Security Clearance Process

Security Clearance Reciprocity Challenges and Fixes

Many on this blog site have written about the challenges in getting security clearance information transferred and accepted by the gaining agency under reciprocity guidelines. Department of State, Homeland Security, and a few others seem to be the most troublesome despite clear guidance from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence directing Federal Government agencies to reciprocally honor security clearance decisions that meet the same level of access needed. The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) conducted an in-depth analysis on this issue and published a report outlining the obstacles and identified opportunities to overcome them. ClearanceJobs also had the opportunity to sit down with the authors of the report on clearance reciprocity to discuss their findings. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Administrative inefficiencies result in the loss $2 billion in labor costs in the Intelligence Community.
  • Delays in access result in much needed talent seeking jobs outside of the government that don’t require a clearance.
  • Agency-specific security policies add redundant requirements which cause delays.
  • Access to security clearance systems of record (Scattered Castles, JPAS, DISS, CVS) is extremely limited and causes a backlog for those responsible for verifying information.
  • Polygraph examination reviews and adjudications are not held to the same timeliness standards as background investigations.

INSA put forth recommendations to help alleviate these obstacles and improve the reciprocity verification and acceptance procedures. Here are some of the proposals:

  • Resource adjudicative and polygraph staff to an adequate level to meet a 30-day timeliness goal for processing current cleared personnel.
  • Harness available technology to increase efficiency and timeliness.
  • Provide contractors an interim “start work” process while verification is pending.
  • Require the DoDCAF to adjudicate all Tier 5 investigations to the TS/SCI level to prevent duplicating requests and processes.
  • Provide adjudicators read-only access to the various systems that hold security clearance records.

Hopefully the new Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency implements the recommendations when it stands up in October. This would definitely alleviate some of the frustrations currently experienced by clearance holders.