For the last couple of years, we have heard about the concept of “HQ2,” notably with Amazon. There was a frenzy of competition for Amazon to locate its second headquarters in towns and cities throughout the country. Now, things are settling down with the work for Amazon’s main HQ2 located in Arlington, Virginia.
FBI HQ2 is On the Way to Huntsville, AL
Closer to home, North Alabama has been in a quiet contest for its own version of a HQ2 to be located here. I’m not referring, however, to the new U.S. Space Force Command, which would be well-advised to put its MAIN headquarters here in Huntsville, Alabama. The highly educated and versatile workforce here in North Alabama is tailor-made to handle all of the required Space Force needs. The HQ2 that I am referring to here is the FBI.
In what is very good news for North Alabama and the country, the FBI is building out a $1 billion dollar footprint here at Redstone Arsenal. There are already 400 or so FBI employees located here with another 1,400 or so employees expected to relocate from the DC area to North Alabama. Beyond that, the projections are that another 4,000 or so jobs will be added in the next decade.
FBI jobs all require at least a secret security clearance, and a number of the jobs will require top-level clearance in the form of TS, TS-SCI, and TS-SAP clearances. As a result, I am sure many employees here who already have a clearance will apply for these new jobs along with prospective employees who want these types of jobs.
There is a lot of background scrutiny performed by the FBI in determining whether a security clearance should be granted in order to allow access to classified information. This link from the FBI explains what an applicant has to go through in order to be granted a clearance. Beyond that, some of the jobs with the FBI will require a polygraph examination. The Federal News Network provides a good summation of that process here.
Implications on Security Clearances
With this backdrop, I wanted to reiterate the concerns that people with an existing clearance may have in applying to the FBI along with what new prospective employees may also be concerned with as it relates to keeping or getting a security clearance.
First of all, take a look at my security clearance “top ten” list of concerns and issues that I see on virtually a daily basis. If at all possible, I like to consult early in the process BEFORE any forms are completed or any discussions are held with either a Facility Security Officer (FSO) or a security investigator.
Full disclosure on the Standard Form (SF) 86 is a must! Where you have concerns, explain things in GREAT and MITIGATING detail on the SF 86! This form is your entry into the classified world, and you will live with this form forever. Make sure you have an understanding and grasp on financial concerns that may impact you. Also, if there are any issues with regard to alcohol or drugs, you can read about those issues here, here, and here.
Do your research BEFORE you fill out the initial SF 86 and make sure you do a slow, meaningful and thorough job with anything related to a clearance, but don’t ever miss a deadline! Your future employment prospects and job security will thank you!
If you have any issues with the security clearance process, or even just want a trained eye to review your forms beforehand, get in touch with an experienced security clearance attorney today to see how we can help.
Ron Sykstus is a Managing Partner of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a Juris Doctorate from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Ron has served in numerous positions throughout the U.S. Army and now utilizes his expertise in the areas of VA issues, security clearances, military law, and bankruptcy to assist his clients when they need it most. Read his full bio here.