Obtaining Security Clearance

Clearance Applications Not Processed Within Target Times

Really? What a shocker! The Government Accountibility Office came out with a recent report detailing how the security clearance process is taking too darn long. This same article and these findings seem to be copied and pasted verbatim on a yearly basis from past reports, dating back to 2000. The time delays have been a way of life for the defense industry for a good six years.

Even more scary news from the report:

In reviewing 50 reports on clearances granted, GAO found that 47 were missing required documents. More than half contained at least one unresolved issue, but none of the sampled industry personnel were denied security clearances.

“The use of incomplete investigations and adjudications in granting Top Secret clearance eligibility increases the risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” the report stated.


Okay, I’m all up for speeding up the clearance process, but how can an adjudicator make a level-headed decision on clearance award without all of the necessary data?

Comment Archive

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    More and more, I’m running into recently cleared people who had none of their family, friends, or co-workers contacted during their clearance investigation.

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    The numbers and types of sources contacted depends largely upon the type of clearance required, i.e., secret clearances are generally based on a NAC being clean.
    A top secret is a fully 10-year background investigation and according to standards, there must be a minimum of 10 sources interviewed, depending, of course on the age and experience of the Subject.
    The lengthy turnaround time for PSI’s since OPM has become the “DoD investigative agency” is outrageous and since they have taken over the DoD PSI task, the quality of all investigations has diminished and turnaround times have lengthened. OPM does not belong in the PSI arena!

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    I’ve been waiting 24 months for my clearance. It has been over 14 months since my investigation was complete, and still no news. Except that they had forgotten to send some information back in January or so, and then it was reopened in end of May, and I’m still waiting. It’s kind of frustrating…

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    I think it is unfair to blame OPM for all the woes created here. There are several places that bear a burden of the ‘blame’. Security offices sit on applications before sending them out to OPM. This creates an unnecessary lag. When we do get the applications, they sometimes are missing info. that should have been caught by the facility security officer. We have to send it back for corrections…..time is wasting away. When we get the applications, personnel move and DOD locators are not the best at finding people. Often DOD refuses to work with us and we play another waiting game. Another area of concern is the field investigation….we work our best to get these cases out…we have a new penalty for not meeting critical assignment deadlines…this should improve deadline deliverables. Security adjudicators also sit on reports once we have turned them in.

    Keep in mind that OPM inherited a Defense Security Service (DSS) that was lagging behind on keeping current. So, if you want to blame OPM you are not looking at the full picture here. OPM inherited a large body of work. Federal personnel are also lazy and don’t get pushed like those of us in the contractor arena. I know some feds that think interviewing 2 people a day is great….and they get to keep their jobs! We have to meet at least 5 people a day to stay off the radar…so, go figure, the fact that OPM uses contractors is probably a good thing and drives the process to completion quicker.

    As for the comment somebody made about no one being interviewed, many agencies are using what is called a Phased PR. This was approved in certain instances. Only fellow employees are interviewed unless an issue turns up or is noted for follow-up.

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    What contractors does OPM use?

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    OPM mainly uses USIS to do the bulk of their investigations. I used to work for them and they do not have a good rep. Their investigators are paid so poorly and then people wonder why the quality is so low. USIS is all about the bottom $$$, that’s it. The make a ton of money from their contract with USIS and other federal contracts for adjudications services. It’s kind of crazy if you think about it…not only are they conducting the investigations, but then the investigations are returned to agencies where many have USIS contractors on hand to handle the adjudication. OPM has awarded additional contracts, in addition to USIS, to some smaller companies, but the bulk is USIS. Another interesting fact, one of the main investors in USIS is the Caryle Group. On board at the Caryle Group…George Bush Sr.

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    Carrie – Interesting comments. I’ve always know USIS does a lot of OPM’s investigations, but was never sure what percentage. Were you an investigator?

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    I’ve been a field investigator for about 4 months and I can tell you the system needs help…bad. Contrary to Mike’s comments saying contracted labor has helped the process I believe it should go back to full time government employees working out of one of the security sectors. USIS and the others are a “for profit” organization. From what I have seen the contract holders are to busy calulating the bottom line then to worry about backlog. Many of the field investigators are part-time sub-contractors because the holders of the contracts do not want a full time staff with high overhead. Pay is sporatic to say the least. Work is not constant even with a 500K backlog in cases. I could go on but I guess I’ll let others have their say. By the way…nice Blog..

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    Steve – Good comments. Our thanks to you for sharing your unique insight.

    Reading them brings up a key point: Contractors like USIS working for the OPM on investigations have a vested interest in the backlog getting reduced but never going away. If there was no backlog, they would not be receiving funds from the OPM. No backlog = no contract.

    With that in mind, I do know that contractors like USIS want to show positive results to the government. However, if they really excelled, they’d work themselves out of a job. Hence your thought that government employees, not contractors, would make better investigators.

    Another question: Care to share your salary? We’d be interested in seeing if the contractor is making more per year than the gov employee.

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    Not all Security Clearances (eg. secret and confidential) require family, co-workers or other listed references to be contacted. For top secret clearances, current and prior employers, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, courts, and neighbors all are contacted and spoken to. As far as contacting family members and close friends, that is up to the investigator. Do you really think most family members and close friends would actually report derogatory information (eg. infidelity, alcohol or drug abuse,spying,criminal activity, etc.)on a loved one? Good investigators “develop” sources to speak to based upon speaking with neighbors and other contacts. As far as OPM hiring contractors to perform security clearances, if the government (eg. DSS and other agencies)would have done their job effectively and efficiently in the first place, OPM would not be in the position they are presently in. Unlike private sector companies, most government agencies have no standards of accountability for production or efficiency.Most have no profit or loss responsiblity. Employees can “hide out”, collect good paychecks and benefits, and fear no reprisals for being lazy and unproductive. If government investigators want to look for blame or bash someone for the backlog of security clearances,they should look go into the mirror. The bottom line is they had a good thing and lost it due to their complacency and lack of accountability. Stop blaming the contractors!

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    Not all Security Clearances (eg. secret and confidential) require family, co-workers or other listed references to be contacted. For top secret clearances, current and prior employers, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, courts, and neighbors all are contacted and spoken to. As far as contacting family members and close friends, that is up to the investigator. Do you really think most family members and close friends would actually report derogatory information (eg. infidelity, alcohol or drug abuse,spying,criminal activity, etc.)on a loved one? Good investigators “develop” sources to speak to based upon speaking with neighbors and other contacts. As far as OPM hiring contractors to perform security clearances, if the government (eg. DSS and other agencies)would have done their job effectively and efficiently in the first place, OPM would not be in the position they are presently in. Unlike private sector companies, most government agencies have no standards of accountability for production or efficiency.Most have no profit or loss responsiblity. Employees can “hide out”, collect good paychecks and benefits, and fear no reprisals for being lazy and unproductive. If government investigators want to look for blame or bash someone for the backlog of security clearances,they should look go into the mirror. The bottom line is they had a good thing and lost it due to their complacency and lack of accountability. Stop blaming the contractors!

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    Current Investigator – What you said about the govie’s is spot on. I have never heard of a government worker being fired for being lazy or unproductive.

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    I was let go from USIS in 07/2006, due to what they said was not being productive enough. I was processing 4.5 testimonies per day, which I thought well exceeded my 3.5 requirement. USIS is concerned about quantity over quality. I had some investigations that showed major issues, but I was told not to pursue them due to needing to meet a timeliness goal. I felt as if I was asked to fore go a quality investigation in order to process more cases. USIS is paid by the case, so the more cases completed the more money they made.

    USIS also had a large problem with retention of management in my district. The Denver district went through 4 DM’s and 3 Temp DM’s during my 18 months with them. I called their office about three months ago to find out there was a new DM and I called just last week to find out that yet another DM has been put into place. Now, I am no expert on retention, but in 29 months to go through 9 DM’s seems rather ill-fated.

    My other gripe about the DM’s were that every one of them I had gave me different views about goals and how to reach them. I never seemed to have a set productivity goal. Therefore, when I was being let go by a Temp DM who was 4 days into the position, I felt that I was not given a fair chance because I had no idea what the actual expectation was.

    USIS also paid horribly. I started at $30,000 and 18 months later I was making 31,275. Wahoo for the big raises they kept promising. They also instituted a mandatory fleet vehicle program, which I was having $120 per month taken out of my paycheck. Also in the company vehicle, I was told I could use it for my own personal travel, but they charged me like crazy for personal miles on top of the $1440 per year they were already taking from me for the company lease.

    In December 2006, I got an offer from Omniplex to work as a contract investigator; they made a pay offer of $45,454. I accepted, but found out about three weeks later that they had decided that OPM had breached their contract and that Omniplex was no longer conducting background investigations. If anyone else knows any more about that, I would love to know.

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    To the Former USIS Employee:

    At least you are in good company. Hundreds of good employees were encouraged to quit (under duress) or fired for completely made up reasons. I was one of the many revolving door managers with this crappy company.

    One day I was getting a huge bonus check for the great job I was doing, and the next I was demoted – the same month I was supposed to get a big raise, and the day after I returned from a month long out-of-state detail (in which I kicked a$$). No warning – just take it or be fired…which I was a few months later anyway…after not producing enough with the few year old SPINs (they were all in Iraq, so I couldn’t interview them) they tossed my way.

    Then the manager who let me go, was gone himself a month later. I don’t think they have retained more than a handful of the DMs and TLs who were around when I was there.

    I went back to law enforcement. There’s no money in it, the work conditions are bad, but at least I don’t get lied to and back stabbed by money grubbing bosses.

    The Security clearance industry is a mess and I won’t come within a country mile of it ever again, so good luck with it. In a few decades when we are all speaking Chinese and carrying around the Quotations of Chairman Mao, we can all thank our government for privatizing security clearances.

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    As a recently retired federal investigator, I would like offer some historical information.

    1990 was the high point for DIS. Average turnaround time for all investigations was about 50 days. It had about 3,100 people working in investigation, including 2,400 field investigators. In fiscal year 1990 DIS completed 226,000 field investigation (SBI, BI, ENAC, TS-PR, and issue S-PR). It also completed 940,000 NACs for Secret and Confidential clearances. This totals to 1,166,000 clearance investigations in fy 1990.

    OPM says it has about 9,000 personnel involved in investigations, including about 7,000 field investigators. In fy 2006 OPM completed about 700,000 clearance investigations (they also completed about 1,000,000 other background investigtions for employment purposes). So, a total of 1,700,000 investigations.

    You do the math.

    By 1995 DIS was down to 1250 field investigators and barely able to tread water. Even then turnaround times for all investigations averaged 60 days. Then in 1998 credit checks and local police records checks were added to all investigations without any additional personnel or funding for DSS. Add to that a computer system (CCMS) that put in place in 1997 never that measured up to expectations.

    Federal investigators or contract investigators–both have their own crosses to bear.

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    I graduated from college last December and was told about being a contract investigator the month before. The person that told me about the industry told me he loved it. He told me companies and people to contact regarding working as an employee. He worked for USIS for three years, then became a contractor with USIS, Omniplex, and the FBI.

    I contacted Mantech, Omniplex, and USIS. Omniplex offered me an interview then a job in December of 2006. I was excited about my first job out of college, but in February of 2007, I was told that the contract I was supposed to work was cancelled (OPM) and with that, my job was cancelled. After that I received an affer from Mantech, now known as MSM to become a contract investigator and I accepted. Now I am going through the process of receiving a Top Secret Clearance. One month ago, I was told by MSM, that I had been granted an interim secret clearance and soon realized I could not do anything with that.

    The security department now says my investigation is underway, OPM says everything is correct, and the contacts I listed will now be contacted as well as any the investigator learns about during the investigation. The security department is expecting everything to be done by August 1st. I have read some of the other responses in this blog and am not sure what to think. Is it foolish to believe I will have a Top Secret Clearance by 8/1/07?

    Also, any advice regarding good companies to work for on a contract basis would be much appreciated. Once I am working, please give some tips on how to do a good job and be in the companies good graces as a contract investigator. I’m from Maryland if that helps at all!

    Thanks! This site has taught me a lot.

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    I began working for USIS in Augusta, GA in 08/02 and the starting pay at that time was $26,000. I worked for USIS until 05/07 when I left to take a position as a contractor with CACI doing OPM investigations. I left USIS making $33,500, and I was an above average investigator. THEY DO NOT give DAMN about their employees and show it by not compensating their employees fairly. I would advise any any person just graduating college that USIS is a place to get started in this field, but not to stay. Since leaving my full time job with USIS and becoming a contractor my stree level has went gone away and I can concentrate on quality and not quantity. despite what any manager at USIS tells you folks, they are concerned with quantity not quality. The second to last month with USIS all investigators in the district were told to conduct five personal interviews per day, and transmit 1000 months of coverage per week, that was the last straw for me. I recently signed another contract with MSM Security in 10/07 to conduct personal investigations for them. I am making more now as a contractor with CACI than I was when I left USIS and MSM will only make me more money. Contracting is the way to go, I wish it would not have taken me five years to get to this point.

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    I too have recently signed on to do contract investigations with MSM. MSM is the company sponsoring my top secret clearance investigation. How do you like it so far? Jon, the other thing is that I also accepted a job as an employee investigator with USIS. Are you allowed to work at USIS as an employee and MSM as a contractor. If so, why didn’t you do both. This is my first job out of college….. any advice you can give me would be great! Thanks!

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    I am a former USIS investigator, team leader, and district manager (although not in that order – haha!). Like Jonathan, I was with USIS for 5 years and resigned in 5/2007. I have since started my own business in the arts field and am much happier than I was at USIS!

    I wanted to respond to Mike’s question about working for USIS and MSM. A few years ago, USIS changed their policy so that someone can contract to multiple OPM contractors (ie. USIS, MSM, SACI, Kroll), but I do not think you could contract to MSM while employed full time at USIS. USIS employees are required to inform their District Manager of any outside work and state that it won’t affect their performance. I don’t know specifically the USIS policy on contracting for another company, but I’ll bet they don’t let you do it. They would fear that your MSM work would have a negative impact on your USIS work, that it could happen on USIS time, or that you could reveal proprietary information.

    On a personal note, I don’t think you’ll have time do both! As an investigator, you’re somewhat at the mercy of your subjects … you knock on an important source’s door 3 different times, and when they finally call you, you arrange to to out to their house at 7pm that night. That’s just an example, but it would be hard to have such an unpredictable and busy schedule with both your employer and your contract company.

    Just my 2 cents … I wish you the best!

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    I am a contract investigator with caci. the pay was slow to start the first 3 months, then the summer was great, now in the fall its slowed again. I love the work and caci is a good company. caci has tried to fix some of their management problems with some success, and overall things run pretty smooth. I have spent most of my time recently fixing the mistakes and left behind case work from fired or departed USIS workers. Its not much fun showing up at a government office and getting an earful about the “usis investigator”. I have been honeing my verbage for smoothing their concerns and getting these folks clearances back on track.

    I run into USIS investigators from time to time, all they have to say is bragging about their company car. I tell them that caci treats me like an adult who can handle my own vehicle buying and operating. I get at least 10 times more work done then any of the ones i’ve talked to.

    have fun, its a great job.

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    My advice for you Mike is to try and pick up another contract as I have done. Working as a contractor frees you from the constraints of being a full time employee. I wish you all the luck in the world w USIS, but I need to caution you they will overwork you and underpay you. I agree with the former USIS employee who stated that you he did not think you would have time to do contracting work w MSM and full time w USIS.

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    I have been in Iraq for the past two and a half years as a LEP Screener, I would like to enter the Field Investigator career when I return to the States. Could anybody suggest any companies or recruiters for me? Thank you

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    I was offered an investigator job with USIS and wondering more specifics from recent or current investigators. How do you separate work/personal time, pay increases, unexpected expenses (car, etc.), challenges, etc. So far, I haven’t seen much good regarding management or treatment of employees. Also it looks like they charge extra for “unlimited” personal use of the company car. Please e-mail me or post up if you can give me more details.

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    It might have changed since I left in 5/07,however I was charged $145.00 monthly for the use of a chrysler sebring which was my co car. I know they went to the dodge brand so I dont know if it went up or not. But be aware this comes out of your paycheck, in addition to all the deductions you see. The pay increases were inconsistent and small, promises were made that were not kept. The amount of work v. the amount I was paid was not worth it and the time that you had to dedicate to doing the work did not allow for much of a personal life. On a personal note, I would tell you that during my time w USIS I went on 7 one month long work details and the first five details were with my personal car which made the detail financially worth going on, however the last two were w the co car and I was not reimbursed for the mileage, they were not worth the trouble of going. Hope this helps.


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    To the former TL and DM with USIS (or any one that has knowledge of this question). I moved on my own dime (hr said relocation would be covered which it wasn’t) to take a position within USIS. The pay is horrible the stress is etreme for what we get payed. I am ready to quit and move back home to go back to school. My question is the agreement that i signed to pay back the money. How many times have USIS enforced this? I will not be working for a competitor or any customers of USIS. I just want to get out of this company before I have a breakdown and have a issue code.. I have only been with the company for 8 months. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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    I have worked for USiS for a year and one half, now. After reading your blog, I have come to the conclusion that everybody likes to complain about certain aspects of the company that were presented in black and white before he or she even accepted the position as an investigator. The company car, the pay, the hours- those were all presented prior to receiving a face-to-face interview (this included the one-year contract). I believe that everybody needs to remember that nothing in life is for free. Yes, like any job, there are aspects that could improve the life of a field investigator with USiS. The life of a field investigator is not easy: You have to be self-motivated, a strong listener and writer, intunitive, and willing to go the extra mile. Yes, the pay is not as high as some jobs (especially in the area in which I work), but it’s not the lowest on the market, either. Each and every employee starts at the same base pay, based on one’s geographical location. Most employees can expect a pretty decent pay increase (I am only speaking from the experience I have had with my particular district) within one year. Would I love to make more money? Of course. Who wouldn’t? There are opportunities for overtime; however, it has to be productive work.

    The role of an investigator compared to that of an “office job” is that the time that you “work” is really that- it’s total productive time. Most “office workers” are able to charge a full day’s work without really doing so. The role of an investigator is not so- it does not allow one to slack off, because then your metrics will reflect this.

    Are the metrics stressful? Yes, they can be. I live in one of the busiest areas for security clearances- the Washington, D.C. area. Our metrics are perhaps the highest for any investigators within the United States. Are they attainable? Of course. It’s not impossible to make one’s statistics if he or she is really working the full forty hours. And not everything is based on stats; there are certain cases that require more time.

    For me, USiS is perhaps not a company I’d like to remain at until I retire (being that I am very young and hope to eventually “move up” in the investigative world)… however, it’s probably the most stable government contractor for background investigations out on the market. The next coveted role is to work for OPM, directly. Plus, due to USiS’s oustanding performance (maybe this is why USiS is so concerned about its performance!), the company has recently acquired several new contracts, which allows its investigators to receive higher security clearances (only eligible on those particular cases- just like any other job in the work force), which offer variety.

    I think what it comes down to is PASSION. Do you have a passion for what you do? Perhaps it’s the flexible hours or the independence that have driven several of these individuals to the role of an investigator. Or, maybe even the company car… but really… what it comes down to is PASSION. It’s passion that will take over when you have to do a residence item at 1900 hours on a dark, chilly evening.

    Okay, I’m off my soapbox. Yes, there is a fleet charge personal use charge. But believe me- it’s SO nice to have the Dodge Charger to use instead of having to put miles on my personal car. Plus, it’s nice to have my company care for the insurance, maintenance, etc etc. It’s also nice that USiS provides me with the tools I need to complete my job.

    Are there areas within USiS that could improve? Of course. In reality, no company is without its faults. Next time, I hope that some of these individuals can really respect what USiS has done for them, over the years. It made me sad to read these posts…

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    This is to S.K. in particular, I want to respond to each and every point that you made in your glowing defense of USIS. First, you said that all of us who were critical of USIS, knew exactly what we were getting into. YOU are the one who doesnt know what you are talking about. I began with USIS in 08/02, there was no company car, the pay structure was different and those promises for increases did not materialize. I was well aware of the hours I would need to work and I never complained about that, I did work overtime. I was with USIS for nearly 5 years, I left in 05/07 and things changed which I did not sign on for initially. I dont know how old you are, but I guarantee, that you will not stay there long as you will fast realize that the other companies on the OPM contract pay far better than does USIS. You said that to work for OPM directly was the best thing next to USIS, who told you to say that Randy Dobbs. I have news for you, when I hired in with USIS in 08/02, they did 90%+ of the work on the OPM contract, this is no longer the case. They now have about 60% to 65% of the work on the contract. That may seem like a lot, however they lost that much work or more when the contract was rebid in 2004, did YOU know that or did your management tell you that? The other companies on the contract KROLL and CACI pay much better than USIS and they are much larger companies, who are expanding in this area, so in 2009, when the contrat is rebid, I promise you, USIS will not have over 50% of the OPM contract. To those of us who worked for a long time with USIS, unlike you, and are now working with other companies on the OPM contract and making more MONEY, it is evident that you dont know what you are talking about. I would also like to say a bit about the co. car program. The program was begun in 11/06, and those of us who were employees at that time were given until march 07 to either drive the co car or take a reduced mileage reimbursement of 30 cents per mile. I know people personally in my district who left the company over the co car program, and they were experienced investigators 3+ years or more, were you at USIS in 11/06, hmmm? I know plenty of people who were only told about the co car program about 2 months before it came about, now if you just bought a new car, mine was less than a year old and you are making payments on that car and then this co car comes out and takes $145 montly out of your paycheck, it hurts.

    When you say USIS has outstanding performance, who are you kidding. I as a contract investigator w CACI have been working the same type of cases as before and have worked pieces of cases left by USIS investigators. If USIS is so great on performance why is their reputation so bad with other investigators and with govt agencies I deal with?

    1)Why has OPM given more of the investigative contract to its direct competitors?
    2)Are you working on any of these new contracts they have acquired?
    3)Why does USIS, have reviewers who work for USIS reviewing the work of fieldwork done by its own investigators? See any conflict there?

    And you talk about metrics, that is not how you measure whether an investigator is good or bad. I didn’t care how many testimonies per day, items per hour, test per week or months of coverage I completed. I got my work done and if that didnt measure up to these stupid stats then I was fussed at. Let me tell you one thing, I am paid now on the cases I complete, my supervisor doesnt care about the stats because I get the work done. So, the whole metrics thing is just a load of BS.

    I am thankful that I got experience at USIS, but dont you think for one minute that most other former employees of USIS, buy the stuff you said and if you bother to listen and talk to your co-workers, I bet that they wouldn’t buy it either. And I am talking about those that have been there longer than you.

    And I dont know who is lower than USIS in the field of investigations. It certainly isnt CACI (I work for them) nor KROLL (three former co-workers of mine work there and they make much more at KROLL). I am about to start with MSM Security and they dont make less than USIS. Why dont you say which company pays it s investigators less. I would love to know.

    I’m sorry if it made you sad to read these posts, but ask yourself do you think that everyone who posted here is an angry former employee who is lying. What has been said in the blogs about USIS is the truth, your view is the distinct minority on this subject.

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    to jonathan:

    THANK YOU… and AMEN!
    When I was in training I had wondered why it seemed that everyone that worked for USIS had only been with the company for a few years. I got the answer to my qeustion after about 6 months on the job. Also, to the metrics response. Agree fully. If you are an investigator that has a 150 mile radius and has to drive 2.5 hours one way just to conduct a spin and turnaround the next day and drive 2 (one way)to obtain a specific release.. Well lets do the math. 18 moc for spin and 3 moc for a relese. And you have just blown 9 hours in obtaining 21 MOC. It may be easier for investigators to knock out there mocs if you only have to drive 30 minutes per day.

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    I was an Investigator with USIS from 4/02 to 8/07 at which time a false complaint was filed and eventually I was terminated. My concern in NOT with USIS, rather with OPM. After being suspended without being informed why, an OPM/FIS agent conducted an “investigation” that took him 4 weeks to complete. He interviewed me, 4 biased sources and obtained 2 records. With USIS stat requirements he should have completed the investigation in 2 days. If his performance was any example of the complacency and laziness mentioned by other posters, it is no wonder security clearances are lagging. OPM never informed me why I was suspended and they sent a vague letter informing that I must be removed from the OPM contract. AFter several months I still have received no letters stating specifically why I was terminated and no information regarding an appeal. OPM will not tell USIS why they terminated employees due to “privacy concerns” unless the reason is falsification and then USIS has to rework all of that investigator’s cases. All of these contractors, USIS, CACI, MSM, KROLL, are at the mercy of OPM and their ineffective agents. It is frightening to see first hand what happens when a complaint is made and how poorly the ensuing investigation is handled by OPM/FIS agents. I am currently trying to learn how to appeal. The investigator position is not for everyone, but I was lucky to have a good DM and be treated fairly by USIS with regard to raises, etc. I also received money when the ESOP was cashed in. Hopefully the company cars and the financial maneuvering by the new management will pay off with an IPO…a least that’s why they claim they are putting us through all of these changes.

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    I just got a job as an investigator with USIS…I have some negative stuff on my credit report such as…in college I got into some credit card debt…it is now COMPLETELY paid off…I did do settlements on a few of the cards…but I owe nothing (they are just still on my report). Will this stop my clearance from going through?

    Also, I forgot to ask but as a new investigator is your clearance TS or Secret?


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    Those Credit card debts should not have a Negative Impact on the Adjudication of Your Position at USIS. Just be Honest on the E-QIP and with your Investigator and everything should be ok. As far as having a SECRET OR TOP SECRET security clearance as an Investigator the answer is NEGATIVE. You will not be given a SECRET or TOP SECRET security clerance by OPM or the Department of Defense or by any other Government agency to perform your duties as an Investigator working on the OPM contract. Makes sense? Definitely not. The Reason why USIS does not pay for you to have your Clearance is because if they did that then their Attrition level would be worse than it already is because everyone would work for USIS just to get the clearance and quit for a more lucrative paying postion and a signing Bonus at a Government Agency or a Contractor after 2 months of employment. If I was the CEO of USIS I would do the same thing. Its just Business, don’t take it personal. If I were you I would work for USIS for 1 year then become a contractor AND Start your own S-Corporation and contract out with the other OPM contractors. You will make twice as much without all the Red tape.

    Take care and good luck!

    Just some food for thought.

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    After working for USIS for a year or however long do you think a company would be more willing to hire me and sponsor my security clearance based on the fact that I have worked with USIS?

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    Bob is misinformed about why you will or will not be issued a security clearance. No one pays for security clearances; they pay for investigations. All federal investigators must have a favorably adjudicated SSBI because they occupy critical-sensitive positions, not because they require a security clearance. By extension this also applies to federal contract investigators. Whether or not you are granted a security clearance depends entirely on your need for a clearance. This is also true of OPM FISD investigators and other federal investigators.

    Having a favorably adjudicated SSBI is just as good as having a TS clearance when you go looking elsewhere for employment.

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    USIS was a very good company to work for in the late 1990’s early 2000’s. The management was proactive and wanted to work hard to produce a good product and make money for the shareholders (the employees). In 2001 when DOD started dumping cases on OPM/USIS, all hell broke loose. USIS was not able to keep up with the amount of work that was coming through the door. In addition the contract USIS signed with OPM which gave USIS the entire contract for five years, was coming up for re-bid. Uncle Phil was able to re-bid the contract and promptly sold the company to Welsh Carson in 2003.

    From this point the company started going down hill. With the sale of the company, most of the senior managers retired. This left a vacum of qualified people in mamagement positions. USIS started putting people with little or no management experience into these slots making decision that affected the lives of people who have been doing this job for years. (This caused major Problems) I worked for USIS from 1999 to 2003. I converted to a contractor the day after I received my check from the ESOP. I still have lots of friends in the field, either with USIS or with Kroll. (since they are the only ones left) My advice to anyone thinking about going to work for any contractor is dont! If you are serious about being an investigator, this is not the place for you. As a contractor you are a fact checker and that is it.

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    Hello everyone. I have a situation that I hope someone can help me with. I am an OPM/FISD agent and recently received word that on two of my cases that were reviewed the records that I obtained and reported on those cases are being questioned for an integrity/falsafication issue. The record providers are saying that they did not provide the record when they actually did and I reoprted it. OPM is also saying that my telephone testimonies were too high and a few people claimed they were not given a choice of in person or by telephone, which I clearly did ask at the very start of the call after the privacy act.

    Has anyone been investigated for similar stuff and if so what was the process and what can I expect? I am not sleeping, eating or able to focus. The anticipation of the outcome is killing me. I was notified over a month ago this investigation was being conducted when I had my spin done. No word since then. Any help would be really appreciated.