continuous Evaluation (CE) program efforts have cut down on the number of periodic reinvestigations (PR), which in turn has helped cut the investigation backlog down to 200,000 as of February 2020. With CE evolving into Continuous Vetting (CV), all of the deferred reinvestigations will probably become a thing of the past, and this is a good thing. Assessing potential issues in real-time rather than waiting for a PR every five years enables security managers to review and assess clearance eligibility and address problematic behaviors sooner.


  1. Do we really believe security managers will have the time to review and assess the many many many real time problematic behaviors that will arise from continuous vetting/evaluation? or will it ultimately result in a mess of ongoing hot SPINS/RSI’s for investigators to deal with?

  2. What exactly do those costs cover? Couldn’t seem to find an answer on that.

  3. I say that these are not “costs” but “fees.” If we consider the old model of a background investigation involving the time and labor of several people over an extended period, those fees do not begin to cover the total cost of doing an investigation. But these are the rates that an agency (NOT a contractor’s employer) is charged.