Background Investigations

OPM Ready to Handle Influx of Clearance Investigations

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is ready to handle clearance investigations for the Obama administration’s approximately 6,000 to 7,000 new politically appointed officials. Kathy Dillaman, Associate Director of OPM’s Federal Investigative Services Division was reported as saying, “Piece of cake. . . .The influx of Obama staffers will be a drop in the bucket compared to the roughly 2.3 million background checks OPM is expected to handle this year.”

In reality OPM currently conducts about 600,000 security clearance investigations a year. Two-thirds of the often cited 2 million “checks” involve only a fraction of the work required for a security clearance investigation. Nevertheless 6,000 only represents 1% of OPM’s annual clearance investigation workload, and OPM is adequately staffed to absorb much more than a 1% increase.

The 6,000 to 7,000 Obama officials are also expected to be spread out over the next few months, which mitigates the surge effect, Dillaman said. OPM is ready to offer [investigative] employees overtime or bring on some additional [investigative] contractors in case clearances start to back up, she said.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    Investigator

    No problem for us as that seems to be my yearly caseload ๐Ÿ™‚ How bout you–WOW!!! I am wore out.

  2. Avatar

    No work now (none since November for us contractors). Thankfully the other companies still need contractors, but I think this one particular company may be out of the game.

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    I hear you BW. Left my house this morning at 6:45am and pulled in to my driveway this evening at 6:45pm.

    Contract Investigator: which company are you talking about?

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    Investigator,

    Only 12 hrs–guess it was a light day ๐Ÿ™‚

    Curious to what company Contract Inv is referring to???

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    BW,
    Not sure. I know my company has slowed down on giving work to contractors but the FTEs are getting slammed with work.

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    The company which has given no work to contractors since November is USIS in Fairfax and probably some other locations. I’m one of the contractors. I’ve been in touch with a few others who are in that category too and they have no work. For those who had moved on to doing reinvestigations, CACI and OMNI seem to be hiring. Those who were still doing SPINS may not have that opportunity.

    I’ve heard that USIS’s problem may be due to some mistakes in its budget. I also suspect there may be problems with its contract and OPM but have no way of knowing what the truth is. It’s all speculation. It’s a very secretive company with questionable ethics, according to what I’ve read on the job vent sites.
    I personally did not have any problems. Seems that employees have more issues with it than contractors.

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    striker,
    There have been no problems with FTE’s here in the Central VA area with USIS. We have stopped giving work to contractors but as I indicated in my previous post the FTE’s are getting slammed with work. 75% of my cases are SPINS and the other 25% are BI type investigations. With the BRAC, one of the military bases I cover is going to explode with work in the next year or so.

    I do not have any contact with anyone in the Fairfax office so I do not know what the situation is up there. There have been no ethical issues with the company in my area.

    Hope you find work soon.

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    Striker,

    If you do SPINS only, I suggest you move on to other case types. I think SPIN contractors are definitely going to be shut-out because there is a small profit margin in the case type.

    Investigator–I am in the same boat with being slammed with work. I’m not liking what I see as expectations have increased even more these days.

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    BW,
    Looking at the JSSRT document I think the amount of work for each case is going to decrease which will make it easier to complete cases in a timely manner.

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    The Big KD consistently overstates OPM’s ability to do what it really can’t do. It’s gonna bite her in the ass. Meanwhile, somebody has to reign this lady in.

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    Striker laid it out perfectly and I agree I have never had any complaints. I just wish they were still doling out work. The SPINS have always been great. I’m going to miss those case types. I know CACI and Omni are looking for contractors and Kroll is hiring FTE’s currently.

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    Moving from SPINs to reinvestigation is easier said than done. With USIS, you have to be invited to take the two or three day class. Others who have done this tell me that the learning curve is even tougher than learning to do the SPINS. I’m willing to spend a few days in class with no compensation, but unwilling to spend more that with no pay.

    I’ve tried applying with two of the other companies but have so far received no response. The problem could be that I’m not willing to travel outside northern VA. In the case of CACI, I could not get past the page where they want to know the level of clearance I have. I don’t have one as I have not needed one. Of course, I did have a SSBI which was successfully adjudicated.
    Guess I may look for other work.

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    Striker,

    With CACI, as long as you are a credentialed investigator, you can e-mail your resume directly to the hiring person who handles the contract investigators and bypass their application system altogether. Go to the CACI careers page, click on the “featured job opportunites” and scroll toward the bottom of the page. It has the contact info for credentialed investigators-it says they are looking for people with active DoD Top Secret clearances but I know they have been bringing on people with SSBI’s and no active clearance. Good luck!

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    Striker,

    hang im there. Tell the companies you have a current SSBI. If they need to they can re-do and have it adjudicated, but don’t think they will need to. Also, MSM probably has work in your area as they have an NSA contract. A little drive from NoVA, but may be worth the drive–they also do CBP, ICE and OPM.

  15. Avatar

    Thanks to both of your for your suggestions.

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    Striker,

    How’s the search going. I checked JPAS today and my current SSBI does not show. It is nothing to worry about. Also, talked to some pretty good experts in the field and they to say you should just contact OPM, who will have it.

  17. Avatar

    An update on my SSBI-it took FOREVER for the new security office to locate it in the computer. I still don’t know where it was found but apparently it wasn’t in any of the databases that they would have expected to find it in. And the company I am leaving was less than cooperative in helping with the process. I have had colleagues who have located their investigations in the CVS. Hope that helps!

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    Contract Investigator,

    Thanks I will probably need to use this info reaL soon.

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    BW,
    Are you moving on?

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    Investigator,

    Am considering it. Not sure I want to keep working 50-60 hour work weeks with almost unattainable stats. I sometimes feel like I work harder now then I did for 20 years in the military. I just do not see any relief in the future as companies are trimming their budgets and people. Been to jobvent lately–things are getting quite ugly. Due to the shortages of people, I have driven over 4,000 miles since the end of Oct 08.

  21. Avatar

    BW,

    That’s insane because it was the beginning of Nov when they started cutting our work. You probably work for a competitor of my old company and started seeing an influx of our work coming your way around the time ours started to decrease, which sounds like what may have happened. Interesting…

    There are other actually lots of opportunities out there right now, even with this economy. If you’re interested in contract work, you can get contracts directly with the feds to eliminate the middle man-the pay is better than contract work for another contractor. But the other contractors all seem to be hiring as well for both f/t and contractors.

    Good luck to you!

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    Contract Investigator,

    I do work for a competitor of your old company. I have been slammed since fall 2007 though. The work has been steady it was just I had no help in my area. I have noticed that everyone’s work has actually slowed. Not sure why, but definitely has something to do with the backlog being caught-up. I’m betting really soon the flood gates will once again open and these companies will be begging for the help or we will simply slip back into the backlog zone we were in. There is alot of mismanagement out there. I’d definitely be interested in contracting for myself–I know there is a set aside for us old veterans, just not sure where to start.

  23. Avatar

    I am a SPIN contractor with USIS and I love my job but haven’t had any work in 6 weeks (luckier than others, I know). I trying to wait it out but may have to explore other companies if things don’t turn around. I’ve always felt that it is more productive to have some investigators/contractors doing only spins because they distract regular investigators sometimes from their other case types. When I was an FTE, most of my fellow investigators hated doing SPINS because they only got them once in awhile and they weren’t used to them. When I started five years ago, I was trained solely as a SPIN investigator and later trained on the other case types. I currently have no idea what USIS has in store for positions like mine as they keep us in the dark. Does anyone know if any other the other companies – MSM, Kroll, OPM, or CACI employ spin contractors? Thanks.

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    SPIN Contractor,
    What part of the country do you work in?

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    Florida

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    Spin Contractor,

    I haven’t heard of any other company employing just SPIN contractors, although I do think CACI and MSM are looking for contractors that can do it all. I think USIS may be a sinking ship. But goodness those SPINs were great… Good luck.

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    I can tell you for a fact USIS is not sinking ship. There will be some big news coming out this summer about the company.

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    Investigator,

    You can’t dangle the carrot and not give us the “Skinny.” What’s the big news?

  29. Avatar

    Sorry I can’t say anything until it is publicly announced.

  30. Avatar

    OK–I’m assuming it has something to do with the name change coming up.

  31. Avatar

    I can not confirm or deny that.