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Don't Let Your Security Clearance Expire

Don't Let Your Security Clearance Expire

Christopher Michel | Military.com

August 18, 2008

Eventually, the time comes for many of us to evaluate the marketability of the skills, qualifications, and experiences we have gained through government service. We hope a prospective employer will appreciate our proven leadership abilities, sharp intellect, and valuable training – fortunately, many do. One of the most valuable, and perpetually underestimated, qualifications that many of us bring to the table is our active security clearances. Today, thousands of employers are in a desperate hunt for cleared individuals to support a myriad of government agencies and programs.

Qualified job seekers will find they have a tremendous leg up on non-cleared candidates and, almost certainly, will benefit from a salary premium. Unfortunately, many people let their security clearances lapse. An active clearance is a commodity that must be actively maintained and managed.

With the global war on terror in full bloom, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, significant increases in defense spending, and the growing intelligence community, there never has been a greater demand for employees to work on classified programs. This strong demand has put a significant strain on the Defense Security Service (DSS), the government agency responsible for conducting background checks for the Department of Defense and other agencies. In fact, a recent report on DSS indicated it had a backlog of more than 500,000 applicants. Unfortunately for government and civilian employers, it can take noncleared employees between six months and two years to receive a new clearance — an unacceptable time frame for many organizations that have significant contracts to deliver in the near term. In addition, the clearance process often is very expensive.

A government security clearance requires a periodic reinvestigation every 15 years for a “confidential” clearance, every 10 years for “secret,” and every 5 years for “top secret.” When a clearance is inactivated (because of switching jobs or leaving the military), it can be fairly easy to reinstate within the first 24 months, as long as that falls within the periodic reinvestigation window. After that, it becomes significantly more difficult. In other words, if your clearance is going to lapse, it is important for you to consider some options to reactivate it within the first two years.

How to Preserve Your Clearance

The easiest way to maintain security clearance is to take “cleared” positions with companies or government agencies. There certainly is no shortage of those opportunities today. A quick search among the nation’s top job boards finds thousands of open positions for individuals with active clearances. The USAJOBS government job board lists more than 1,000 types of positions requiring some type of clearance – from the intriguing “supervisory” intelligence officer position at the Defense Intelligence Agency to the slightly more mundane “staff auditor”. Utilizing GovCentral’s government job search might lead you to your next career.

There are specialty staffing companies that assist defense contractors and government agencies to fill temporary and full-time positions with cleared individuals. “We provide our employees the opportunity to work on tremendously important client projects. In addition to allowing flexible work schedules, we work actively to ensure our employees are able to maintain their security clearances,” said Bob Merkl, president of Secure IT Services, a staffing firm specializing in connecting cleared people with public- and private-sector opportunities. Companies seeking cleared candidates, he said, often pay a 5-20% salary premium.

Your active security clearance is one of the hottest tickets in town, don’t let it expire.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    yngdiego

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    This information is for TS/SCI people. If you've held and active clearance less than 24 months ago, getting it re-instated is a quick an easy process when you find an employer that has a billet. If it has been more than 24 months, but your 5 year SSBI hasn't expired, then a 30-45 day re-adjudication process is needed. If you are between 5 and 7 years from your last SSBI, then its up to the command's discretion to have you re-adjudicated or start all over and wait a year or longer. Past 7 years since your SSBI date, and forget it....you are uncleared in the Gov't eyes and you must wait like everyone else.

  • Raiders_50_yrs_max50

    rhl

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I am out of my position just over 1 year, what would my stautus be and how could I find out?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    DOD 5200.2-R

  • Surf1223_max50

    feeleja

    about 6 years ago

    60 comments

    What reg covers the timeline for inactive and active clearances ??

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    I hope I at least sound like I know what I'm talking about!

  • Surf1223_max50

    feeleja

    about 6 years ago

    60 comments

    awesome info scooby

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    TS requires reinvestigation every 5 years and assignment to a TS billet for the agency you worked for. Getting a secret clearance now would require at least a NACI investigation and adjudication from your current agency.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    christian0728

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    It's been over 16 years since I've had a Tops Secret w/SBI. What do I need to do to at least get the Secret status back?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    Good info, and pretty accurate, let me answer some of the questions. The employeer will request the required investigation through DSS or OPM based on the requirements of the positions. If you had one, you still do, it may just be inactive. Each agency has it's own policies on waivering people into positions that require clearances. However, if you have passed your reinvestigation time frame, you can expect to wait it out again. Reserve and Guard clearances are mostly based on your position and is active when you are. Unfortunately some agencies don't accept cross clearances. IE, you have a secret clearance in the guard and want a civilian position with FEMA that requires a clearance. FEMA may require you to be fully reinvestigated, or patrially reinvestigated prior to granting you an active clearance.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jutricbere

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    unfortunatualy mines have lapse, how do i get it back

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    gracejara

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I had worked for State agency and FEMA in the past, how can I retain security clearance or if this is ok to mention in the application. That was back in 2005.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    cw13

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    THE INFORMATION GIVEN ON SECURITY CLEARANCE ARE VERY CLEARED, BUT iI DO HAVE A QUESTION I WAS PRIOR MILITARY AND I HAVE GOTEN OUT IN 2004, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I WAS US ARMY RESERVES, AT THAT TIME DID I STILL HAVE MY CLEARANCE EVENTHOUGH I WAS PART TIME. ALSO HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BE REINSTATED?

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