Having a Security Clearance vs. Being Eligible for a Security Clearance
What is the difference between having a security clearance versus being found eligible for a security clearance? This question has confounded many applicants after they have endured the long and arduous national security background investigation process and were told it was favorably adjudicated. Many who thought they were cleared found out otherwise when applying for other jobs. No clearance record on them could be located in JPAS, CVS, or Scattered Castles. Just because there is a completed investigation that was favorably reviewed and adjudicated does not mean you have a clearance, rather it just means you are eligible for one. The completed investigation is just one of the steps towards having an active clearance.
First and foremost, there must be a specific need for access to classified information based on your position duties. Many employers like to have clearance eligible employees on hand in case they are given classified work by their government clients on short notice. Once an investigation is favorable adjudicated and a need for access is established, applicants then undergo an initial security briefing and execute the Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement (SF-312) and any other agreements if needed for SCI or SAP access. On that note, in anticipation of the changeover from JPAS to the new Personnel Security Clearance processing repository (DISS) in May 2018, the Defense Security Service put out new instructions outlining specific guidance and requirements for execution of the SF-312. The notice specifically states that applicants are not in access unless a correctly filled out SF-312 with “wet” signatures is on file in DISS. Facility Security Officers should pay attention to this and ensure the nondisclosure agreements are filled out correctly to prevent delays in access.