So, what we really want to know is: What new features do you want? What do you want to be able to do. but can’t now? What would you like to see more of? User feedback is important to us, and we’d love to hear your ideas, please take a moment and leave a comment.
I’d love it if you would appoint an assistant to type my reports for me 🙂
How about a open forum section? Im excited for the changes.
Fed has a good idea—I’d like to see more of the cleared world (Not Inv’s) tell us and everyone else what they think of the background process…interject thoughts, respectfully.
Everyone except for subjects’. We dont need their input. Hahaha
I’d like a Q&A forum for subjects with questions on how to fill out the forms. Maybe we can circumvent some of the issues on the other end if we can guide them while they are still filling them out.
Q &A would be cool. The news has to stay, love it. What about an app? Maybe something basic that updates when there are new forum posts.
I utilize this site mostly to give me clear and concise information on how recent and pending changes to Executive Orders and OPM/DNI directives will affect the clearance and background process. As a delegated investigative provider by OPM, we do not get much in the way of updates or changes from OPM.
What? You don’t get the occasional e-mails with the convoluted messages that are our new guidance?
i.e… Take out the word “The” on page 50, Chpt 2, para 3
Q & A would be great especially for people looking for guidance on how to fillout their sf-86. On a side note, I am thinking of going contractor and need advice. I am full tine with the main company here and am ready to get off the roller coaster. I know there is enough work in my area but could use some advice on the logistics. Any tips would be appreciated
One more thing that would be cool on this site is if you could “like” other’s comments.
I made the jump fr USIS to KGS back in Feb/Mar. If that’s what you’re referring to I’d be happy to answer and questions you might have.
Admins- a way to send private messages would be great.
Very Special, what is KGS? I am at USIS but want to control how much work I do. I have been told I need to completely quit, turn my creds in for 6 weeks then apply to be a contractor. Does that sound right? I talked to CACI & Keypoint but neither of them can match $ (to become an investigator w/them, not contractor)- and I still have someone over me dictating my work. What I am wondering is how to apply to be a contractor at these places, where does my computer come from, who actually gets my creds back to me, and is there a good POC for CBP contract work (I have those creds too) I worry about only getting info on how to make the switch from my immediate boss. I have heard the stories of “going to the other side” to become a contractor but no one can really tell me how exactly to do it. Thx in advance for advice..how long were u at USIS?
KGS is KeyPoint. I was with USIS for 17 months before I left. You do have to turn your creds in when you leave. They turn them back into OPM, and then your new employer has to request them from OPM. I’m not a contractor, but I’m almost certain you have to get a computer from any company you do contract work for. Pretty sure I’ve heard of contractors who have multiple computers depending on which company owns the case they’re working on.
The company you contract to provides you the computer (not the printer/fax/toner/paper). And, yes, you can end up with multiple computers. I’ve always been a contractor. USIS historically pays contractors most, but you have to put up with USIS- I don’t find the money worth dealing with the BS. KGS (Keypoint) has the next best compensation but you don’t get paid for rescheduling or discontinuing cases or for extensions even though it still requires work. USIS pays for those. CACI used to pay by the hour which I felt was too low a rate but I haven’t talked to them in a few years. I think Omniplex pays hourly too (and I think they have CPB work). And they have a lot of different contracts. I believe CSC just won a large contract that was either CBP or ICE.
Re: your creds. USIS has allowed people in the past to leave full time employment there and immediately become a contractor. I know people who have done this. But USIS being USIS- I’m sure you know their policies change by who is a favorite or who is asking… And your waiting 6 weeks to reapply means you may be back in their system about 4-6 months later.
USIS is supposed to overnight your creds back to OPM. If you’ve set up a contract with another company like KGS, they can request your creds to immediately be sent to them from OPM and will overnight them to you once received. It took USIS over two weeks to send my creds back to OPM…
One more thing- if you’re seriously looking to make the transition, get the ball rolling now and get your new work set up before you quit so there will be no lapse. Since USIS can take awhile to return your creds, maybe plan a vacation during the transition?
Contractor- thank you- this is the info I needed. I have a plan now:-) happy new year
Just out of curiosity, does anyone think OPM, CPB, et al., would save money and improve quality if they returned investigations to federal agencies?
I wish they would….my 1st choice would be to go agent. I don’t know if it would be more fiscally sound, but my inclination is yes it would be more streamlined, more efficent, and end up costing less overall.
I think it would be a huge mess. I’m not saying the govt couldn’t do it–but with as many protections as govt employees have, there is no way they could keep pace with thousands of investigators looking for safeguards to do less work. Just think of how big this agency would be. I’m in no way saying all Fed employees are bad, but I will say alot are when they have very little fear of being fired.
I do believe the quantity of work would decrease dramatically.
Darrow–also, many try to compare how it once was. There were only a fraction of TS clearances in the good old days especially DoD. If you didn’t sit in a cleared billet–no clearance. Now, they hand out clearances as if it is required for everyone.
Re: federal employment. I’ve been doing this job for a million years as a contractor. I put in for every federal opening they have in my area. Have never once even been referred. Even though I mark myself as an expert on all the supplemental questions, I don’t have veterans preference or prior federal employment. They way federal hiring is set up, OPM wouldn’t be able to hire many experienced investigators if they took back the entire contract.
Great points. If they tried vet pref first, this would no doubt hurt the integrity of the process.
No bad-mouthing us feds!
We have both extremely good and extremely poor agents. I wish management would work harder to weed out the non-performers because it sucks knowing you’re paid the same or less as the guy next to you not producing a damn thing.
Security is the biggest concern
Fed–no hard feelings 🙂
You make a good point–in the govvie world, it’s definitely not equal work–equal pay. At least in the contract world, the non-producers or folks that don’t even try are weeded-out.
I wish there could be more about jobs on the blog. Talk about what Agents, Reviewers, Adjudicators can do after this. All of us have great skills, but what other jobs do these skills translate to? Also, if any of us know of jobs coming out in our field, we should post them on the blog. Maybe the people posting them can give the inside scoop on the job as well.
Big time second to Mike’s suggestion. I’m definitely interested in learning/hearing fr anyone who may know about career opportunities for experienced investigators other than just investigating.
Has anyone ever heard of 1Force and who are they a sub contractor for or did OPM grant work to another contractor?
I’m betting they are headhunters, hired by an auth OPM agency. I think folks are having difficulties finding talent.
Having worked in the federal government (not OPM) and having done this BI job as a contractor I have come to the position that this whole background investigation process needs to return to federal. I have no doubt it would infinitely more efficient and a whole lot cheaper. And not to mention be a whole lot more credible. But the move back to federal cannot be in its former incarnation in the antiquated DSS/DOD/OPM. It needs to move under DHS where it can take advantage of the resources there and that department’s newfound legitimacy (and not be asked, “What is the Office of Personnel Management?”). Contract investigators need not be made federal special agents but simply federal special investigators (kind of like how TSA screeners are federal security officers). OPM special agents should not be wasted as just investigators with a different title and gold badge. They should move into overseeing field operations. TSA has a budget of $8 billion/year. They have 45-50k federal officers, 2k+ federal Air Marshals, 4k federal inspectors, bomb appraisal officers, hundreds of their own training facilities, and are in every area of the U.S. and even overseas. We will be entering a transitional moment in investigations in the next few years with technology. This is the time to overhaul the federal security investigation process. Just my two cents.
Darrow–You make some very solid points.
And I would add that I am surprised OPM is not more concerned about its image and the impression most people are having of the contemporary security clearance background investigation process. Most people are getting their introduction to this federal agency, “Office of Personnel Management”, from contractor investigators. When I go to some facilities and see some of the investigators I can’t help but think some of the professional people they interview might lose a little confidence in the process. The other week I saw a young woman in her early 20’s who looked and carried herself like she got off the third shift at Denny’s. I was stunned when she pulled out OPM creds. This job should not be a starter job.
Have you seen the starting salary?
I’ve seen it as well. I trained a freaking Fed who arrived for her first day with a diamond stuck in the side of her nose and dressed like she was ready to go out to the club.
I set her straight and she complained to management about me. Lucky for us, she didn’t last long.
But how the hell did she get on in the first place when there are so many qualifed people who would jump at the chance to be a Fed?
BW an Investigator: Delegated agencies by OPM get nothing except a phone number to call their OPM laision and that can be a mixed bag too yet we are responsible for keeping up to OPM standards. Designed for failure….
I interviewed an OPM SAC. Met me in running shoes and a t-shirt at the OPM office on a Monday morning. Impressions are a very big part of this job. And I’m afraid more and more people I encounter in the cleared community seem to take this whole thing less seriously if not annoying. No doubt this is due to not only the quality/maturity of the investigator but the fact that most of them are forced– due to required questions/disclaimers– to have their head down rattling off 25 questions that could be subsumed under one pointed and encompassing question with lock-on eye contact. If you ever see a print journalist interviewing they have more head up time than down. Shouldn’t BI’s, who are dealing with the veracity of someone, have as much. If not and it is just about facts, why not have it be conducted 100% by phone?
The case for not having SPINS.
Robert Stein, Jr. was employed as a comptroller for the Coalition Provisional Authority in South Central Iraq. He was sentenced on January 29, 2007, to 9 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million for his role in the bribery and fraud scheme.
A New York Times article, commenting on Stein’s administration of reconstruction funds from Iraq’s oil revenue, said:
“For reasons that the Pentagon has so far declined to clarify, Stein was hired as a comptroller by the Coalition Provisional Authority and put in charge of $82 million for reconstruction, despite his conviction for felony fraud in the 1990s.”
I’m assuming this guy had a clearance for his position. This had to be a discussed issue or a SPIN. I think SPINs and issue resolutions should be eliminated. Only developed issues should be resolved. SPINs and non-developed issue resolutions only serve to mitigate the issue. People here have defended such things as financial SPINs because there might be a legitimate and mitigating reason for the debt. They are right because there always are mitigating reasons. And we investigators are like defense counsel stenographers providing that version (alone) into the record. My feeling is if you can’t get a Sears charge card based on your financial record you shouldn’t get a national security clearance. If you can’t get a shuttle bus driver position at the retirement community because of a past DWI you shouldn’t get a national security clearance. And of course, if you get convicted of a felony you can’t get a national security clearance. Sorry, thanks for applying, but there are plenty of jobs out there that don’t require a national security clearance.
The only SPINs I am in favor of are the issue resolution of why a Subject did not list a prior BI investigation for a DOD secret clearance in March 1974. 😉
It would be interesting to know how effective periodic re-investigations are for catching spies. How many spies have been caught during their 5-year update process?