Security Clearance Reciprocity

Posted by Kathleen Smith

At a recent briefing by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at the Government Technology & Services Coalition (GTSC), Charlie Sowell, ODNI Deputy Assistant Director, shared some of the efforts that ODNI is making toward enforcing security clearance reciprocity.

What Reciprocity

As many know within the security cleared community, clearances from one agency are not necessarily recognized by other agencies. This occurs even though Executive Order 13467 requires all Federal agencies to recognize security clearances granted by other agencies.

Security clearance reform is one of the ODNI directives. Tackling reciprocity is a big concern, as the lack of reciprocity costs the government valuable time and resources.

Security vs. Suitability

In determining reciprocity there are issues of security versus suitability. Security pertains to the individual being able to have access to national security information. Suitability pertains to the person’s suitability for employment.

Examples of suitability would be a candidate who works for one intelligence agency and who is being considered for a transfer to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). If the candidate has a firearm violation, that is a suitability issue for ATF.

Examples of security issues for non-reciprocity could be:

  • – You are cleared for a Secret clearance and the position requires a Top Secret,
  • – Your last investigation is older than 7 years and you hold a Top Secret,
  • – The position requires a different type of polygraph than you have taken in the past,
  • – The position you are being considered for has Special Access Program requirements, or
  • – Your existing clearance is only an interim or temporary clearance.

Even with the Executive Order and the acknowledged savings in government resources reciprocity would bring, agencies still do not adhere to this policy.

ONCIX Response

From the ONCIX web site, the Reciprocity Issue form is "coming soon"

ONCIX will be unveiling a response vehicle on its website “soon” to allow job seekers to submit examples of their clearances not being recognized by other agencies. The purpose of this process is to better understand the issues involved with non-reciprocity and support agencies in clearing these obstacles.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 7:00 am

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