It has been discussed for a long time but now the long-awaited changes to the security clearance process are here. An Executive Order (EO) was signed by the President on April 25, 2019 has transferred responsibility for security clearance background investigations from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the Department of Defense (DOD) under a new entity called the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).
For security clearance holders and applicants, probably the most important part of this dramatic shift is the change from periodic investigations to continuous investigations of anyone who has a security clearance using artificial intelligence (AI). There are currently over one million clearance holders already enrolled in this “continuous evaluation” system and the government plans on having everyone who has a clearance enrolled in this system in the near future. From my perspective, what that will mean is constant and automatic access to credit reports and public civil data bases so the government can keep tabs on any financial concerns.
I also believe this AI aspect will include up to date monitoring of all criminal data bases. As a result, if someone has a security clearance and runs into any type of issue, including financial delinquencies reflected on a credit report or lawsuits filed against them, they must take immediate action to address problems as soon as they arise. Security clearance holders will not have the luxury of waiting until the next periodic reinvestigation (10 years for a Secret clearance and 5 years for a Top Secret clearance) to try and rectify any problematic situation. This also holds true for any criminal charge that is issued against an individual. I am unsure at this time what, if any, automatic access the government will have as far as getting access to medical records to determine if there are any drug or alcohol problems. If you are experiencing issues with alcohol or drugs and you have a security clearance or are in the process of trying to get one, please read these blog posts here and here.
One thing I know for sure is that, if someone has clearance concerns, they should NOT discuss them with anyone at their work to include their supervisors, co-workers or facility security officers (FSOs). Figure out your problem first and then come up with a concrete and sound solution to any and all issues before you bring it to the attention of the FSO. In fact, that is the only person you will need to notify and I recommend that it be done by email only AFTER you have everything figured out. Since the clearance process is predicated upon self-reporting, do NOT wait too long to self report so have the problem and solution figured out fast! This blog post may be helpful regarding various concerns and issues security clearance holders have regarding a clearance and potential government concerns about the clearance.
Please feel free to contact me, by phone or email, if you would like to discuss any concerns that you have regarding your clearance. My goal is to put security clearance issues and concerns that you may have to rest at the earliest and lowest possible level.
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