Career Advice

Many Cleared Professionals Lack Understanding of Position Designation

As a security professional I do a lot of reading and research to keep up with the constant changes in my chosen career field.  During the course of my reading I have come to the conclusion that many people who apply for federal contractor or civil servant positions seem confused as to what types of positions there are and what investigative requirements are needed for each.  In addition to understanding your position designation it is important to be aware of the type of investigation required based upon that determination. This confusion has been promulgated by inaccurate information in numerous security clearance articles written by those who never really worked in the personnel security field, but are now “subject matter experts.”

As has been reflected in many news forums, security clearance processes are in a state of flux with changes in the works to address identified gaps and problem areas.  Despite all of this turmoil and change, the types of positions with their inherent investigative requirements according to the position designation have not changed, and are actually quite straightforward and easy to understand if broken down in layman’s terms. Personnel security professionals are very particular about using the proper “lingo” when it comes to the use of the term “clearance.”   To them it means that a security clearance is needed or was granted based on the completion of a national security background investigation. Each position’s investigative requirements are dictated by the position designation.


Position designation is based on the answer to these two questions:

1) What is the level of risk to the agency, the government, and the nation if the person performing this job does something that causes damage or brings discredit upon through an act of negligence, omission, criminal, illegal or unethical behavior or conduct?

Risk Level = Low, Moderate, or High Note- moderate and high risk positions with no clearance requirements are designated as Public Trust positions.

2) What is the sensitivity level of the position?  This means: does the position require access to classified national security information and if so, at what level?  Or do the duties entail accessing and/or performing at a sensitive facility or working with a sensitive information system that requires eligibility for a security clearance?

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I know this if off-topic but this is some of the biggest news we’ve seen concerning our industry in a long time. Seems strange that this would happen to USIS in the midst of all the legal problems they’ve had in the last year plus:

  2. Avatar

    The details of The USIS breach are murky as well. All employees are completely in the dark regarding their careers.