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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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aznPHENOM  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 10, 2018 8:09:00 AM(UTC)
aznPHENOM

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I currently have a TS/SCI and thinking about try other agency that require secret clearance. My TS doesn't expire for another 3 years. I heard from a friend that said that it could be tough to go from TS to secret and back TS if I decide to come back within the 3 years. Just wondering if there is any truth to it?
rbr  
#2 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:37:20 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: aznPHENOM Go to Quoted Post
I currently have a TS/SCI and thinking about try other agency that require secret clearance. My TS doesn't expire for another 3 years. I heard from a friend that said that it could be tough to go from TS to secret and back TS if I decide to come back within the 3 years. Just wondering if there is any truth to it?


Technically you have 2 years from when you last held the position to get another position with the TS clearance. If you fail to get a position within that timeframe then your clearance will expire and you would need a new investigation. It usually takes about 6 months-1 year to land the type of jobs that require that clearance level. Unless you plan on leaving the job that you are going to after a year, then you will most likely need a new investigation. If you are planning to leave after a year, I would have to question why you are taking the job in the first place. I understand moving jobs, but you are shooting yourself in the foot by taking one that downgrades your clearance level. Getting a Top Secret/SCI is a long and arduous process which only gets harder as you get older, you may find that out the hard way should you leave your current position.
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aznPHENOM on 10/11/2018(UTC)
aznPHENOM  
#3 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 6:50:19 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: rbr Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: aznPHENOM Go to Quoted Post
I currently have a TS/SCI and thinking about try other agency that require secret clearance. My TS doesn't expire for another 3 years. I heard from a friend that said that it could be tough to go from TS to secret and back TS if I decide to come back within the 3 years. Just wondering if there is any truth to it?


Technically you have 2 years from when you last held the position to get another position with the TS clearance. If you fail to get a position within that timeframe then your clearance will expire and you would need a new investigation. It usually takes about 6 months-1 year to land the type of jobs that require that clearance level. Unless you plan on leaving the job that you are going to after a year, then you will most likely need a new investigation. If you are planning to leave after a year, I would have to question why you are taking the job in the first place. I understand moving jobs, but you are shooting yourself in the foot by taking one that downgrades your clearance level. Getting a Top Secret/SCI is a long and arduous process which only gets harder as you get older, you may find that out the hard way should you leave your current position.


Because working from is a lot more appealing to me and that will never be an option with any job that needs a TS. Personally, I will never go back to the TS job if I leave. I was just trying to confirm if there is any truth to it and hopefully help other people that are thinking about doing it.
ULB  
#4 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 8:18:21 AM(UTC)
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On your last comment... not entirely true. Some positions require TS for location but the material you are working with is not TS and you can WFH (Ex: Mt Weather positions).
rbr  
#5 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:07:12 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: aznPHENOM Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: rbr Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: aznPHENOM Go to Quoted Post
I currently have a TS/SCI and thinking about try other agency that require secret clearance. My TS doesn't expire for another 3 years. I heard from a friend that said that it could be tough to go from TS to secret and back TS if I decide to come back within the 3 years. Just wondering if there is any truth to it?


Technically you have 2 years from when you last held the position to get another position with the TS clearance. If you fail to get a position within that timeframe then your clearance will expire and you would need a new investigation. It usually takes about 6 months-1 year to land the type of jobs that require that clearance level. Unless you plan on leaving the job that you are going to after a year, then you will most likely need a new investigation. If you are planning to leave after a year, I would have to question why you are taking the job in the first place. I understand moving jobs, but you are shooting yourself in the foot by taking one that downgrades your clearance level. Getting a Top Secret/SCI is a long and arduous process which only gets harder as you get older, you may find that out the hard way should you leave your current position.


Because working from is a lot more appealing to me and that will never be an option with any job that needs a TS. Personally, I will never go back to the TS job if I leave. I was just trying to confirm if there is any truth to it and hopefully help other people that are thinking about doing it.


It is not smart to throw away a TS clearance if you even have an inkling of returning to the cleared world. Having a TS will open up so many more opportunities for you in both the government and private sectors. I assume that you are doing this because you want to work from home. While you won't be able to work from home on TS material, not every job that deals with TS material does so day in and day out. Some jobs are considered TS simply because of where they are located. I've worked jobs where I have handled sensitive material a handful of times a month. Having a TS does not automatically prevent you from teleworking, and if that's the reason you are giving up your clearance then you might want to do more research.
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aznPHENOM on 10/11/2018(UTC)
johnsbuffalo  
#6 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 3:21:13 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: aznPHENOM Go to Quoted Post
I currently have a TS/SCI and thinking about try other agency that require secret clearance. My TS doesn't expire for another 3 years. I heard from a friend that said that it could be tough to go from TS to secret and back TS if I decide to come back within the 3 years. Just wondering if there is any truth to it?


Our agency does this all the time with no problem. You could go from TS down to S and back up to TS all in single day. Clearances are something you are read-into, which pretty much just means as long as you have the proper investigation done and you sign the proper documents and understand the requirements, you've got your clearance.

What actually depends on this is your investigation, which is separate from your clearance. If you currently have a SSBI for your TS/SCI then you can have S, TS, or even no clearance...it wouldn't matter. Your position outlines your current need-to-know level. An agency generally is not going to order and pay for a new investigation if you have one already. If you already have the highest investigation, you dont suddenly lose it for some reason, and you can move up and down the ladder at will. You cant do that if you have a lower level investigation.

There are some exceptions to this of course (some agencies want their own investigation no matter what, a break in employment, 2 year classified info break, etc), but generally speaking this is not difficult and a pretty standard thing that comes up.
mreedelp  
#7 Posted : Thursday, October 11, 2018 5:40:55 PM(UTC)
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johnsbuffalo hit on only one of the aspects for security clearance--need to know. The other is access. If the highest level of information you have access to is only secret, your clearance is only going to be secret. It does not matter that you have gone thru the investigative process to clear you for top secret (or any of its varying levels). Your yearly OPSEC briefings should have drilled into you that "access" and "need to know" form the basis for your clearance, not what level of investigation was performed (unless that investigation was not adequate enough for a higher clearance level).

Change jobs every six months between one that requires secret and one that requires top secret if you want. As johnsbuffalo stated, once you have been cleared for the higher level, you can move back and forth at will until the 5 years from the highest investigation has passed (that's what it was when I had my clearances many years ago) OR until your current agency requires you to get another investigation done (at whatever level that agency requires).

Some agencies don't accept investigations done by other agencies. Usually though, if you are within the same major agency (e.g., change from one DOD job to another rather than change from DOD to State Department), your previous investigation is accepted if it cleared you for that level. A lot of times it comes down to cost. Why should the current agency pay for another investigation if one was just completed a year ago at another agency? Or it could depend on how long ago the investigation was done. If done last year, accept it; if done 4 years ago, the agency might want to pay for a new one.
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