Career Advice

Not All Positions in the Intelligence Community Need Clearances

An interesting observation was made by National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina after three months of Intelligence Community (IC) employees working from home where they have not had access to classified national security information; a security clearance may not be needed for all positions.

Last week in an address to the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) Evanina said “We are just as successful, with some exceptions, with people working at home than we were before. And I think we have to be flexible and look at our private-sector model and maybe extrapolate that into our intelligence community.”

He went on to tell the INSA virtual conference participants that not all positions really require clearances and are able to telework because they don’t need access to classified national security information (CNSI) to do their job. That makes plenty of sense. The long-standing IC mindset that all employees of their particular agency need a Top Secret clearance is archaic. Change is already in the works – the IC combined the security clearance process with employee suitability for hiring earlier this year. The move was meant to clarify the role of human resource officers in ensuring candidates were right for job demands.

In other news, DCSA reported the security clearance backlog has dropped to 180,000, a significant drop from 231,000 cases in January. Investigations are getting completed a lot faster but the adjudications side of the process is still an unknown. Certain agencies like the CIA and NRO seem to review and adjudicate within a few days, others like DoD or DHS are more hit and miss, taking anywhere from a week to months to adjudicate. Overall, in my opinion, the process is much better than where we were 2 years ago.


  1. Good to know. If the agency develops it’s own virus and malware protection for homework…even better. That way they know the home system is somewhat protected. It is a good bet they are all frequent targets of phishing and the like. Perhaps they can let thousands of clearances lapse, helping further unclog the re investigation crowd. I sus pect many will not want to give up current clearance eligibility as that is perceived as their meal ticket in Northern Va region. Remaining active and in scope is usually a leg up on uncleared or never cleared people. It isn’t a guarantee of getting hired, not by a long stretch. But it certainly helps.