Background Investigations

Cost of Security/Suitability Investigations – FY2011

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced (FIN 10-08) the new prices of their standard investigative products for Fiscal Year 2011. There was no annual price increase in October 2009. With one exception, the prices of the most common investigations increased 3%. The MBI (Minimum Background Investigation, now renamed the Moderate Risk Background Investigation) increased 20% for priority handling and 27% for standard service. OPM discontinued the Limited Background Investigation (LBI), which was previously used for Public Trust determinations. It also eliminated the PTSBI (Public Trust Special Background Investigation) and the PRIR (Periodic Reinvestigation and Residence Coverage), as well as various special upgrades and updates to standard investigations.

It appears that the new Enhanced Subject Interview (ESI) will replace the Personal Subject Interview (PRSI), a standard component of many investigations. A separate charge for the ESI will be added to the price of the NACLC and ANACI when required by case expansion criteria.

Reimbursable Suitability/Security Investigations (RSI) will continue to be offered (FIN 10-09) for focused investigations needed to resolve issues that fall outside the scope or period of coverage of standard investigations. It is unclear whether the SPIN (Special Interview) will continue to be offered as an option under the RSI. With very few exceptions, federal agencies (including DISCO) pay OPM for these investigations. Here are the new prices that become effective on October 1, 2010:

Priority Handling
Standard Service


Related Post: Cost of Security/Suitability Investigations – FY2009


Comment Archive

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    Does a “loss of jurisdiction” pose a problem for me as I rejoin the work force?

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    Do you have any idea what the difference in compensation will be from the SPIN to the new ESI? Seems like they are going to be requiring a lot more work for the ESI and I was curious if they increased the rate.

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    Well I got some training on how OPM wants us to conduct the ESI and it can be a bit confusing. In fact during the telecon we as investigators had many questions about it and we were told our questions would be passed on to OPM. What concerns me though is I am in a pilot program of 60 investigators for my company who had the very brief training on the ESI yet it is my understanding OPM wants all investigators to follow the new ESI guidelines starting today (10/1/10). I don’t know if OPM dropped the ball on this or my company but we as investigators are already behind the 8 ball for the ESI. Training for the ESI should have come out in July or August not the day it is suppose to go into effect.

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    OOPS I missed that target date 🙂

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    Funny–I just saw the guidance on my e-mail. Seems to me that you keep doing what you are doing–Cover and resolve and you will be fine.

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    I also got the guidance by email (5pm on 9/30/10 for one contract and 7pm 10/1/10 on another). I guess what I want to know is if the compensation will be increased for us contractors. This is going to increase the interview times for what used to be SPINs considerably. Lots of times, the SPIN issues are only a small amount of actual issues on the paperwork. To have to address every issue with the subject (on what used to be a SPIN) and have to type the info into a report may make these ESI cases not financially viable for contractors to continue to complete.

    BW, I think nothing would change for the PRSI (they are just clarifying the issue resolution that you would have to cover anyway). But the SPINs are going to be a whole other beast altogether.

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    I almost bet the fee will be for a PRSI. I think if anything, these may be more profitable for you in the future as you may have an increased amount of PRSI’s to conduct as when the case comes together dates….etc…. will be out of whack.

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    My concern lies in the amount of time that will now need to be devoted to conducting a PRSI on a case that formerly required only a SPIN. My experience has been that the SSBI and PR PRSIs tend to be cleaner (for lack of a better word) than the ANACI/ NACL cases and to have to conduct a PRSI on those case types is really going to add a lot of time to the process. There are often many other issues indicated on the SF-86 that did not require coverage for the SPINs that will now need to be addressed and reported. I am not suggesting that this is not a positive move by OPM relating to national security, I think it would have been smart to do this all along. I am strictly concerned about my bottom line, as I am trying to weigh the cost/ benefit when compared to other case types. I guess it remains to be seen whether the compensation will be increased, although I know of a lot of other contractors who are hesitant to touch these cases until everything is clarified. Only time will tell, I guess.

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    Got ya–I know the ANACI and NACLC will be exactly as you describe. Most of the time, these kids are given minimal time to fill the forms out and as an old SPIN guy, I recall all the mistakes and always wondered why we let them go along with other issues I thought were equally important.

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    The last price OPM published for a SPIN was $480 (FY08 price). The price of an ESI as an add on to a NACLC or ANACI is $550.

    I would guess that investigators (subcontractors) are getting paid less than 1/2 that amount. It’s interesting how much is probably going to overhead (at OPM and the contractor)and profit for the contractor.

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    Have I read guidance about the ESI correctly that when an ESI 3 is scheduled, we will have to go over the entire SF86 again? It sounds good in principle to confront a Subject about information that was developed over the course of the investigation after the ESI. However, I worry about the additional time it will take to conduct an ESI 3 compared to the additional work we have to do in the field. I realize this is important to national security but I do hope that my company, other contractors, and OPM plans on hiring a considerable number of new investigators to compensate for the additional time this will take.

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    I agree with you. To take every case that formerly required a SPIN and make it into essentially a PRSI (now called the ESI), it is going to add a long time not only to the interviews but to the typing as well. I can’t imagine places that have a high volume of SPINS (like Fort Jackson) being able to keep up with the volume. I am thinking 2-4 times as long to complete than just a spin. It is going to get interesting. And I think that OPM did not price these properly-only an additional $70 for the ESI?

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    Contractor–agree on time. I could do about 4-5 SPINS a day when the work was there, sometimes more depending on the case and locations. There is no way I can do that many PRSI’s within a normal (8 hr day).