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Security Clearance

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information. Those trying to get a clearance may have questions such as how does one go about attaining a clearance? And, what are the different levels? As well as other questions. This area will allow those that have clearances offer advice and suggestions to those inquiring about clearances or upgrading their clearances.

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BARRBW  
#1 Posted : Thursday, December 02, 2010 9:12:22 PM(UTC)
BARRBW

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Hello, I am in the process of getting my clearance for a contractor BI job however, I was told I would be given a SSBI insteadof a TS.  Specificaly I was told "the SSBI investigation is the TS investigation. Once you receive your Final Favorable on your SSBI then that will mean your investigation is complete however, this will mean you have been adjudicated to a TS not that you will be granted a TS.  The only real difference is a piece of paper but you will only be granted the actual TS clearance if it is needed in your area to do your job. "   My question is, does this set me back as I already have an active clearance.  I really want to take the job, even at the pay cut, however, my fail-safe in case the job doesn't work out is I would have a TS/SSBI.  This doesn't seem to be the case.   Thanks for any information concerning the clearance or working as a Contract Background Investigator. 
Knight  
#2 Posted : Thursday, December 02, 2010 9:52:19 PM(UTC)
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This is how I see it. To get clearance you need a background check but you can have a background check without having an active clearance. I had an SSBI and could go up to TS for decades but depending on the job and the classic "need to know" I sometimes only had a Secret level.
 
If you don't get the job the SSBI will be usefull but you won't have an "active" TS. You have the potentual to go to TS.
soon2bfed  
#3 Posted : Friday, December 03, 2010 1:11:22 AM(UTC)
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Based on the research on this site, I think you can still "use/transfer" the favorable adjudication to TS for other jobs that require TS, when/if things go south for your original contractor BI job.
 
Experts, pls correct me if I'm wrong.
Kerynem  
#4 Posted : Friday, December 03, 2010 1:59:18 AM(UTC)
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soon2bfed is correct. The SSBI is the background investigation that get's you the eligibility for the TS. Once this process is done, you can be adjudicated (or read on) for your TS when necessary to perform your duties. I had an SSBI done for a TS by one organization but was only working in a Secret facility so there was no reason for me to be read on for the TS. When I started with another organization, I was going to be dealing with TS information, so I was read on for the TS.
recentGrad22  
#5 Posted : Friday, December 03, 2010 6:21:31 AM(UTC)
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There are three steps to getting a security clearance: the background investigation, the adjudication, and being read on to a program with a need to know.  If your SSBI has been favorably adjudicated for a TS clearance within the past two years and it is not time for a PR, but you have not done any TS work, then your clearance is current and you can be read on to TS programs, when necessary.  After two years from the date of adjudication, you would most likely need a new SSBI in order to get TS access.
BARRBW  
#6 Posted : Friday, December 03, 2010 10:59:51 AM(UTC)
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Very useful information, thanks.  In your expert opinion(s) how would I put it my clearance status on my resume and do you think I'd be able to apply (DoD/DoS) position (or contractor) as having a Active SSBI -TS cleared?  In case I didn't say it, I have a current Secret and I work OCONUS as a civilian contractor.  The job will be a huge pay-cut but it's the type of work I like to do.  I just want to be in a better position, clearance wise, in case things don't work out.

BackGdInvestigator  
#7 Posted : Monday, December 06, 2010 1:52:20 AM(UTC)
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You can put down that you had an SSBI from (month/year) which would tell the knowledgeable reader that you were the subject of a SSBI and could be TS eligible.
*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
BARRBW  
#8 Posted : Monday, December 06, 2010 1:53:58 PM(UTC)
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Thanks Background.  You wouldn't happen to know anything about KeyPoint would you?  I'm starting off at a Level 1 and I'm just wondering if you can move up the chain, salary wise, in a year or two's time.  I would just like to get to a decent salary position 40-50k, I believe it starts at 36k.  Do you think the OPM Contractor jobs will be around for a while?  I'm just looking for a sembalance of security of the job.  OCONUS jobs are what they are and the majority will mostly end in a year or so. Thanks for your insight.
BackGdInvestigator  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, December 07, 2010 7:31:35 AM(UTC)
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Key Point GS is one of our competitors - though they have a small share of the pie - they are the third largest provider of BIs for OPM.

I do not know the contract specifics for the OCONUS positions, USIS decided not to enter that market (leaving the door open for Key Point) and normally OPM has been sending their folks overseas.

The OPM contract comes up for rebid in Summer 2011. I really don't think there is going to be much of a change in the landscape for USIS, OPM, or Key Point.

*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
Spaceshot  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, December 08, 2010 6:39:21 PM(UTC)
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BARRBW wrote:
Hello, I am in the process of getting my clearance for a contractor BI job however, I was told I would be given a SSBI insteadof a TS.  Specificaly I was told "the SSBI investigation is the TS investigation. Once you receive your Final Favorable on your SSBI then that will mean your investigation is complete however, this will mean you have been adjudicated to a TS not that you will be granted a TS.  The only real difference is a piece of paper but you will only be granted the actual TS clearance if it is needed in your area to do your job. "   My question is, does this set me back as I already have an active clearance.  I really want to take the job, even at the pay cut, however, my fail-safe in case the job doesn't work out is I would have a TS/SSBI.  This doesn't seem to be the case.   Thanks for any information concerning the clearance or working as a Contract Background Investigator. 
 
Your confusing the type of investigation with the type of clearance.
 
The investigation is a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)
They actaully talk to ALOT of people and look for issues.
 
The clearance is then decided on by what type of clearance you need.  If you pass the SSBI and no issues come up then the security officer can give you a Secret or Top Secret clearance level. 
 
You can not get a Top Secret without having a SSBI done. 
 
A Secret can be givin with a National Agency Clearance Investigation (NACI) Basicly local background check where they just look at the police where you lived and see if you have or had any warrents out for your arrest and if you were ever arrested.
BARRBW  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, December 08, 2010 7:29:23 PM(UTC)
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Spaceshot, thanks...I'm getting closer to understanding the process. 
 
Can I ask you, is it posssible to have just an SSBI, favorably adjudicated, without having a clearance level granted? 
 
It kind of sounds like, they are doing the SSBI and will pick up my current Secret clearance and elevate it to TS as required.  Does that make sense?
Spaceshot  
#12 Posted : Wednesday, December 08, 2010 10:30:36 PM(UTC)
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if its favorably adjudicated your security officer grants your lvl at what is required.  If you don't have a requirement it will just sit as a favorable SSBI with no clearance.  However they usually put it at Secret as a minimum.
BARRBW  
#13 Posted : Thursday, December 09, 2010 7:10:38 PM(UTC)
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Background, I almost signed on with USIS several years ago but I had to fly into NY from a training seminar so I had I couldn't do the interview.  Realizing all companies are different is there any information you can share on your personal experiences with the job (not so much the company); Is there amble opportunity to move up the pay chain after a year or so in the job, from your experience?  As I stated, I would start off at Level 1 but I'm a workaholic and could easily surpass a 40 hour work week (without overtime) and would be able to take on extra case loads.  They say the training is about 2-3 weeks and gives you OPM Credentialed certs...is this equivalent training and credentials as to what GS Investigators receive and could it be transferable to the Fed Gov if I was to go that route sometime in the future?  Also, do you have a Secret for your job or just work off the SSBI?  I do appreciate any information you can give from the "contractor employee perspective"  I couldn't find any blogs about full-time employees except the Federal workers.  If you know of any forum that facilitates such discussions please advise.  Thanks, much!

BackGdInvestigator  
#14 Posted : Friday, December 10, 2010 9:49:00 AM(UTC)
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If you are willing to move and have the skill sets, there is a lot of room to move up in the company in many different positions. You can stagnate if you want to just be an investigator and stay in one spot.

It is rare to be promoted from Associate to Investigator in one year unless you have previous experience that is validated in the first year. Most promotions from Associate to Investigator occur at the 18 month to two year mark. The current huge leap is to Senior Investigator - which can be done at 4 years (or later) depending on your skills and contribution to the team.

You have to have an SSBI with OPM Investigator extra coverage. Access depends on where you work. As a contractor, I work on several federal investigation contracts and commercial contracts. Most of the other federal contracts require "X" amount of time under the OPM contract before the other agency will bring you onto their contract. The time is listed in the contract (usually between 1 to 3 years). I find this to be a plus for the contractor side as it helps keep you out of a rut.

One caution - you don't want to be caught working off the clock for USIS because it can cost USIS a lawsuit or even loss of a federal contract. USIS will fire you on the spot for fibbing on your timesheet.

*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
Special.Investigator  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2011 8:56:13 PM(UTC)
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BARRBW, just curious as to what you would do for work besides being a BGI? I'm trying to find other kinds of work I'd be qualified for with a BGI background (and I'm not even bothering applying to the feds bc i want to stay on the east coast). 

Also... did you make a decision?
BARRBW  
#16 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2011 3:17:44 AM(UTC)
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SI, I will take the job as it is the type of work I love to do (one way or another);  I do a lot AT/FP/Physical security work, currently.  I will be working in the D.C area.
iamtired  
#17 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2011 11:52:19 PM(UTC)
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Not exactly off topic, so if I have an SSBI but no clearance, would I be eligible if I saw a job on clearancejobs.com that said Active TS required, would that be the equivalent?
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