ODNI Implements Interim Measures to Reduce Investigation Backlog
In June the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) jointly issued a memorandum implementing interim measures to help reduce the investigation backlog for DoD. This memorandum instructs the Defense Security Service (DSS) to defer submission of Tier 3 (T3R) and Tier 5 (T5R) reinvestigations for the contractor workforce. Specifically, Facility Security Officers (FSO) will continue to submit a completed Standard Form 86 reinvestigation request six years from the date of last investigation for the T5Rs and 10 years from the date of the last reinvestigation for the T3Rs. These reinvestigation submissions will be screened by DSS using a risk management approach that permits deferment of reinvestigations according to policy. If the determination is made to defer the reinvestigation, individuals will be immediately enrolled into the DoD Continuous Evaluation (CE)/Continuous Vetting (CV) Program.
Additionally, ODNI has reminded all Federal departments and agencies that personnel security clearances do not expire and they are to reciprocally accept the prior favorable adjudication for investigations that may be out of scope (overdue). Existing eligibility remains valid until the individual is removed from CE, no longer has any DoD affiliation, or has their eligibility revoked or suspended. Individuals with current eligibility in the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS), or its successor, should not be denied access based on an out-of-scope investigation. DSS has also posted a “Frequently Asked Questions” about these interim measures that will answer many questions cleared contractors may have.
Keep in mind that this only applies to the cleared contractor population falling under the National Industrial Security Program. Other Federal agencies may adopt similar measures but are not obligated to follow the reinvestigation guidance. As stated in the memorandum, they are however, required to accept reciprocity for cleared contractors working on their contracts and whose clearances were granted by DSS. Hopefully all the FSOs are up to date on this latest guidance and process accordingly.
So lets say you submit an SF-86 for a PR. You’re screened and PSMO-I makes a determination to defer the reinvestigation and enroll you in the CE/CV. Then they are also supposed to “reciprocally accept the prior favorable adjudication for investigations that may be out of scope” Does this mean the whole investigation and adjudication process is skipped and your clearance is automatically “renewed”?
The adjudicator is reviewing your SF-86 application, comparing information from the previous investigation, submitting what is called a Continuous Evaluation Special Agreement Check which runs criminal history and other national agency checks, and if all is clear, defers the reinvestigation and the individual is enrolled in CE. The clearance status remains unchanged.
So does the anniversary date change to the day the individual is enrolled in CE? Meaning six years after being enrolled in CE another SF-86 will have to be submitted for a Tier 5 PR? Also when an individual is enrolled in CE in this situation, do they still have to worry about an LoJ like they would if switching companies during a PR? Or is the clearance now considered “in scope” for another six years (with the two year rule of not using the clearance still applying)? Sorry for all the questions, but unless I’m mistaken, this kinda seems like a big deal that could shave a lot of time off of PR wait times.
All of those are good questions and at this time there are no definitive answers as things as in flux. We will have to wait and see pending further guidance and directives.
Of primary concern to most in the industry is seeing the words “most recent investigation within 5 years” tagged to every job that is posted these days. Makes it hard to switch jobs when your last investigation was 8 years ago. (hypothetical - not the case for me)