Every successful applicant for a federal government job undergoes basic criminal and credit background investigations for their qualifications as federal employees “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States.” The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the corporate human resources organization for the federal government, does most background investigations. Federal positions with access to sensitive information generally require security clearances that applicants must obtain to demonstrate their reliability and trustworthiness before gaining access to national security information.
Security clearances are necessary for employment with many federal government agencies and contractors. Lack of a security clearance may delay, even block, a career with any organization serving national security interests. For a clearance, patience, persistence, and an employer’s support are musts. The process is inevitably lengthy because of the great backlog of clearance applications.
A security clearance is authorization to handle classified information on a need to know as a job requires. A clearance does not authorize access to any and all classified information, just whatever the job needs, but it is transferable in the sense that it helps the holder find other jobs with clearance requirements.
Security Clearance Classifications
There are three security classifications in federal positions: (1) NonSensitive, (2) Public Trust, and (3) National Security. Each of these positions requires some background investigation, the extent of which varies according to the clearance necessary for the access to sensitive information the position involves.Background investigations for lower-level security clearances generally rely on automated checks of individual histories. For a secret clearance in a national security position, investigators must interview associates who have lived or worked with the candidate during the last seven years or more.
Security Clearance Application Procedures
The four main types of security clearances for national security positions are (1) Confidential, (2) Secret, (3) Top Secret, and (4) Compartmented Information.
A confidential clearance authorizes access to information or material that may cause damage to national security if disclosed without authorization. A confidential security clearance holder must be reinvestigated every 15 years.
A secret clearance authorizes access to information or material that may cause serious damage to national security if disclosed without authorization. A secret security clearance holder must be reinvestigated every 10 years.
A top secret clearance authorizes access to information or material that may cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if disclosed without authorization. Top-secret clearances may authorize access to sensitive compartmented information of particular sensitivity. A top secret security clearance holder must be reinvestigated every five years.
A sensitive compartmented information security clearance authorizes access to all intelligence information and material that require special controls for restricted handling within compartmented channels.
Professional Security Clearance Assistance Available
Security Clearances can affect various types of professionals and organizations. Our firm is equipped to assist applicants in any matter involving security clearances:
• For federal contractor employees on their initial security clearance investigations or periodic reinvestigations, our firm can expedite the security clearance investigative process by presenting the strongest case for a favorable adjudication.
• For federal contractors with cleared employees, our services on behalf of cleared employees can reduce talent acquisition costs, employee turnover, and clearance approval time.
• For federal contractors seeking to obtain or maintain facility security clearances, our firm can help throughout the process at every stage.
Our experienced attorneys lobby on behalf of security clearance applicants, holders, and their employers. We enjoy good rapport with OPM investigators and decision makers because we make their jobs easier, less onerous, and more enjoyable for them. We facilitate the clearance process, and can help you reach your professional goal. Call Ravenhearth Law today or contact us online to discuss your needs.