Obtaining Security Clearance

Is the Clearance Backlog a National Security Threat?

It has been over a year (since May 2005) that a national news organization has come out to declare the security clearance backlog as a major security risk. In 2005 during Congressional hearings, the “security threat” language was last used. Surprisingly, the topic hasn’t been put in these terms in a while, even though the same ol’ issues are still in place.

A new editorial reviews a recent Washington Post report and calls the baby ugly. The report notes that a December 17th, 2006 deadline was set in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act which stipulates:

“..that 80 percent of applications for federal security clearances must be completed in an average of 120 days , by December 17th, 2006.”

Was anyone really taking this date seriously? Sure, it would have been great, but the deadline was not entirely realistic.

Comment Archive

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    The keyword is 80%. It seems everyone falls into the 20% category. I certainly been waiting for over a year and nothing yet.

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    Not uncommon. We find the average wait for a new security clearance to be awarded is about 18 months for a Secret and slightly longer for a Top Secret.

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    Even more ludacrous are the cleared contractors who are stuck renting because they don’t demand enough money. If you have a clearance, a college degree, and several years experience and you are not making 6 figures you are hurting yourself and everyone in the industry. Life is expensive and other companies don’t have enough workers and WILL pay you more.

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    Keep a stiff upper lip. New reforms at OPM have been put in place and things will begin to pick up and change in a positive direction. I work in the industry and since November, we have been cranking out priority clearance cases pretty quick here to meet deadlines. The old 2006 FY cases are also getting caught up too.

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    Admin scared me with the “18 months for a Secret and slightly longer for a Top Secret” line. I’m 16 months into an SCI clearance- had my polygraphs in mid November and am just waiting. My investigator told me 9-18 months for my clearance because I am relatively young and have less life to look into. Am I looking at 20-24 months or even longer? For what it’s worth my future boss told me my file has been “fastracked.”

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    Thanks for the quick response. 2-3 months sounds good and my [potential] future boss told me that, in general, if they were going to deny you they’d tell you pretty quickly after the poly. I’d hate to wait all this time and get a negative result.

    I did get a chuckle, initially, from that “fastrack” line but it was getting to seem like a cruel joke.

    No interim clearance, just doing my old [and at the same time, current] unclassified job. They, of course, have known I was leaving for the past 14 months [my boss was interviewed in 11/05] so there was no need for them to bother with me vis-a-vis bonuses, pay raises and the like.

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    Geoff – Didn’t mean to scare you! Based on what we have been hearing lately and the date of your Poly, I’d assume you will get final clearance adjudication in the next 2-3 months.

    We did get a chuckle from your “fastracked” line.

    What work are you doing in the meantime? Do you have an interim clearance, or are you doing unclassified work? Good luck!

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    Does Public Trust for DHS get any priority? I have been told 6, 8, or 10 weeks, but it has been nearly three months (since around 11/04/2007).

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    I meant 11/04/2006……..

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    Separate DHS-related question. Does anyone here have any insight into TS/SCI clearance wait times with DHS? Specifically Office of Intelligence and Analysis? I was told that my clearance was prioritized, and that DHS intel candidates were “in a different line” than DOD candidates, so the process would go quicker. It’s only been about 7 months, but apparently my background investigation isn’t even complete. Not yet in adjudication, nor have a gone in for the CI poly. Any insight would be helpful, especially because my current employer has been asking questions about my plans.

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    DHSGuy – Our knowledge is that your DHS TS/SCI will take a minimum of 12 months to complete. If it gets through sooner, let us know, as you will be one of the lucky ones.

    Out of curiousity, what do you do?

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    From Contractor post – “If you have a clearance, a college degree, and several years experience and you are not making 6 figures you are hurting yourself and everyone in the industry”

    Contractor – how many years of experience are you talking about here? 4, 8, 10? I’d like to know. From my experience, people who “demand” salaries don’t end up doing too well. Most people are not making 6 figures. Unless you work for a small employee owned company or have a lot of experience in a large company, you won’t make that much. Big companies often low ball their employees because they can. In large companies, a small amount of people make A LOT of money and a large amount of people make OK money.

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    Admin – thanks for the reply. Is the 12 months figure just a normal guesstimate for TS/SCI? Or do you have any sense that DHS is quicker than other agencies?

    I am currently a federal contractor doing unclass work. I enjoy the work, but the DHS intel position is much more in line with my long-term career interests. However, it sounds like I am in the same boat as “Geoff” above, where my current employer knows I am awaiting a clearance for DHS, so in their eyes I’m not here for the long-run and there’s no need to give me more responsibility (or promotions).

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    I have a secret clearance currently in process. I was originally told I would have an interim, allowing me to work, 10 working days from filing. Here I sit, almost a month later. There was a problem with my eqip file, but it took several days for anyone to tell me there was a problem. When eqip was called to verify the problem, they would not talk to me or my potential employer’s security director. So, I updated and resubmitted my eqip file and it is now in JPAS. I want the security director to give me a contact number for the company they submitted it to, but he will not. Because I know how government works and how to ‘work’ the system, I think I can get my packet sooner than most. I know the final clearance will still tak several months, but an interim is just a surface search and should not take nearly as long as it has. Good luck to all.

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    My full poly clearance has passed 26 months now. It has been over a year since I took my polygraphs. 18 months…Ha!

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    Today makes 490 days waiting for me. All we keep getting told is it’s still open. I am Key Management Personnel for my company and yet we have been seeing newer applicants get cleared between I kid you not 21 days to 4 months. Mine was submitted before OPM took over from DSS so I guess I’m in the bottom of the pile since OPM is trying to justify their numbers. Is there anyway to find out where you are in the process?

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    I’ve been waiting, as of today, 513 days for a Secret Clearance. Contractor knows I’m in a holding pattern and says to wait. Now wondering if its worth it and should just go somewhere else.

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    Starting in spring 2004 all new DoD cases were submitted by DISCO to OPM. By spring 2005 all cases pending at DSS were transferred to OPM (as was the DSS investigative staff).

    If you are KMP, it seems to me that your DSS IS Rep should be able to help you out.

    Good luck.

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    I have an interim Secret and was told that my investigation had closed on the 23rd of July. I asked if there was any reason it hadn’t been adjudicated yet, and was told that all they knew was that JPAS had a file on me. They then said that wasn’t always negative. Wouldn’t JPAS have a file on me because of my interim Secret? How long does adjudication take?

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    If your agency is a JPAS user, JPAS had a file (record) on you from the time your investigation was initiated.

    Latest data available (from Feb 07) indicates an average of 53 days for adjudication (including mail/handling time) for DoD; 72 days for DHS; 80 days for DoE; and 164 for DOJ. For more information see page 13 of the Feb 07 Security Clearance Oversight Group (SCOG)Report available at https://www.state.gov/m/ds/clearances/60321.htm

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    I am in the process of getting my interim secret clearance for a contract with DOD.
    I have a payment plan set up with the IRS for someback taxes and have submitted ALL documentation from the IRS to the security officer. I brought this up at first so they would kno about it. It was not “discoverd” in the investigation process. Just today I got a notice from Transunion indicating that my rental company has 4 incomplete cases listed from 2001. They were late rent payments that were all paind with in the first month after they were due. The payments are not listed on the public record report,just the liabilities. But I still live here and the payments were made over 6 years ago.

    All my paper work arrives with the security person working my ncase 3 weeks ago but I have not heard anything from HR yet. I know he should have reviewed averything by now and sent them a recommendation for my clearance. I hvae a crystal clear criminal record and never have had any drug use. So…I am waiting, will I have any trouble with getting my interim clearance.

    Thank you, RT

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    If your case was submitted to DISCO, they generally make a decision regarding interim Secret clearances with 4 to 5 working days of receipt.

    The problem with the IRS you listed on your security clearance application might result in the denial of an interim clearance. It depends on the amount of mitigating information you submitted with your clearance application. Based on what you said and absent any complicating factors, it shouldn’t cause a denial of a final clearance.

    Being 30 days past due on your rent a few times in the past does not have to be listed on your clearance application and does not rise to the level of being a suitability/security concern, but you may need to explain/prove that the payments were only late (not unpaid).