Your clearance status, whether you are in the application or determination stage of the security clearance process, can be frustrating and long. But, if you hold the course, it can be priceless for job retention or advance; especially for many jobs in the government sector or military.
The Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) is the primary entity overseeing the entire security clearance process. This process begins when you are offered a job as a defense contractor or within a government agency that demands security clearance and your prospective employer initiated a security clearance application.
During this application process:
- You completed the SF 86 application
- Interviews of your personal references were conducted
- National Agency Check (NAC) looked into your credit and criminal background
- Drug abuse and misuse of computers was investigated
- Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) reviewed the application
What Positions Require Security Clearance
The job that you applied for in a federal or government agency requires that you have a security clearance. Examples of agencies that may require higher levels of clearance include:
- Intelligence community (i.e. CIA, NSA)
- Federal law enforcement agencies (i.e. FBI, DEA, Naval Criminal Investigative Service)
- Diplomatic agencies (i.e. State Department)
- Civilian military agencies (i.e. Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Security Service)
- Companies with contracts or grants with the federal government may require employees to have a security clearance to access sensitive information.
Only companies with a government contract can independently give or seek a security clearance and only individuals who are hired by the federal government or a contract organization can obtain a security clearance.
There are 3 main security clearance categories:
- Confidential – good for 15 years
- Secret – good for 10 years
- Top Secret good for 5 years
Security clearance is initiated by an employer, job-specific, and terminated or expired when the employee leaves the position.
Timeframe for Application
A common question is… “How long will it take to process my application?” As of 2014, the wait for processing a top security clearance could range from 99 to 730 days. There is an “interim security clearance” or “interim eligibility,” which can be issued for defense contractors in a shorter amount of time.
You can check on your security clearance status in 3 ways:
- Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS)
- Security Investigations Index (SII)
- DoD at 1-888-282-7682
A security clearance attorney can help you with the application submission process and as well as with ongoing clearance status updates.