Companies Use Loophole in Keeping Clearance Active
In accordance with Executive Orders and policy guidance from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the granting of a security clearance should only be done when there is a legitimate need for access to classified information. Defense Industry companies are highly encouraged to keep the numbers of cleared employees to a minimum. However, some try to position themselves favorably for future contract bids by keeping employee clearances active even though they may not be working on a classified contract. This practice is especially prevalent in the Intelligence Community because of the work they do and who they partner with.
As an example, a recent story broke about how a number of cybersecurity contractors who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) were tasked to provide support to the United Arab Emirates for a special project. The employees had concerns about potentially losing their clearances because of working on a unclassified contract with a foreign government Their company used a loophole by placing them on the cleared roster of another classified NSA contract even though they did not actually work on it. This ensured the employees would keep their clearance while completing work on the unclassified contract.
Although this is technically legal, it does seem a bit sketchy keeping contractor employee clearances who are working on various contracts which may not require access to classified information. This is, however, a common industry practice and allows companies to have a pool of cleared candidates ready for whatever may come down the pike without having to worry about lapses in coverage or waiting for background investigations to get done.