Obtaining Security Clearance

This Week at OPM

According to the OPM Operational Goal Status for 2008, the following security investigation/clearance actions were scheduled to be completed on March 17, 2008:

1. Develop a tiered investigative efficiency model for suitability and security clearance investigations.

2. Develop requirements for expansion of Clearance Verification System as a single search system to increase utility of the data system across Government.

3. Explore alternatives for continuous monitoring of persons in positions of trust, assess potential regulation changes, and propose FAR language to GSA for continuous monitoring of contractors.

4.  Assess and recommend Executive Order language to extend suitability to excepted service employees and contractors with staff-like duties.

5.  Develop policy for reciprocity of all suitability decisions at any level of investigations.

6.  Develop policy for reciprocity of all suitability investigations at any level of a tiered investigative model.

It seems odd that OPM is busy considering changes (items 1, 2, and 3) to the existing clearance system when the existing system may be scrapped in its entirety within the next 12 months and replaced by a new system currently being designed by DOD and DNI.  The time to develop these changes was last fall when DOD and DNI asked for recommendations.  Items 4, 5, and 6 appear to be in direct response to the President’s 5 February 2008 memo on Security Clearances and its new mandate to integrate suitability and security clearance processing (something DOD and DNI should have seen the need for last fall).

Comment Archive

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    Consideration should be given to extend the inactive period from 2 years to 5 years. Many times it takes more than 2 years to find another job that require a clearance, add to that re-training or finishing up a degree. None of this seem to be given any consideration. Why does DOD not take this in their decision??? (Reply pls)

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    Public Trust i.e. do no harm during time between jobs. Security is association. What do you need a refrence?

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    Talk about total frustration. I have been waiting for a TS/SCI update since Novemeber 2005 (29 months) for a contract job overseas. I had an interview with an investigator from OPM last October 2007. My investigation was ‘closed’ on November 30, 2007. I was told by a friend that has access to the JPAS system that my clearance was waiting for “adjudication.” So, how long does “adjudication” take? Here is the kicker, I retired from DEA after 23 years of government service (including Army and CIA), and now must wait 29+ months for update adjudication??? What is going on??

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    Jim M:
    Something doesn’t sound right. According to current OMB and DNI policy, only people who have a clearance are put in for an “update” (in your case an SSBI-PR). If you can’t go to work because you don’t have a clearance, then you were put in for a new SSBI. If your request was based on the need for both TS clearance and SCI eligibility, DISCO/DOHA will not adjudicate (except for State Dept contractors). DISCO will send the case to the appropriate Intelligence Community (IC) agency for adjudication of SCI eligibility. If SCI is approved, it automatically makes you eligible for TS.

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    WH .. thanks for writing. I believe you are correct re new SSBI in my case. Unfortunately for me, my five-year SCI update with DEA was due at the time I retired in 2003 — bad timing on my part! As soon as DEA recognized I was about to retire they stopped the clearance update which meant for me that my TS/SCI became inactive sooner than most. With DEA, a security clearance is normally good for two years after you retire or quit – so I have been told. Back to “adjudication” .. so how long does this take? The contractor who submitted the SSBI info in Nov 2005 – like me – is still “waiting” for adjudication following the close of my investigation last Nov 2007. Do I have any recourse to find out what is going on??? This is like “crying in the wilderness.”

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    Jim M:
    There is no current data on average IC agency adjudication time and your case is probably being adjudicated for SCI eligibility at one of the IC agencies. If DISCO/DOHA was adjudicating, your FSO could ask for a status check after being in adjudication for 90 days. There must be someone he/she can contact the IC agency adjudication office. Two years for the investigation is bad; four months for adjudication is almost as bad. Ask your FSO to make an inquiry. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer and you don’t mind getting some people angry, contact your congressman’s office for assistance.

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    WH … again, thanks for your input .. I know you “feel the pain” of those of us caught in the bureaucracy and not knowing where to turn. With my background and experience I cannot figure why this is taking so long. Unbelievable!!

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    Several experienced contract investigators were unlawfully suspended for security concerns that were never proven, did not exist, which included a process to defame their characters; disrupting livelihoods; and were judged as a Federal Employees, which they were not.

    A contract investigator fighting an unjust claim of being unsuitable by OPM FISD, after working for some time in the industry commited suicide.

    The suspensions were conducted by Kathy Dillaman of OPM FISD, her staff to include those of USIS who were contracted by Dillaman to review the work of contract investigators.

    Contracting Companies conducting backgrounds for OPM FISD and other agencies for years QUIT the OPM FISD contract (MSM & Omnisec) which caused a loss of over 4 thousand contract investigators and knowledgeable staff, because of OPM FISD abuse of power…

    Those wrongfully accused of unproven criminal acts, made every effort to obtain proper due process, but OPM Officials failed in every sense of the word to provide fair and impartial justice, and purposely disregarded all responses and correspondence. The offices included: Director of OPM; OPM Inspector General; OPM FISD and the OPM General Counsel.

    Dillaman, Director of OPM FISD purposely delays all inquiries against her, and her office, by ignoring all requests and appeals, which in it self is the route to the delays of security backgrounds. All those of OPM FISD had deliberately ignored our Constitutional and Federal Laws, Regulations and OPM Notices. Even the OPM General Counsel’s Office to include the OPM IG ignored all responses for a request of due process.

    OPM FISD continuous deception and delays, is an endless road. The lack of fair and impartial justice not given and abuse of power, by those within OPM is the real reason for the backlog. Those great man and woman, with extensive experience, that have been conducting security backgrounds for years, under contract, are leaving the business, because of Dillaman and her staff’s unethical practices of abuse and injustice..

    There are people in the business that can correct the backlog of security backgrounds in months, but because of the reputation of injustice and abuse of power, to include deception of OPM FISD, it will never be corrected.

    This country depends on our soldiers and agents in the field, to protect us. Since the 80’s those soldiers and agents continued after retirement, as contract investigators, conducting Security Background Investigations for little money and got the job done, out of patriotism, and loyalty, but now we have those that are greedy, incompetent running our country’s security, like OPM FISD who has over 90% of the Security Background Investigative duties and can’t get it done – we deserve everything we get, if this country and those in our government don’t wakeup NOW.

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    W Henderson … since your last note above, 1 April .. I had a friend in the contracting business check JPAS again .. low and behold … finally after 30+ months my TS clearance was finally adjudicated and activated on 5 March 2008. Now, I am still waiting to hear if I have a job offer after all this time.

    Again, thanks for your input!! JM

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    I have a question. I am a contractor and I was given my DOD TS/SCI on Oct. 2001. I have since been working as a contractor but recently found out that CIA gave special consideration for me to stay in my billet without submitting me for a PR. I did not find this out until I went to go on a DOD contract. Now I am in the process of waiting for this to be adjudicated so I can start work at the new company. Has this system failed me? I have been out of work for the last two months because I am unable to do my job without the clearance. Is there anything I can do. I have had my interview with the investigators and everything and they have spoke with my previous employers but I’m still in limbo waiting on them to say yes I can bill hours to the office of naval intelligence contract.

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    would like to know how far the go back for security clearance .


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    Take a look at the following PDF, it should answer all your basic security clearance questions.


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    I have a current DISCO TS. I want to start working in nuke plants. I understand reciprocity but how is it implemented? How does one have his clearance transfered? What do I tell my employer to bypass the initiating of a new clearance?

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    I recently attended the opm two week training class to become a contract background investigator and failed the class. I later heard there is a 50% failure rate for this class. I’m a petty smart guy and failing this class really hurt my pride. I would Just like hear other thoughts.