Security Clearance Process

Clearance Reciprocity Still Lagging Among Intelligence Community Agencies

Among all the security clearance reform initiatives over the last five years was an effort by Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) to modernize the way the government vetted applicants for security clearances and
positions of public trust. One specific area he wanted to focus on was expediting the reciprocity process for those already vetted with background investigations and cleared. Systems of record previously
used to check for reciprocity of investigations and clearances was the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) CVS/PIPS and the Defense Department’s JPAS/JVS. Intelligence Community (IC) agencies had their
own systems, to include Scattered Castles. The problem then was that security professionals might have had access to one or the other, and no one outside of the IC had access to their systems of record.

Fast forward to 2023, and non-DoD or IC security folks still only use OPM’s CVS/PIPS, the DoD uses the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency’s (DCSA) DISS, and IC agencies use Scattered Castles.
Personnel from DoD and IC components don’t have access to OPM’s CVS/PIPS. You can see why it is still difficult for some agencies to verify and grant reciprocity in a timely manner. As a part of the Trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative, adding the functionality and interoperability to the new system called NBIS is currently in progress with intent of pulling all investigation and clearance information from several legacy systems into one. It remains to be seen if IC agencies like the CIA or FBI will agree to move their data over to NBIS, but that is the hope by DCSA, who is the owner of this modernization effort. It is likely they will take a wait and see approach before committing.