What’s Happening in the DoD World of Security Clearance Processing

Posted by Rob Riggins

Laura Hickman, Director of the Defense Security Service (DSS, aka the agency formerly known as DISCO) spoke at the recent annual meeting of the Chesapeake chapter of the National Classification Management Society, (NCMS aka the Society of Industrial Security Professionals).

NCMS is the professional organization for Facilities Security Officers.

Security Clearance Processing is Getting Faster

Initial and renewal security clearance processing timeframes are improving. You could almost call them fast, especially when you think back to where processing times were even two or three years ago. In the past several months at DSS it’s been about 4 days. In FY11 it was 24.1 days; FY12 7.9 days.

Two to three percent of all files at DSS are now electronically adjudicated. If a case is squeaky clean, it can be e-adjudicated, without being touched by human hands.

There Are Still Some Really Old Interim Clearances

There are 81 individuals who have had interim clearances for over 3 years. Over 1,000 cleared individuals have had an interim security clearance for over a year.

That sounds crazy until you realize that most of these folks are in theater. Guideline changes to limit interim clearance timeframes are in the works. More on that below.

Top 10 Reasons DSS Rejects an Investigation

The main reason for DSS to turn down a questionnaire is because the employment information for the sponsoring company is missing. That means that the individual only listed their previous employer. The list:

Top 10 Reasons OPM Rejects an Investigation

OPM’s number one reason for rejection is because the fingerprint cards were not submitted in 14 days. Although the policy is 14 days, supposedly OPM is being a little flexible with this timeframe on a case-by-case basis. The full list:

Policy and Process Changes

Some of the changes for security clearances that may be coming in the next few years are listed below. None of these changes are imminent.

1. Periodic reinvestigations will be accepted by DSS 90 days prior to the due date vs. the current 180.

2. Electronic fingerprints are DoD mandated by December 13, 2013. Currently 85% of fingerprints submitted to OPM are hard copy. Electronic fingerprints are good for 120 days.

3. Periodic reinvestigations for Secret security clearances will be every 5 years vs. the current 10 years.

4. Interim clearances will have a 12-month limit with a potential 6-month extension acceptable upon approval. Favorable fingerprints will be required as well before the interim clearance can be issued.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 5:40 pm

2 thoughts on “What’s Happening in the DoD World of Security Clearance Processing”

  1. Question: What are the rules for who has active DOD and SSBI clearances but needs to be reinstated to next employer?


  2. Virenda, if you have an active DoD SSBI then your new cleared facilities employer puts a request into JPAS and the new employer picks it up. However, that’s not something you want to do until your current employer is aware that you are leaving since JPAS will ping the current FSO.

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