Background Investigations

Security Clearance Investigations in the Hot Seat

This week the Department of Justice filed a new complaint against security clearance investigation firm USIS. The filing accuses the company of filing incomplete investigations approximately 40 percent of the time, at least 665,000 cases. USIS has been under fire in recent months, as congress steps up efforts to reform the security clearance process and improve security clearance background checks.

USIS conducted the background investigations for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as well as Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The DOJ complaint was filed in Alabama, and alleges at least four years of systemic and deliberate misconduct. In addition to the civil lawsuit, USIS faces accusations of criminal misconduct related to falsifying cases.

“USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” said the Justice Department complaint.”

A company statement refuted the allegations, highlighting recent changes in company leadership as well as improved oversight procedures. OPM did conduct a review of the Snowden and Alexis investigations, and found no misconduct.

Read more about the USIS lawsuit here.

There has already been significant debate about security clearance reform, and what it will mean for the investigation and adjudication community. While security clearance investigation reform remains the low-hanging fruit for now, it seems unlikely that scrutiny will stop there. At some point, oversight will need to dig  into the processes that were enacted to award private companies millions of dollars in bonuses for producing incomplete work. When clearance investigations became all about speed and deadlines, quality suffered.

Just three years ago debate in Congress was focused on what could be done to speed up the security clearance process. Demand for cleared personnel was high, and focus was on increasing reciprocity. Today, no one is looking to improve speed, but everyone wants to criticize the process. The security clearance application backlog is in the thousands, thanks to sequestration. Congress will need to dig deeper than simply increasing investigation oversight if it wants to truly reform the process. But what steps will be taken, and what impact it will have on processing time, reciprocity, and adoption of better technology, remains to be seen.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    Website with PDF of 25 page civil suit filed against USIS:

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    The 24 page civil law suit file in Alabama by Troy Percival and this document that indicts USIS for contract fraud is maddening, shocking, and despicable as an employee of almost 7 years. It would take me an entire novel to write all of my concerns with USIS but suffice it to say USIS will never win another alternate contract other than OPM and at the very minimum USIS is going to be buried in monetary penalties in the millions and a loss of the share of the contract to its competitors. I speculate possible debarment in FY 2015. Each day, month, and year that passes by I tell myself that USIS cannot get any worse and I continue to prove myself wrong. Fool me once shame on me fool me twice or multiple times…I’m a damn fool.

    I’m very concerned about my future in this industry. There is no where to go….CACI and KGS are small players in the industry with the contract share, pay less, and it’s just like going to a different cow pasture with the same s***. An OPM Agent position is an absolute pipe dream over the last 4 to 5 years as a majority of OPM fed jobs are only available to apply for if you are a veteran or have former federal service. I’ll just be honest with myself it isn’t going to happen as I’m white, live in the West, and have no former federal service or veterans preference. Say goodbye to that dream.

    I’m deathly afraid to put USIS on a job application or resume for fear I’ll be laughed at by future companies and people familiar with the security clearance industry. perhaps it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror and go back to school, leave the industry that had so much promise when I began, and start down a new path. scary thing is that I am the sole provider of 3 young children and a mortgage. Perhaps another day, I’ll explain why I hate so many of the policies about USIS from the way cases are reviewed, case assignments, and etc. For now I go to bed broken, deflated, defeated, and becoming more and more apathetic to this company as this ship continues to sink into the abyss.

  3. Avatar

    Usis needs to pay for the hell they have put their investigators through since 07. It used to be a company about integrity and quality but the ol mighty dollar tainted their views. I feel bad for the current investigators but you had to see this coming for years. There has not been one positive thing that company has done for its investigative staff since the fleet cars. I hope the DOJ rips them apart not only because they deserve it but also to show OPM,CACI and KGS that forcing your investigators to their breaking point will not be tolerated. The days of quantity over quality are over!

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    Deflated and Disgusted,

    First off, 99% of all people couldn’t tell you who or what USIS is. The other 1% will have the utmost respect for the BI and doubly so for him or her to endure under the horrific conditions of the management. Look up, your next job or any job in the future will seem like a walk in the park. Trust me, people will be impressed and intrigued by your BI description on your resume. Your job as a BI has given you people skills and confidence that are not easy to come by and can be parlayed into other fields/job. It has given you time management and prioritizing skills few possess and can acquire. You express yourself well and it is clear from your writing you’re smart and intelligent. These things are invaluable.

    As Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than your job.” Change your mindset. Read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Billionaire Bill Farley lists Think and Grow Rich as his all-time top five books. Same with super-successful Mitt Romney who read it in high school and it guided him to success. Same with the founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, who “said that the motivational book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was one of the greatest foundations for inspiration growing up”

    Hang in there buddy. Things will get better. And then you’ll realize that you can only appreciate the view from the mountain top because you gazed up from the valley floor.

  5. Avatar


    Those were really kind and awesome words. They help those of us who have become desensitized to what could be out there as a result of what this job does to those of us who either do it or who have done that.

    That said, anyone know what’s going on with workload right now? I’ve been told that there’s no work anywhere industry wide by my bosses. This was confirmed in a conversation I had with an OPM agent I met at a court who said they have nothing. It’s now to the point where my hours for next week (at least) have been cut in half as have the hours of my colleagues in my area (I work in one of the consistently busiest areas in the country). And no, I don’t work for USIS.

  6. Avatar


    Thanks for the links and kind words. I truly believe that when another door closes another door opens. I don’t intend to stay in this industry for the rest of my life nor do I think this industry will be around for contractors by 2016 anyways.

    Problem is that I have given nearly 7 years of blood, sweat, and tears to an organization that sucks the life and blood out of you. They are like a vampire. And then to hear of contract fraud by greedy senior management and CEO’s and see the double standard of them constantly talking about how important of players that USIS are with “national security” is troubling and contradictory to say the least. I feel like anyone who gives years and years of their life in this industry is basically committing career suicide unless you can get on with OPM as an Agent and get to a GS12 or be able to use your experience to find a cross over job in intelligence or security at a govt. contractor or with the federal govt.

    Problem is that most of us including myself have tried to for years to leave and find better jobs but these skills we received as investigators do not seem to be transferable. I can speak for myself and many others in saying that we are not respected by many in what we do as we are glorified verifiers of information to the general public even though I do see myself as a Special Investigator. I hope one day that with God’s help and my own doing that I can be pulled out of this abyss and find a new line of employment that doesn’t suck every ounce of life out of me to perform to their expectations.

  7. Avatar

    T.W. Investigator-

    I have heard and of course in this industry usually things are only speculation that OPM Agents are getting a majority of the work now. USIS still gets a majority of the OPM contract-about 60 percent of the work that is given to contractors and then the rest is dispersed through KGS and CACI. I have heard (rumorville) that KGS is very low nationwide right now. I never hear much from the CACI folks. USIS laid off a bunch of people (7 to 8 percent of their workforce) at the end of December so they are probably staffed a little better now than any other competitors.

    That’s just my two bits and by no means do I see the trends or have concrete knowledge.

  8. Avatar

    I concur with Deflated and Disgusted. I have been with the company for almost 10 years. It took me a few days to digest what exactly the company had done. I was angered as both an employee and as a citizen of this great country. For nothing more than pure greed we as Investigators have been worked like slaves so upper management could collect a bonus. I just hope those involved in the acts described still have some of that bonus money so they can pay an attorney to keep their a** out of prison.

  9. Avatar

    Where IS the work? I would have assumed things would be picking up by now but it seems to be very, very slow right now. Scary slow.

    And what’s the deal with CACI converting their contractors to part timers?

  10. Avatar

    Between the shut down and budget just being passed I’m sure the work is there but just not released. I’d have to imagine that opm is scrambling to figure out how to divide the work up without using Usis at all. Remember the clearances and PR’s still need to be done. I have a feeling the flood gates will be open and we will be complaining about too much work soon enough.

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    Bye bye,
    So the budget has been passed? I hope your right on the flood gates opening. I work for KGS and its dead slow right now. Hours are reduced.

  12. Avatar

    So apparently there is transparency in the contract- each contracting company can see how much work others are getting. OPM doesn’t have a ton of work but are hoarding what they have (of course) but they are still releasing the majority of the work to USIS… I guess USIS convinced them they have changed. It’s pretty mind boggling actually.

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    That’s insane. Gimme a break. Despite the DOJ lawsuits and OPM’s own statements about USIS in lieu of it they are really that stupid to assume USIS won’t try it again? Unbelievable. I want a new job.

  14. Avatar

    Contractor & T.W. Investigator,

    I think neither OPM, nor DOJ, nor any Senators have any say-so in this matter. This article from The Washington Post (2/2/14) should give you a hint. It evens mentions Providence Equity Partners and USIS.

    Private-equity firms play major role in defense industry today

  15. Avatar

    So I guess USIS has lobbying firms on retainer that can convince the powers that be to release work to them. The smaller players don’t have the budget for lobbiests so they don’t get jack. What a strange, sad world we live in…

  16. Avatar

    So that’s why we haven’t gotten any raises in the last 3-4 years, company is too busing paying everyone else off!

  17. Avatar

    Lobbying is at the Congressional level. The stuff discussed in the WP article is way beyond that level. Lobbying would be as effective as a five-knot wind against an aircraft carrier.

  18. Avatar

    The smaller players don’t have the budget for lobbiests so they don’t get jack. What a strange, sad world we live in…

    This is not your dad’s world. This NYT article will be the scariest article you’ll read:

    The New York Times (2/2/14): The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World

  19. Avatar

    Just remember that anything coming from the Beltway has corruption attached to it. We know government is not perfect, but I have seen nothing like this in my life time. As long as the money flows, this same problem will continue.

    I really miss the old America, even with it’s imperfections. Those who are my age will know what I mean.

  20. Avatar

    Dang BW, how old are you??


  21. Avatar

    I really miss the old America, even with it’s imperfections. Those who are my age will know what I mean.

    BW, that America was middle class America. The middle class built America. I grew up in that America. Our fathers fought in the most ferocious battles in history, from Anzio to Okinawa, yet they never talked about it. They came home and started families. They worked hard long hours at the telephone company or the plant. They never bragged or talked about what they did or what they do. They never complained, except about the way things were going. They wanted their kids to be as excited about their purchase of the used, wood-paneled station wagon as they were. You never knew that one of your neighborhood buddy’s dad was in the Battle of the Bulge until you read it in his obituary decades later. He was just the laconic, sometimes gruff, dad who would help you and your buddy fix the wheel on a second-hand go-kart. Our moms were always there when we got home from school. They seemed to be able to do a million things. They had five kids and they never needed to go to parenting classes. They somehow were able to herd all the kids into the station wagon for church on Sunday. They were always there for school plays. They were good at letting kids be kids– for boys it was playing whiffle ball or building forts and for girls it was playing house or hopscotch. The fanciest vacation you got was a rented or borrowed trailer at a KOA campground. And the fanciest meal on vacation was sandwiches made by mom and if you were lucky some A & P store brand cola to wash it down. And you lived for the watered-down Tang in the morning. As kids we got hand-me-down clothes and we were never so thrilled and ecstatic by an article of clothing. Life was good.

  22. Avatar


    That’s the one–even up til the end of the 80’s. Folks seemed to have more pride and cared more.


    I’m so old, I forget 🙂

  23. Avatar


    I always thought the most depressing thing about being an OPM BI was unique perspective you get into the disintegrating social fabric of America. Neighbors who lived across from each other for ten years who don’t even know each other’s name, where they work, or whether they were married or just shacking up. Twenty-something professionals shacking up and me not knowing if it is still acceptable to address this as an issue. New federal government hires who barely speak English and I’m asking them the standard OPM bureaucratic-ease disclaimer questions that are inscrutable to me.

    That’s the one–even up til the end of the 80′s. Folks seemed to have more pride and cared more.

    On the micro level there were social realities that are discussed in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart and Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. On the macro level this is around the time we saw the emergence of mergers and acquisitions and the shyster-esque business of buying and selling businesses. Ninety years ago President Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business.” With the era of M & A and private equity firms the new mantra became, “The business of America is the buying and selling of businesses.” It has now become, “There is no business of America because all commodities are now merely global corporate interests and profits.” Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter said seventy years ago that capitalism’s demise will not come from inefficiency, or as Marx argued from exploitation of the masses, but from its high level of efficiency which will undermine its socio-political base. We are seeing this before our very eyes. Wall Street icon and chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley, Barton Biggs, has been spot on in predicting economic and financial trends. He has a very gloomy prediction of things in the near future. In 2008 in Wealth, War and Wisdom He wrote: “[A]ssume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure… Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food. It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson.” (Quotes taken from his Wikipedia page).

    Oh, and don’t blame me, I voted for Pat Buchanan.

  24. Avatar

    My higher-up dropped an interesting nugget about lack of work today. After saying nothing’s changed for us work-wise, he said everything we’re doing right now is under a microscope. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but could that be his way of saying the stuff going on with USIS is connected to this apparent industry-wide lack of work situation? Or have I now reached insanity status?

  25. Avatar

    My area is slow, finishing TDY this week and just found out going again next month.

  26. Avatar

    I think OPM (soon to be taken back by DSS) could still retain the high productivity and take advantage of the extensive backgrounds of investigators in the contractor ranks by simply taking over the command and control level of private contracting ops. Like the airports that have decided to go with private screening and not have TSA. TSA is still in charge of operations and TSA security directors oversee private screener ops. If OPM/DSS were to take this approach it would eliminate the problem that a for-profit devolves into while retaining the good parts of contractor work. And hopefully you could bring back experienced talent (promise and show them things have truly changed) and stop the hemorrhage of good investigators from the slave-driving tactics of private contractor companies.

  27. Avatar

    If the Feds don’t have work, and the contractors don’t have work (rumors of more furloughs abound), where the heck is the work??? It’s not like people don’t need clearances all of the sudden…

  28. Avatar

    I agree with Darrow. That DSS will take back investigations and sooner than anyone thinks. Also that the key is command and control.

  29. Avatar

    Welp, there is some news.

    “Today, I have directed that the background investigations quality review process conducted by OPM be fully federalized,” said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta in a statement. “Effective February 24, only federal employees will be conducting the final quality review before the investigative product is sent to the agency for review and adjudication.”

  30. Avatar

    It looks like there were only about 50 USIS employees that were performing final reviews along side the OPM review staff. Can’t believe they’re still undecided about whether or not to drop USIS. Also can’t believe that even with all this additional scrutiny, I’m still getting told by my manager that 3 attempts over the course of 5 days on a case with a CD next month is making adequate attempts.

  31. Avatar

    Something interesting just occurred. The President of the Investigations Division at USIS resigned today.

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    That is interesting.

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    Wall Street Journal posted details about the Snowdon background investigation. A news search under USIS will bring it up. Rumor is that the guy who resigned is the one who fired Blake pPercival

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    I also found out from contacts of mine that the President of the Investigations Division at USIS had been on suspension since the whole situation began.

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    Former Investigator,

    With the resignation that you referred to, should we expect to see additional “resignations” in the near future? There are Regional Directors and District Managers still at USIS that encouraged the behavior that is now in the spotlight. Hopefully they don’t move over to OPM or one the other contractors when the USIS ship sinks.

  36. Avatar

    Funny how one person (Source) can say they didn’t get advised of the privacy act and the whole life of that one single investigator is put under a microscope, but we all know the world would be an unsafe place without that good ole p/act. But, a few folks that make a mockery out of so-called national security simply get a slap on the hand.

    The silence is deafening.

  37. Avatar

    BW, I agree. Accidentally list an address wrong and suddenly you are explaining yourself to quality control, yet the entire company has been pushing things through unfinished? Doesn’t add up. FYI, USIS isn’t the only company who had a head honcho suddenly resign. The CEO of KGS resigned as well, saying he is going to remain on the board of directors but follow another career choice. It’s going to be scary if we don’t get work soon. I’m in the same boat with Deflated and Disgusted. No fed experience and no military. Having a degree and five years of experience as aninvestigator and a review analyst hasn’t even gotten me so much as an interview. I enjoy my job and I’m good at. Hopefully they see that there are some investigators out there with integrity, who aren’t just chasing the dollar.

  38. Avatar

    The KGS president left to follow his buddy back to the NYPD. Said buddy used to be a big wig at Usis years ago…..also deep in the NYPD prior.

  39. Avatar

    I work for “that company” and just got a notice about being eligible for COBRA. Guess I’m next – after years of service, awards, etc.

  40. Avatar

    All your twitter are belong to us!

    (Reuters) – The U.S. security clearance process that failed to flag former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden and the Washington Navy Yard shooter needs reforms as simple as letting investigators use the Internet and forcing local law enforcement to cooperate, a congressional report said on Tuesday.

  41. Avatar–sector.html

    Trawl the Net, says Congress report on U.S. security clearances

    The U.S. security clearance process… needs reforms as simple as letting investigators use the Internet and forcing local law enforcement to cooperate, a congressional report said on Tuesday.

    The report suggested federal investigators be allowed to tap tools ordinary Americans use to find out about a specific person: Facebook, Twitter and Google.

    The Office of Personnel Management’s Investigative Handbook, updated in 2007, places an almost blanket restriction on Internet use, it said, but social media and search sites “contain a treasure trove of information about their users”.

    [see address above for full article]

    Geez, ya think?!

    The Office of Personnel Management’s Investigative Handbook, updated in 2007

    This alone such be incontrovertible proof as to the astounding incompetency of this agency to handle security clearance investigations. When the updated 2007 handbook was issued Amazon hadn’t even issued the Kindle nor had Apple issued the iPhone. The iPad was three years away. While the handbook was been revised/updated Twitter was being founded and Facebook was opening to the general public.

    DSS, where are you?! Take the background investigation job back and let OPM go back to looking through KSA’s for key words to hire the best gubmint employees.

  42. Avatar

    “But criticism quickly turned to USIS when Cummings introduced a Democratic staff report that included information about USIS he said was not included in the Republican version.”

    So are Providence Equity’s lobbyists in Darrell Issa’s pockets? This industry will never be reformed.

  43. Avatar

    Geez, the current antiquated process is ridiculous enough without throwing in a new requirement to start searching back through each subjects individual social media junk! I get it, it only makes sense, but there’s not enough time to work an investigation properly as it is now, let alone when we start having to spend endless hours trolling through useless garbage! Like that will ever fly with the greedy b@st@rd for-profits like USIS, that seem to think this process can be forcibly moulded to an abbreviated factory process of making widgets!

    If the Govt really wants to be serious about fixing the background process, I’ve heard of a CIA officer who once remarked on what would be a very good start: “The worst mistake this country ever made, was passing the Privacy Act of 1974!”

    Take that stupid joke of an act off the table, make protected sources as admissible as normal ones and let sources speak freely and candidly without fear of repercussions from subjects, THEN we’ll start getting the straight skinny on whether a candidate really should or should not pass a background! Until then, we’ll just continue to sow what we reap.

  44. Avatar

    Here’s an excellent career possibility for young (29 and under) BI contractors out there as the BI field dries up..

    FAA seeks new air traffic controllers – no experience needed

    If you’re looking for a new career in the exciting field of aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration is now taking applications to for new air traffic controllers…

    The training school, located in Oklahoma City, includes 12 weeks of training…

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for air traffic controllers in 2012 was $122,530 a year, or $58.91 an hour.

    According to Forbes, the FAA is set to hire more than 10,000 controllers in the next 10 years, with more than half being hired in the next five years. The application process, beginning Tuesday on the USA Jobs website, is open until Feb. 24.

    The current job listing requires only United States citizenship, security clearance, a physical, a bachelor’s degree and a good handle of the English language. The applicants must able to attend the FAA training academy prior to their 31st birthday and willing to locate “to an air traffic facility based on the FAA’s highest needs at the time.”

  45. Avatar

    TW – listen to the hearing. Rep Cummings expressed his disappointment that his table of bonuses to USIS was not in the majority report and it was added with no objection. Not a big thing. Your are reading too much into this. The entire committee seems to agree on the reform of the process in a bipartisan effort with legislation introduced to include, among other matters, a requirement for a law enforcement agency to cooperate, currently 450 will not provide info. OPM director admits that it cannot do the job without contractors. Reps want to know if Altegrity is involved, that OPM fell down on the job, why OPM still uses USIS, why OPM doesn’t use social media or Google and why USIS is not suspended.

  46. Avatar

    legislation introduced to include, among other matters, a requirement for a law enforcement agency to cooperate, currently 450 will not provide info

    I thought this was already federal law? My suggestion is for all LAWE checks to be carried out by federal special agents–real ones, trained at FLETC, not the OPM unarmed sort-of-SA’s. And any LEO agency puts up the least bit of resistance the SA’s make call to D.C. and get a special FISA court-authorized order to release the records under federal criminal penalty and order the chief of police to appear before a special session of the nearest federal court within 12 hours to answer why he is interfering with a federal investigation. 100% compliance in days.

  47. Avatar

    Use the internet…insane. Half of the country rants about current political policies and the other half fear a government takeover. Who will decide who should be cleared? Social media is the last place to glean any good info unless you care about false stories and about where people are eating their damn dinners….etc….. This process is mundane, but not sure there will be any new process to replace it that is not just as mundane. History shows us, there are few spies and I still like to believe that most people do the right things. Seems to me that spying is squashed with a little and simple physical security. Disclaimer–just my damn opinion 🙂

  48. Avatar

    BW, I’m going to need your social media passwords.

    You know, to monitor your activities.


  49. Avatar

    Hold subject accountable for correctly filled out paperwork and you cut the BS we deal with by 50 percent. Toss the privacy act too

  50. Avatar

    The new Congressional bill– H.R. 4022 sponsored by Steve Lynch (D-MA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD)– seems to say that security clearance investigations are largely being insourced to Feds. And there will be a lot of streamlining of fieldwork.

    (10) require that, with respect to any background investigation activities, a Federal employee conducts—
    (A) any final quality or integrity assurance review conducted by an agency of a background investigation;
    (B) any interview of a covered individual with respect to a background investigation; and
    (C) any background investigation of a covered individual to determine the person’s eligibility for a security clearance at the Top Secret level or higher;

    (6) Covered individual
    The term covered individual means an individual, including any employee of an agency, member of the uniformed services, contractor of an agency, or individual employee of such a contractor, who—

    (A) is being considered by an agency for a security clearance; or
    (B) is a cleared individual.

  51. Avatar

    According to article 10 of this bill, the only thing a private contractor can do is personal interviews in BI clearances, records checks of BI clearances, and Med/Psych “interviews” in NACLC’s. Would a public trust/confidential case fit the definition of (6) (A) or (B)? Even if it doesn’t, it seems like there will not be much for private contractors to do.

  52. Avatar

    You can sign up to track the bill. For what it is worth according to the government the bill has a 10% chance of getting past committee and 5% chance of being enacted.

  53. Avatar

    Letting feds do the esi/spin interview is like not doing one at all.

  54. Avatar

    How cute.

  55. Avatar

    No offense but in almost 15 years on this job being interviewed 3 times and doing well over 20 source interviews by numerous agents……there is no comparison. If it were one or two agents I’d understand, but as many as I’ve been interviewed by its a trend.

    No company would survive doing only source interviews and records…….unless they turn it into a minimum wage job.

  56. Avatar


    When I worked as a BI it was pretty much a minimum wage job. I worked off the clock. I had to. They gave so much work with shorter deadlines. I felt majorly inadequate if not damn near retarded for not being able to do the work assigned within the deadlines. I rarely had contact with other investigators and from case messages and teleconferences I assumed everyone else was breezing through the work. It was a very depressing time in my life and my heart goes out to anyone who has to do it. And 95% of the stress was unnecessary BS due to the inefficient and backward system and artificial deadlines and company pushing through more and more work for greater and faster profits. Do away with deadlines, they are 95% of the cause of shoddy investigations (based on what OPM considers thorough). The other 5% is due to shoddy investigators working higher levels for more pay and quickly RT/UC-ing stuff for efficiency (expediency). Do away with deadlines. And if you keep the expected production levels the work will be done soon enough without intentionally pushing through stuff which requires a little more time (doctor or source on travel or out on family business).

  57. Avatar

    So duh, have you taken the time to voice your concerns to OPM?

  58. Avatar

    Fed Inv – Don’t take it personal. There are many BI working for contractors that have considerable more experience doing real investigation than most OPM S/A. Let’s agree that we are doing essentially the same job, under the same review, the same short deadlines and under the same rules. I too have done the ESI of 2 senior OPM S/A and have met and interviewed all the OPM S/A in my area. Good people but only 1 of the 4 has prior LE and 2 of the other 3 are former USIS. We know the Feb bureaucracy and it is naive to think that OPM is concerned about the opinion of a contractor. Like Harry Callahan said in Magnum Force “A man has to know his limitations.”

  59. Avatar

    You know, I’ve never said a bad word about a contractor and I exceed at my job.

    So when you want to paint all feds with a broad brush, I take it personally and get offended. There are both good and bad investigators, contractors and feds. I work damn hard, long nights, weekends, have the same frustrations as you but to come in here and see this crap, it really pisses me off.

    I wonder how you would feel if I came in here and told stories of my experiences with contract investigators, because after years of doing their backgrounds, I could say a whole lot. Should I paint all contract investigators with the same broad brush?

  60. Avatar

    I just call it like I’ve seen in and all my co workers have seen it……I’m sorry if you take offense.

  61. Avatar

    So now it’s you and all your coworkers.

    I see.

  62. Avatar

    I have not said anything bad about any OPM agent. Again, we are all doing essentially the same job with the same level of dedication and integrity. I would take the GS job in a heartbeat. It would be about a 50% raise, toss the company car that I pay $300 a month for and be protected from being fired without cause. I have seen co-workers fired for not putting in OT or not meeting quality by less than .5% (89.6 instead of 90) for a two month period. The common factor was that both had over 12 years with there company and were above the salary cap.

  63. Avatar

    I think we should all get together and start our own investigations company. We have so many thoughts and opinions on how this industry should be. I mean why not?

  64. Avatar

    You all suck at your jobs. Feds bad Contractors good. Contractors bad Feds good. Really!!!

    The process sucks, but I will say it again–there is no real better way to do these. Sometimes it’s just a reactive game we play, sometimes we get lucky and weed folks out. Either way, again, history has shown us very few people have hurt national security out of 10’s of millions. Snowden–come-on. He just reminded everyone what they should have already known by simply reading the newspaper or watching the news almost 4 years ago. Social media is more of a threat to national security.

    Fed we love ya man and or woman 🙂

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    I’ve actually given this some thought and it’s the reason I’ve kept interest in it. I’ve also considered developing apps to use. Gaps/overlaps/discrepancies in one activity and in relation to other activities is a big part of the ESI/Subj ROI. On complicated SSBIs, and even not so complicated, I used to sit down with a ruler and colored pencils and draw timelines on a piece of paper. I always thought it was crazy to be doing this in this day and age. There is need for an app where you could enter in dates of EMPL/EDUC/RESI/deployments/etc. and get a visual display where you could easily see any gaps or overlaps or something else requiring explaining. Instead of a mass of dates/addresses/names can create a holistic view of the case. This is the way the human mind understands and remembers (hippocampus and perirhinal cortex).

    And I’ve also thought of ROI writing apps that can scan handwritten notes, convert to text (ala MyScript app) and automatically plug into a finished ROI template. Necessary disclaimers can be added by clicking on a list of disclaimers on the toolbox on the margin of the app. And you can even set it on a PII edit mode (kind of like w/ Airplane Mode toggle) so it automatically converts any names/dates/SSN/addresses to generic names so you can work on reports at Starbucks. Once done you can un-toggle (password protected) and the real info is automatically plugged in.

    I’ve got a lot of other ideas I won’t bore you with. This stuff would save thousands of hours and could one day make the FT OPM contractor investigator a 40-hour-per-week job.

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    How can I contact you? I’d like to speak more about this. I’m in the beginning stages, but am serious about doing something. Let’s talk.

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    Unfortunately until OPM takes the “nationwide coverage” requirement out of the contract, there are going to be very few potential competitors. I know awhile ago there was an RFP for only the Fayetteville, NC area and I was shocked! But until they start doing that more, it would be very difficult to go up against the big boys…

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    The whole industry is in upheaval. The events of the past 7 months have changed everything. And apparently no one knows how things are going to shake out. We don’t know if the customer will be the customer in a year. Don’t want to build a buggy whip factory. Or more specifically, successfully create a competitor to Argenbright in early 2001.

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    BW, I wish I could quit you.


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    When I with the government I was interviewed by contractors and was impressed. These guys were retired S/A’s from USSS or FBI. When I had an interview with an OPM S/A he missed the first appointment. Nice enough guy though. When we did so the interview a week later he glossed over my foreign connections (foreign birth/relatives– both in Asia) with one or two questions. When I started working the OPM BI job I was puzzled as to how he could have written all the required disclaimers in his report. He must’ve written about six words of notes. How are they able to get away with this?!

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    Because the industry is in this situation is exactly why we should do something. If everything was going well, there would be no need to do anything.

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    Keypoint laid off a number of investigators this morning…

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    And demoted some, too…

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    From what I gather, 61 KeyPoint investigators were laid off today and an additional number (unknown) took a demotion in lieu of a layoff. Severance was a month’s pay.

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    Read an article yesterday that 9 managers were fired at USIS last week because the government was going to debar them due to their involvement in the flushing scandal.

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    KP contractor here…very nervous about the recent developments at KP. Anyone have any idea what the future holds for KP contractors?? Or for that matter, KP itself, as a company?

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    I bet management didn’t take a cut.

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    Wonders if KGS ask their high paid field managers to take a pay cut. Why aren’t FM’s being let go. Since there is a reduction in investigators, why would you still need the same amount of FM’s workload managers, ect.

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    Sad state of affairs for those of us depending on our jobs! It’s scary and depressing waiting for your number to come up.

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    If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the equity holding companies bail on the BI gig. after all, they already made tens-of-millions in profits on the backs of the FI staff. That is simply how they operate. I’m done as of Friday–fun meter is pegged and off to successfully (Hopefully) run my business.

    Don’t worry Fed I will occasionally stop in and give my usual uninformed opinions 🙂

    TX Investigator: I’ve been with KGS since 2005. My guess is, subs will become dinosaurs as they have no real control over them. It’s easier to hang careers over the heads of full-time staff.

    From this point on, I will be known as BW–clever huh?

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    BW, what advice would you give for someone in my position? My status with KGS is good, and I do this full-time, as a contractor…I continue to hang on for any info suggesting that the work will return to normal soon, or that it’s time to jump ship. The waiting game and suspense is horrible.

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    BW, running your own business? What are you going to be doing?

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    BW–I disagree with you regarding the benefits of a contractor vs fulltime Investigator force.

    Contractors cost the company nothing and allow for a flexible reaction to OPMs rather inconsistent regional workloads. Having a bunch of FTs on staff in area X when there is no work in area X do nothing but tear into the company’s profits unnecessarily. TDYing and relocating are also not very efficient. It’s best to have a large contractor work force that are on call and only work when needed. This is the most efficient way to generate profits especially since methinks the holding companies are about to bail.

    Will quality suffer? Maybe..the contractors are older retired types who are slow, but if a company replaces one full timer with 3 or 4 contractors the loss in control could me mitigated. Remember they make contractors pay for their own training and I would not be surprised if they billed USG for it or rolled the cost of contractor training into the fulltimer training…one line item instead of two.

    I would still keep a bare bones number of fulltimers on board to say how high when asked to jump though.

    the added benefit is that the company can say it has xxx number of trained investigators to qualify for a greater piece of the OPM pie.

    I think this has been in the works for a long time. In my midwest location they “hired” a bunch of contractors in teh last six to nine months…too many IMHO, but now that I look at it from Mitt’s eyes at a private equity firm it makes perfect sense.

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    TX INV:

    My logical assumption is that this clears the way for more work for you although not in a predictable fashion. The company has excised the dead weight and is now leaner and more efficient: the same pie with less hands trying to grab a slice.

    Contractors have been purging themselves during the last six months through attrition. if you rely on this money to eat you would have starved in November.

    My guess is that you will get surges of work at the end of the month and end of the quarter and be told to get it done ASAP. If you complain and whine they will give it to somebody else who understands the them get their bonus.

    The job will likely not be as relaxing as it was before. if you are flexible and adaptable and can work fast the contractor gig should still be in play.

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    The rumor mill is that is the first of many layoffs and demotions for KGS. I wish there was a way to know what is going on. I have read comments from the people at headquarters saying they don’t even know what is going on anymore. I am starting to feel like they are making it inevitable with all of their new stat metric systems. As management tells us to watch quality, reviewers are being told to kick back for anything and everything. So how can anyone get ahead if EVERY case they work on is getting reopened for minor, silly things (most of which were already in the case and the reviewer just overlooked it).

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    BW, good luck on all your endeavors!

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    Let me give a guess as to what is going on here. And it’s just an educated guess.

    The private BI game, even the OPM-FIS game, effectively ended in early June 2013 in an ODNI conference room at Liberty Crossing over in Tysons Corner. You can thank Snowden. Not long after this we saw the USAF pulling back on clearance investigations and then giving reasons for doing so that could’ve applied to the last 30 years. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the DNI is a retired USAF three-star and the USAF does the overwhelming bulk of the most sensitive national security work. I think we are seeing an incremental phasing out of the old BI game. The fact that everyone seems to be in the dark only gives credence to my guess it ultimately came down from ODNI. But the very top levels of the contractor companies have to have been given a “burn after reading” heads up. Does anyone know if any of the top-three people (CEO/CFO/COO) in the contractor companies is abruptly moving on? Wait for this to happen if my guess is correct.

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    Keypoint’s President and CEO recently left, as did at least one other upper management employee.

    This is such a weird contract right now. Apparently schedulings are down across the board. OPM isn’t hoarding the work but USIS is still getting the bulk of what is being released to the contractors, which is mind boggling to me.

    I just saw on LinkedIn that CACI is hiring Level 1 investigators for $15.80 per hour in the DC area (yes, that’s just a hair above the proposed minimum wage).

    Crazy, crazy contracting world right now.

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    Sounds like a classic retrograde operation. The smaller units (CACI and Keypoint) are being drawn down first.

    Look, to those BIs who’ve lost their job or will lose their job remember to keep your chin up and focus on the positive. We are coming into spring, a time of renewal. Enjoy the brief time off to decompress. Take a weekend trip to a Washington, D.C. Visit the WWII Memorial. Tour the museums. Sit on a park bench on the Mall and read an inspiring book. Plan and visualize to be sitting on that same park bench next year, next springtime, with a vastly better career and life.

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    Upon further contemplation, I think Darrow’s comments have a degree of verity to them although I would be a bit less dramatic. Something is definitely amiss and I think the result will be a complete realignment and reconfiguration of the current private BI game.

    It’s unfortunate, because the Investigators are overwhelmingly hard working and patriotic Americans who love our country and diligently perform their jobs. Moreover, the proposed changes are unlikely to produce sensible reforms to the BI process that will lead to a better product. What’s even more upsetting, is that the companies are being blamed for following the dictates and adhering to the contractual demands that the client has established. “The problem sir is with the instruction and not the result.”

    Here is what will occur–I worked on Wall Street for a while and saw a version of this play executed on a courier company: A series of successive cuts will occur companywide based upon increasingly difficult metrics as the private equity firms squeeze every ounce of profit they can out of the contract before the wheels fall off and they off load these bar babies. The workforce will be fearful and super motivated to achieve almost unachievable results. You think it’s bad now? Check this board in eight months and you will read tales of BIs working 70 hours a week and being paid for 40 trying to hold onto their jobs as benefits are reduced, 401k plans are slashed, and vacation days disappear. As I said, it’s classic PE playbook.
    Are the outside executives bailing? Not the through the ranks kind of folks, but the professional C-class? If so, it means that they are getting out before being associated with a defunct organization.

    The contractor contractors will naturally thin out and what force remains will get work inconsistently and will be used as kind of QRF to provide surge support when required.

    At times the work may appear to pick up, but the trend will be clear to anyone who has an excel spreadsheet.
    Ultimately, some form of the industry will remain. I can see DHS and other agencies relying on contractor contractors—as in not full-timers no overhead types—to complete their work. But the golden age of this gig is over.

    I hope I am wrong, but I would not bet on it.

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    Yep, Nachosauce, the private equity way is cruel. And it’s ironic that they use Mao’s philosophy, “Shoot ten, teach a thousand.”

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    I agree 100%. I think the good old days are long gone. USIS wants to convince everyone that nothing has changed, but that seems highly unlikely. Maybe they are attempting to earn as much money as possible in the final stretch.

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    They will need all the $ to pay the fines they are going to get.

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    Can you post a link to the story about the 9 managers fired last week by USIS?

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    I hope the best for every investigator. Some of the best people I have met have been here and doing this work. I hope my predictions are wrong, but I sadly think they will come to fruition real soon. If I owned a business as an equity holding company and I had already made millions and, my my exit strategy was to sell or fold after making a huge some of money–would I stay around, or, would I liquidate? Think about these questions and never stop looking for the next best thing. OPM, Congress, ODNI has essentially already told you what to do. The mass amount of folks cut are also whispering to you. Going forward, no contractors will be allowed to complete TS Backgrounds. That leaves MBI’s, which carry about a $20 profit margin.

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    One last thing. This process increase was in response to Post 9/11. The draw-down has begun. Folks who have been in the ME and military, especially Private Security Contractors have all been severely decimated. I will tell you as a retired military guy that, each branch, especially the USAF will go back to pre-9/11 days and folks will only be cleared by the billet they hold. That will include thousands or 10’s of thousands. Man, I feel like “scrooge” by saying this stuff, but folks need to understand the internal workings of the services.

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    BW, I appreciate your candor and wisdom. This job has been my only source of income, as I have worked appx 60 hours a week for the last seven years, and have done well. However my problem is that I now have no idea which direction to take my career next, as I am in my mid 50’s, with no pension or supplemental income. I must keep working, and when I look at the jobs on USAJobs, I don’t appear to “fit” into any of the specific molds, and the KSA’s make the application process tortuous. What direction would you recommend I go in? If possible, I would like to continue doing BI work, and am wondering if I stand any chance of getting on with one of the Fed agencies that will be doing these in the future, if it goes that way. It sounds like no more outsourcing, and that all BI’s will be done in-house. Won’t these agencies have to hire investigators to handle that workload? And if so, will each agency/company be doing their own, or is there any chance that OPM or one specific Fed agency will be tasked with handling the cases? Any enlightenment you, or anyone else here could share would be most appreciated!

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    Predictions of impending demise of the industry may be premature. It could be that a new manual is being devised which will detail new investigative standards and OPM has to have agencies bless it. That’s an ultimate CYA move.

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    I cannot believe how many prognosticators there are on this website whom think they know what is going to happen with this security clearance industry.

    The fact is that nobody really knows what will happen in the future and it’s all speculation unless they have an inside relationship with OPM or Katherine Archuleta. Things ebb and flow and are cyclic constantly in this industry.

    Here’s my opinion and it’s only an opinion and only speculation at best:

    1-USIS will slowly destroy themselves financially by making poor business decisions which has been the recurring theme for the last few years. After the civil law suit has been completed, USIS will get fined to the point of no return financially. They will either have to file bankruptcy or make decisions to demote employees or pay the field investigator less which will only infuriate the USIS employee even more.

    OPM cannot do this work without OPM and they are tied to USIS at the hip. USIS is OPM’s “big crutch” and USIS is so involved in everything they do to make OPM look good with Congress in regards to quality (except the dumping issues recently), timeliness, and overall production. Without USIS, OPM would be backlogged and a case would take a year to complete on most applicants like it did before. Because of this, OPM won’t debar USIS and will keep them on the contract for as long as possible unless Congress decides to put the FIS back into the hands of federal staff only which is possible but probably not until FY17 because USIS, KGS, and CACI are all on the contract through FY 16.

    2-KGS and CACI will continue to be small players in the BI world unless USIS completely goes under financially.

    3-All employees that continue in this career field as contractors or ind. contractors to OPM will be committing career suicide as eventually (perhaps even many years in the future), contractors will no longer be doing this job and those whom invested so much time into this career including myself will be without a job and very few places if any to go in the federal or government contractor sector. Good luck to you all. I’m in the same situation as all of you. This is just my opinion. I don’t think anyone should overreact and God bless you all and God bless America.

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    Did you just prognosticate?

    Like you, we also have opinions.

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    TX Investigator

    I’m hoping it works out. If you have made it seven years, you have more then proven your abilities as a great investigator. Start looking at Police Depts, state agencies….etc. I believe Texas (Assuming that’s where you are) uses a lot of BI folks to conduct their backgrounds vs using sworn officers. If you have made the cut, you may hang-out and see what the future holds. Start looking at other govt agencies like Consumer Protection and USDA. Also look-up Rosemond Recruiting in Austin, they contract free lance folks to work under a contract inspecting ag agencies and food producers. Another decent place is security at the federal bldgs.; usually pay about $25 per hour with benefits. Check with your area’s largest Private Investigative Agencies and apply. Your skills are sought after there as well and they can license you. On a last note, KGS has always been good to me and has recognized folks that work hard. Keep doing what you have been and hopefully it will work out. If you were not cut recently, you have been doing things right. I think if it becomes inherently government, they would have to hire. It surely doesn’t hurt your case if you keep performing well. You would be a good fit as they can simply hit the managers menu and pull your stats to prove you are the one they should hire. Good luck.

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    Thanks all for the input and advice. I previously worked as as SIU in the insurance industry, and considered going back to that, however it was very dangerous, as I frequently was assigned to neighborhoods that police don’t venture into without backup. These days, the situation is much worse, and I fear that as a female, at my age, my ability to scale fences and run for my life are long behind me. LOL.

    Joe, why would USIS be allowed to remain under contract with OPM until 2016, if they have already violated the terms of their contract? While I agree that OPM has indeed been tethered to them for the lion share of the work, I would not think that USIS would be allowed to continue working on this contract at all. I have been told that none of the Fed agencies are capable of assuming or absorbing USIS share of the work, and am curious where the funding will come from to hire the people at these agencies to do this.
    Thanks again for all the input and advice you guys offer here. These days, it is the closest thing to the truth I can rely on.

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    BW, I am a contractor with KGS, not an employee,which is why I made the cut on the recent RIF. You referred to stats being available to Gov agencies, and I’m wondering if those same stats are available on contractors? And if contract BI’s have the same chance as employees at getting in with one of the Gov agencies?

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    I would suggest you think about moving away from the investigation and security field entirely. To stay in a variant of this field will be defining and confining which will lead to feeling defeated and depressed. The investigation/security field is going the way of Soviet studies in the 1990’s. Parlay the people skills and resourcefulness skills developed as a contractor BI and think about something like sales of some kind or something else. I would suggest you use most of your free time and weekends to develop you. As Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than your job”. Read the standard professional development books to with a polished personal presentation. But mostly read and listen to all of the standard stuff people have credit with turning their lives around and making them a success. All the cheesy stuff it is easy to scoff at but which people in sales swear by. Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Og Mandino, Jim Rohn. Highly successful television producer, Mark Burnett, was featured in Success Magazine in August 2012. Burnett came the U.S. with no college education and no money. He was asked how he went from selling t-shirts on the beach to being the top television (now movie) producer. He simply stated that his life changed after listening to Tony Robbins. Steve Jobs (and Napoleon Hill) said we develop grooves in our minds, our habitual thinking patterns, which begin to define us and the key to success is to get outside these self-defeating and thus self-destining mental patterns. One way to do this is to change your focus. Another is to crowd them out. Most of the names I mentioned, Hill, Robbins, et al., do this. A lot of their audio programs (Robbins, Hill, Tracy, Rohn, Carnegie) can be found on Youtube. And has Youtube to MP3 freeware where can can listen to this stuff on your iPhone. Good luck.

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    Most people don’t have the “it” quality to be a business owner or live on a sales commission. It doesn’t matter how much self help books we read, very few if any will be able to start a business or parlay their skills into sales especially after all the time we have spent being fed by our companies and depending on them.

    Darrow- what are you doing now for a living now that you are out of the BI industry??

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    TX Investigator-

    to answer your questions-

    It remains to be seen if USIS will continue on the OPM contract through 2016 or even through the remainder of 2014. I could very well be wrong about USIS staying on the contract. A couple things you need to look at.

    USIS also does the entire support services contract….you know the types of duties on a case like case messaging, etc. on a case long before the case is even assigned to a FI. Without USIS doing this contract, OPM would have to ramp up their hiring with hundreds if not thousands of people for this contract. USIS would be difficult to replace in this regard. USIS also gets close to 60% of the contract share amongst all contractors and even OPM itself. It would take many months if not years to ramp up hiring amongst KGS and CACI to replace USIS if a debasement occurred. It would also cost each of these companies a lot of money to incur training costs, benefits costs, etc. that CACI and KGS may not be able to take on or handle or even want to. The costs over the years of performing BI’s has gone down each of the last two times the contract has been bid on because each contractor is underbidding the other.

    Until Congress and the powers that be decide that contractors are no longer involved in the BI process for security clearance investigations, I just think USIS will probably absorb huge monetary fines and penalties but be able to continue operating on the contract until OPM decides to make all employees that do this federal employees or perhaps even DOD is allowed to do their own investigations and form what was once known as DSS.

    It’s a very volatile industry right now and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start reading self help books like Darrow said and start networking with others for job opportunities completely outside of this industry as like I said I do think eventually possibly around 2016 or 2017, this BI world will look a lot different. I’m looking at going back to school and getting a different degree and education and actually specializing in something so I am more marketable. It really stinks because we are all in the same boat with a lot of uncertainty.

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    I agree most people don’t have the ability to be a entrepreneur or a dynamo in sales and most people don’t want that. I was just suggesting that each person has the ability to go quantum leaps beyond their current self and when they do opportunities will manifest themselves. And you only see those things when you’re in that position. Sort of like you see a whole lot of something after you own that something. No one has the same background and I’m not advocating anything in particular, even a sales career. I’m currently in the healthcare field and I can tell you while the stress is more– in a lot of ways– it is self-generated therefore empowering. I believe there is good stress and there is bad stress. The former makes you stronger and helps you grow while the latter is destructive and tears you down. E.g., like a good physical fitness routine versus the physical labor routine of a North Korean labor camp. Purposelessness and lack of control are the worst thing. I found that typified just about day of my previous job. I had to leave it before it destroyed me.

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    Who were you working for prior to your current career field? CCI, KGS, or USIS? Were you a salaried employee or ind. contractor?

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    I worked for more than one. When I left I was a salaried employee of the company that is in some trouble.

    A lot of these investigators looking to move on to another career should be optimistic. Most future employers will be intrigued and believe the BI job is more than it is, which is an advantage. And the further you get from the security/investigation field the more this will be the case. Think ahead. Look at the Malaysian airliner downing with reports of passengers with stolen European passports and think one thing: How can I get into the non-technical side of the soon to emerge bio-metrics security market? Where can I find out about any programs in this and what books to read to get up to speed? And remember, breaking into a field is 98% of the battle. Once you’re in just work harder than everyone else, be nice to everyone, and continue to be a voracious reader and remain current on the field.

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    When I emphasized non-technical, I was referring to those aspects of any future bio-metrics field which BI work would lend itself to–which there will be. Therefore, BI’s could parlay their experience there.

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    Thanks for the insight Darrow. Most of the battle with us FI’s is not knowing where to apply our skills. I’ve tried everything from counterintelligence and counterterrorism (which I never got one job interview or look) to the FBI and US Marshal Service a few years ago. Never got looked at by any of these desired career fields.

    I’ll definitely look into this biometrics non technical career field.

    Any other good ideas where an FI could parlay his skills into other emerging or already existing career fields??

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    There are limitless possibilities out there and you never know what will manifest itself once you change your focus and you become inspired. Change is inevitable, progress is optional. One of fashion designer Tim Gunn’s rules for life and career is to “Get inspired if it kills you!” How do you get inspired? Gunn says to, “Read a book. Go to a library. Go to a museum. See a movie. Have a conversation.” (Gunn’s Golden Rules, Gallery, 2011). In other words, get moving and do things and expand your world. I know this is annoyingly general, but it is axiomatic, the more you do the more you can do. And likewise, the more that opportunities that will present themselves to you.

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    TX Investigator

    Yes, your stats are available with one stroke of the keyboard.

    Joe Hackett: I spent most of my adult life working in a military career, which did not exactly lend itself to business, however, I worked towards a goal of opening my own business and have been successful at it to date. Like Darrow said, learn–take advice, listen to experts and anyone can do it. I’ll be fifty in a few months and decided “No risk–no reward” and voila, I work for me.

    I have no doubt that almost all investigators have the traits it takes to excel at many things and I agree with Darrow–get out of your comfort zone and give other things a try. After all, you have all demonstrated initiative, self-motivation, networking abilities, time management….etc… and each of you have been a salesman of sorts, just not in title.

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    In addition to everything that has been said, whatever job you work, whatever career you undertake, whatever you pursue in life you need to carry a message to Garcia. If you haven’t read Elbert Hubbard’s “A Message to Garcia” you really must. It is a little over two pages. It was written in 1899 and is based on a true story. Here a link to it:

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    After some bad news and dire predictions, this might be some good news for the individual contractor FI’s. The following news does seem to be an indicate that while the game appears to be changing– especially the players changing– it will remain largely private. FCi Federal which is currently a small player in the government BI game (but with expertise in this area), and one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies, has just hired on Jonathan Goldman as its Chief Growth Officer. Goldman was a Business Development executive at both KGS and USIS.

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    March 10, 2014
    US officials reportedly plan system to monitor behavior of workers with security clearances

    …Clapper provided lawmakers with few details but said the proposed system would extend “across the government,” drawing on “six or seven data streams.” Monitoring of employees at some agencies could begin as early as September and be fully operational across the government by September 2016. The price tag, Clapper conceded, “is going to be costly.”

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    I had another post that was caught in moderation limbo (too many html links?). This gist was that another up and coming FCi Federal is seeing blood in the water and looks to be making a play for for non-DoD BI contract work. They just hired on Jonathan Goldman as Chief Growth Officer. Goldman was a business development exec at both USIS and Keypoint. USIS and Keypoint cannot survive with the loss of DoD work. And neither company will be in a good position to compete with FCi Federal for DHS/non-DoD Fed work.

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    Never heard of FCi Federal. You think they are going to go after the BI contract with OPM? What makes you think the BI field will remain largely private??

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    I have no idea what’s coming. FCi Federal is a company that has gone from low seven figures to nine figures in six years and just hired on a former USIS and Keypoint business exec as its Chief Growth Officer. They are big into non-DoD contracting and my guess is that they will be in a strong position and will make a play for non-DoD BI work. After all, their competition will be decimated if DoD work is taken away or even severely curtailed (the latter is a given based in the remarks of Clapper in the second half of 2013). So, there will be contract BI work to be had, just not much of it relative to the last ten years.

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    When you look at the proposed changes it is clear that background investigators are obsolete. They are like the door-to-door hard-copy encyclopedia salesmen (though with an insane sales quota).

    Spies hunt for next Snowden in federal workers sweep

    “Current and former officials familiar with Clapper’s planning said the monitoring system will collect records from multiple sources of information about employees. They will use private credit agencies, law enforcement databases and threat lists, military and other government records, licenses, data services and public record repositories. During random spot checks, the system’s software will sift through the data to spot unusual behavior patterns.”

    This is the view of the contractor BI (from the article):

    “The Alexis case and the Snowden disclosures raised concerns about the flawed or inadequate work of outside contractors in background checks.”

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    Nice example idiots; A GS 12 driving a Jaguar is a red flag. These mindless statements is why folks do not trust govt. A GS 12 can make between 70 to 100K fools and, most carry military pensions.

    I can point out dozens of military folks making less than 20K who drive 50K sports cars, today, in the dorms. There are many sources, mostly savings and or family gifts. This is just one minor example of their ability to screw everything up.

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    I am very nervous regarding the latest security breach. I wonder if this is the nail in the coffin. Any thoughts?