Background Investigations

Security Clearance Investigators

Seems like a lot of OPM and contract investigators are interested in posting their experiences in the field and getting work. While there are a number of comments in other threads, we wanted to start a new one specifically devoted to these folks. Thanks!

Comment Archive

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    I have a question regarding obtaining a waiver. i have a ts clearance and have a pending job, however, my employer doesn’t have a cleared facility and can’t hold my clearance. is there a way that they (my employer) can request a waiver and i can start work while they get an interim clearance?

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    Where do they get the people who perform the investigations?
    I had a very bad experience with my initial done by a very inexperienced USIS contractor. However, in the middle of my BI she was replaced with a more experienced and more professional Investigator and within one month my case was completed.

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    I am becoming a Background Investigator. Can you tell me tools that I must have in order to be most efficient? Also, what organizations can I join to be active and aware about this industry along with how I contact them? Any advice about being a background investigator?


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    Some contract investigators are former government (local, state, federal, military) investigators. Some are hired based a college degree and no experience. A few years ago that USIS trained new investigators (including those without any prior investigative experience) using an internet web-based training program. Now, all contract investigators must complete a standardized training course of three or four weeks in a classroom setting. There are exceptions for former/retired OPM FISD investigators. Federal investigators are generally required to go through a period of supervised OJT, then formal classroom training, more OJT, then an extended period of mentoring. Sometimes it’s really tough to train a new investigator (without any prior experience) properly. Say you need someone in Butte, Montana, but the only applicants are people without investigative experience. The closest supervisor or coworker will probably be at least 200 miles away. That kind of limits the amount of close supervision and mentoring a new investigator receives during his/her first year.

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    I think many of the questions you have been asking will be answered when you attend the basic special investigator course for background investigators. Since you have no prior federal investigative experience, your employer must send you to this training before you can do any government investigations. There is an association of contract background investigators known as ACBI. Their website is at

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    Hi William,
    I live in Colorado Springs and have over 12 yrs experience as a government contractor working in classified areas.
    Your blog mentioned you are becoming a background investigator. Can you tell me how you got the training, online/website etc. I also would like to become the same based on my skills and experience.
    Thanks for your response.

    James Robinson

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    I need help getting my clearance back after

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    Sorry about that William. I was trying to contact Mike
    that had his post above yours. But, I’m new to this and don’t know how to make the contacts.

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    James Robinson:

    The next time you post a reply here, please enter your own name in the box labeled: “Name (required)”

    William Henderson

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    I previously posted on this blog earlier in the year but got a new computer and forgot to put this site on my favorites on my new computer. For those of you who have not read my previous posts I have 5 years experience in background investigations. For anyone who is interested in becoming a background investigator it is a tough job at first. It takes most investigators anywhere from 12 months to 16 months before they feel comfortable in what they are doing. You do go through classroom training and then OJT but it still takes time. If you get a good OJT trainer it helps out significantly. Do not give up if you do not get the “hang of it” with in 6 months. It is an on going learning process. Even with 5 years under my belt OPM makes changes constantly and I am always having to learn new things.

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    I am interested in becoming an Investigator with the govt but every time I apply they infer that I just dont have the experience they are looking for. I currently work for the govt and have a MS degree and some work experience. I am currently in a mid-mgmt position. I hold a TS+ clearance and have been a DOD contractor. However, I usually see fresh out of college students or retirees in this position. I dont know how I can gain experience in this field if no one will hire me or give me a chance. Also I make more now in my current position then the OPM Investigator position starts out at and wondered if that was the problem. Are there similiar govt positions that I can pursue which will help gain the experience that I need to become an Investigator?

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    OPM is getting somewhat picky when it comes to new hires. Because there are so many contract background investigators who want to work directly for OPM, OPM has been hiring primarily USIS investigators with at least a few years of experience and high productivity figures. OPM then saves time and money by not having to train and mentor them. They also get someone who closes a lot of cases quickly.

    There are GS-1811 (criminal investigator) positions at the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at most federal agencies and at some major investigative agencies (Air Force OSI, NCIS, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, DHS, etc) for which people without prior experience can qualify.

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    I am retiring as a LEO in Virginia, have a TS with DoD and am looking for background investigator work. Can anyone tell me who OPM contracts to in addition to USIS? Any suggestions for a beginning job seeker. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a resume or interviewed for a position.

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    Kroll, CACI, and Omniplex are some other contract background investigation companies. From what I understand Kroll and CACI work on the OPM contract but Omniplex has decided to no longer work on it. They have other contracts though. The best thing to do is to check out their websites.
    Also USIS does not just work on the OPM contract. They have other contracts too including one that deals with the background investigations for local law enforcement agencies.

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    I came across this site this morning. I have a question. I held a a secret clearance while on active duty. I recently got out and received a tenative offer to work for DOJ but I need to get a interim TS in order to start working for them.

    I recently went through a horrible divorce and ended up filing bankruptcy. Before the bankruptcy I had perfect credit.

    My question is when going for an interim clearance will having a recent bankruptcy automatically disqualify me for the interim or do they look at the mitigating factors when trying to qualify you for an interim. I have nothing else in my history to disqualify me just the bankruptcy.

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    I am a recently retired AFOSI Special Agent and I am looking for work as a contract background investigator. I am interested in finding out what companies have government contracts and contact information for those companies (email, phone number etc.). Thanks in advance.

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    Anyone know what’s going on with OPM holding it’s investigator’s clearances in CVS (clearance verification system)? I am a current OPM investigator and am having trouble with prospective employers verifying my clearance as I am not in JPAS. This is despite having gone through the SSBI and dealing with clearances everyday.

    Seriously Frustrated…


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    CVS, the new investigation and clearance database that is suppose to replace SII, DCII, and Scattered Castles, was mandated by the Title III of the IRTPA. Your clearance data is where it should be. The real question is why don’t the prospective employers you are dealing with have access to it?

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    Yes, they will look at mitigating factors, but only those factors you present to them.

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    Mr. Henderson-

    Thank you for your response. The trouble that I’m having is that government contractors either have never heard of CVS or don’t have access to it. Would government contractors have access to CVS or is this a government only accessible system?

    Thanks for your help,


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    If the contractor FSO has JPAS/JCAV access, he should be able to find your clearance info. There is a bridge between JPAS and SII, and I believe that CVS is integrated into it, so the FSO may not be able to distinguish the difference between SII and CVS. The problem may be with your personal file, not CVS/SII access. When all else fails, they can try faxing a request to OPM to verify your clearance.

    Once the contractor’s FSO receives the verification letter from OPM and hires you (or agrees to hire you), the FSO generates an RRU to DISCO requesting the investigation performed by OPM and adjudicated by OPM be reviewed for an Industrial Clearance. The FSO should cite the investigation type and date closed as well as the OPM clearance and date granted and Industrial Clearance level requested.

    The FSO should follow up the RRU with a phone call to the DISCO Help Desk and explain the request to the Customer Service Rep. The CSR will probably ask the FSO to fax the letter from OPM to his/her attention so that they can “write up” the RRU and attach the FAX. This also, conveniently, gets the RRU on the “top of the stack.”

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    Mr. Henderson-

    Thank you for the informative information. Your insight and information goes well above the little information I’ve been given by my supervisors and security people. Can you tell me approximately how long the RRU process takes? I’ve heard one to four months. Is this correct or is the process quicker?

    Thank you,


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    I have heard that it takes two to eight weeks, but it changes all the time. I believe that once DISCO verifies the clearance data, they will populate JPAS with your clearance info, then the contractor FSO will get an Eligibility Change notice thru JPAS as the owning SMO.

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    I recentley had a secret intrim clearance my investigation was almost finish when i left the company
    from what the fso told me it was in a hold pattern. after resubmitting for a intrim with the same company
    i was told that resubmitting was not necessary so now im in limbo dont know if there will be a investigation to finish it or not . my fso faxed what was needed about 1 week ago and i have yet heard from anyone about the status . is there something i can do to expedite it as i will loose my positon if its not back soon. i for got to mention i was called by a investigator who then in formed me that the same company had terminated it after the contract was finish. just confused i guess but any info you can provide will be help full

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    I’m currently a background investigator with USIS. I have been w/the company for 3 years and I”m looking to do something slightly different. I have a BA in Criminal Justice. I was thinking of applying to be a criminal investigator for the federal government but don’t know if i’d be qualified to do so.

    Any suggestions on what I could pursue?

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    Go to and query series numbers. Enter 1810 and enter. Also, enter 1811. These are the Crim Investigators. 1801 will give you info on jobs similar to your USIS background.

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    Did you never get your answer on where to look for jobs?

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    Unfortunately I’ve only found contacts for Kroll, Omnisec and MSM. Still seeking contact info for others (BIC’s, CACI & others). Anyone?

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    I’m former Air Force and now am looking for a job possibly as a background investigator. What is the best way to break into that careerfield? I’m currently living in New York City and hope to stay in this area. Are there any government agencies around in this area that are seeking background investigators, or contract investigators? How do I find them?

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    What are the different pay scales between CACI, Kroll, USIS, etc. as a background investigator? Do they vary at are? Are they comparable?

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    Kroll and USIS have the most work. What area are you interested in? With your background, I would think you will get a bite. I retired and spent the bulk of my career as SFS Inv. Got a hit on the resume fairly quickly, but it was in 2005 when work was peaking.

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    Depends on case types you work. They vary somewhat but overall pretty close to the same.

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    Bets way to break-in as a sub is to have an investigative background. What was your AFSC? New York city has work, but a tough place to work this job. Check USIS, Kroll, CACI and MSM Security Services.

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    I’m prior military and have about 10 yrs of civilian law enforcement experience, 2 yrs of which was as an 1811 for the US DOT Inspector General. I’m no longer an 1811 or a gov’t employee but am interested in becoming a background investigator and am wondering where to begin searching. I’ve looked through the websites for Kroll, USIS and Mantech but there never seems to be anything available? I’m located in the midwest and have no issue traveling but need to get my foot in the door somewhere. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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    Where in the midwest? A lot of where you are located plays a big part in the hiring. If you feel comfortable telling me, I may be able to steer you better as I am in the Midwest to. Drop your resume on the sites even though no location is shown. Place your willingness to travel as well.

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    I currently live in Omaha, NE and will be moving to West Des Moines, IA after the first of the year when my husband retires. I’ve lived in Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri, and Wisconsin as well so know my way around the Midwest very well. My previous investigative jobs required extensive travel so I’m use to it and would actual welcome the opportunity again. I’ve been watching a few websites but it’s a little depressing. Not sure if it’s the time of year or there just isn’t much out there because I don’t have a clearance anymore? I would appreciate any help or advice you could provide. Thank you in advance!

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    In Bellevue. I will see what’s going on in W Des Moines. Not alot of work in that area, but the Air Guard Base may give you a little as well as other ANG/Reserve sites. Offutt is obviously busy. Also check with agencies and see what they have available on the CPB contract.

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    so, if i have a contract with say kroll working on the OPM contract, once the investigation is completed for the clearance, does it still have to go somewhere i.e. (DOD for a DOD contract)or is it done since it is for the OPM contract?

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    I have a TS/SCI and was doing work for the CIA/ODNI before I moved to New York City. Was curious about doing cleared work in the city or surrounding area and what is the best way to find these jobs.

    Thank you.

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    Does anyone know what is going on at USIS in terms of hiring investigators? I used to work for USIS as an investigator but left about 3.5 years ago for an opportunity I wish I did not take. I applied again and was given a conditional offer back in June. I have been told that they are in the process of re-evaluation business distrcit needs and will not be bringing anyone aboard for training until this is done, but they don’t know when this will be and can’t guarantee the hiring location either. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


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    Not heard anything–take a look at Kroll.

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    Thanks…I checked them out but nothing in my area.

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    Drop a resume anyway. Sometimes the site is not updated. Check and for Background Investigators.

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    I have previous law enforcement experience. Where can I apply to become a security clearance background investigator.

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    Try Kroll, USIS, Omnisec, MSM Security Services and CACI. Look for either OPM or CBP Background Investigators and apply for both–you can work more than one contract at a time. Also go to and juju job search engines under Background Investigators. Also, when submitting highlight more investigative work vs patrol work. This will catch their eyes quicker. Good luck.

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    Is it possible for a Contract Investigator to bid directly from OPM? i.e. becoming a mini kroll or mini usis…and attempting to do bckground investigations?

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    Anything is possible, but you will need alot more than the idea–you would need a bunch of employees, financing, business plan etc…. Don’t know if you are in the business, but the process is no simple one. You can, however become an Independent contractor for Kroll and USIS. You operate your own business from home, under the contract from the companies.

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    I currently hold a DOD TS and have considered becoming an investigator. I have held various clearances over the last 20 years and participated in my own interviews as well as colleagues over the years. How do I become an investigator? Must I join the Government first and work or can I go to a class and receive OJT from a contractor?

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    If you are planning on becoming an independent contractor, you will need a background in the investigative realm and normally a degree as well. A full time employee must usually have a degree and or experience. You can apply at a contract company and they will train you. No need to be a government employee first–all of our training is similar and approved by OPM.

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    All Investigators here

    Your thoughts? In my opinion, our line of work will see a marked drop in cases soon. As soon as the next President is sworn in, I think the industry will take a hit especially if they start spending freezes as promised. This is not a political statement as I believed this of both candidates. Tell me what you think and what anyone has heard.

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    I had a security clearance background check last year for a TS, and my clearance is in ajudication, the jobs that I have applied for will not transfer my clearance which is really putting me in a bind, not able to get a job with most Gov organization.
    Is there anything I can do with my clearance at this point?

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    Post this question to “Ask your clearance questions” Part 15. You will be more likely to get a more informed answer from folks on that board.

    I’m guessing they will not transfer because it has not been adjudicated. Once that is done, I’m betting you will have no troubles. I am no expert in adjudications or transferring, so post as I said. Good luck.

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    As you can see from my posts in the other thread, we (contractors) are already seeing a drop in cases. I currently only perform work for one company and there are rumors that the company is losing/ has lost or has a significantly diminished share of the OPM contract. We were told that the “lull” was due to the start of the fiscal year (which doesn’t make any sense). There are other companies in my area that are hiring contractors like crazy, so that fuels the speculation that my company is stumbling.

    In regards to your speculation that the money may start to be frozen, I agree with you on that. However, in regards to at least the coming year, aren’t budgets approved at least one year in advance? If so, there should really be no impact until, at the very earliest, FY10?

    I think that, as evidence by the eAdjudication process that has been revealed, that it is more likely that we still start seeing some of our processes automated. resulting in less need for us. What do you think?

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    Contract Investigator,

    Having served 20 years in the military, I can tell you any budget can be frozen at any time. Try not to worry, every company in this game we play will stumble at one point–not sure of the exact causes, but that is fact. If your work is drying up, maybe you should jump on another contract. I worked 2 contracts for 2 years and it worked out pretty good for the most part. This whole automated process in my opinion is doom to fail. A computer can just not tell the whole picture. Just think of how much info you have uncovered during interviews. I’m sorry to say, but I think you are dead-on–our services in the near future will be greatly diminished. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky only because I am a full-timer and get the work first. Now, if the promise is kept, the Armed Forces will grow, which is to our benefit. Even if things get consolidated, we should be safe. We are some of the hardest employees to replace with the amount of time it takes to get an investigator up and running.

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    Contract Investigator,

    Forgot to add the this new electronic deal. I believe the amount of “Clean Cases” is relatively low. This process will soon become a vehicle for people to “Stretch” the truth after finding out if you don’t list anything negative you will be cleared automatically. Even good people will be making bad decisions. Of course my opinion.

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    If your looking to start a mini kroll put a message out on under USIS. A long time ago USIS took FIS investigators and started USIS. A lot of good investigators from USIS have been laid off recently. USIS is hacking down the high paid investigators.

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    If you need info on what USIS is doing go to, type in USIS.

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    I have someone that is an independent contractor and has an active clearance in JPAS. He can not get his clearance passed to any facilities for independent work because he doesn’t have a SMO with his clearance under their cage code. What can this person do to be able to get his clearances passed to contracting agencies? Is there an FSO that can hold clearances for people who are independent? No one else seems to be able to answer the question for him. What can he do? Thanks!

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    I am going through the TS/SCI (With Yankee White) identifier interview. Based on my reading, the personal interview is done after the initial field portion (where investigator talks to people you listed on SF-86), but I am scheduled for the personal interview next week, BEFORE the field investigation. What would be the reason for this? My credit is excellent; no criminal record, etc. NOTHING fishy about my past that would raise a red flag. Any reason why the interview would be first?

    Also, the investigator asked that I bring my cell phone to the interview. Is this to simply get contact information for someone if they ask for it, or will this interviewer want to look through my phone? (There’s nothing on the phone that would be incriminating at all).

    Just wondering…Thank you

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      Didn’t load right: Sounds like your case is sailing along in speedy fashion, and you are complaining? Most should only be so lucky. Your interview does not have to wait until the rest of the case is done, they will contact you again if questions or concerns arise that need clarification. No investigator is authorized to look through your phone, but they may ask your additional references not listed on the form to contact to solicit other independent contacts.

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    Sounds like your case is sailing along in speedy fashion, and you are complaining? Most should only be so lucky. Your interview does not have to wait until the rest of the case is done, they will contact you again if questions or concerns arise that need clarification. No investigator is authorized to look through your phone, but they may ask your additional references not listed on the form to contact to solicit other independent contacts.