What is sf 86 security clearance?

Security is an important aspect of any government project as it helps in protecting the lives of people. One way the United States government maintains security is by requiring all of its employees to complete a questionnaire form. This form is known as the Standard Form Questionnaire 86 or SF-86.

The SF-86 is a questionnaire used by the United States Office of Personnel Management. This is an in-depth look that asks questions about an individual’s background, employment history, and personal life. Responses to the SF-86 help the government determine whether an individual is a security risk.

As you can see, the SF-86 is a very important part of national security. However, many individuals seeking positions in government agencies do not know what the SF-86 is and why it is important. In this article, we will discuss the importance of SF-86 forms and provide details on the process of completing them.

What is SF-86?

What Is Sf 86 Security Clearance?
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A surveillance camera near the American flag

The Standard Form Questionnaire 86, also known as the SF-86, is a form issued by the United States Office of Personnel Management that is required for national security positions in the United States. This form can be used to investigate security clearances for individuals who need access to classified information. The form is also used to determine an individual’s eligibility for access to other sensitive information or programs.

SF-86 forms are important because they help the government determine whether an individual is a security risk. Answers on the SF-86 help assess the individual’s character, employment history, and personal life.

In addition to civilians, military personnel, government contractors, and government employees must also fill out forms to obtain the required security clearance.

Information required on the SF-86 form includes any colleges or universities attended in the past three years, an account of the individual’s past ten years of employment, relations, and connections with foreign nationals and governments, travel abroad, past List of residences or populated areas, etc.

Important steps in the background investigation process

Surveillance cameras

The investigation takes several days depending on the complexity of the security investigation requested. The SF-86 form is used to conduct background investigations, including credit checks, criminal history checks, and employment verification. The main steps in the background investigation process are:

Filling out and submitting your SF-86

 The SF-86 form asks for a lot of personal information, so it’s important to be truthful when answering the questions.

If you falsify information on your SF-86 application, you may be denied a security clearance or face other penalties. At this stage, your questionnaire should be carefully checked and audited. We strongly recommend that you enter the correct information so that your form goes through the system more smoothly.

Below are some tips for filling out your form:

Before submitting your SF-86, be sure to fill out all personal information such as your spouse (and anyone with whom you are romantically involved), in-laws, and your residential address for the past ten years.

But you don’t need to list temporary locations of less than 90 days that didn’t serve as a permanent or mailing address before your 18th birthday and education as long as you have at least two years of education history. So don’t need it.

You should include your employment history for the last ten years, without any breaks.

If you have spent time in foreign countries, provide references who currently live in the United States and can vouch for your activities abroad. Details of your overseas service and any training programs can be included in the continuity section of the SF-86.

Scheduling and initiation

After submitting your SF-86, the next step is to schedule and begin your investigation process. The SF-86 will be forwarded to the appropriate investigative service for processing.

Here, the results of electronic records checks are scanned or transmitted to the PIPS system, and scannable requests are also sent to sources. PIPS automatically allocates cases to field offices. After your form passes this stage, it moves to the investigation stage.

PIPs, or the Personnel Indicator Program System, is an FISD computer software system that contains 15 million background investigation records of federal employees, military personnel, and contractors. The software is used to automate enrollment, scheduling, case control, and closing background investigations.

The investigation

An investigative agency will contact you to schedule an interview. The interview is conducted by a trained FISD investigator who will ask you questions about your standard Form 86 questionnaire.

You will also be asked to provide documentation to support the information on your SF 86 form. The investigator will verify the information on your SF-86 form by interviewing you, your family, friends, employers, and other people you know.

The contract investigator will also interview your supervisors, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and other people with whom you may have had close relationships.

Case review

A case reviewer will review your investigation report after all investigative fieldwork is completed and uploaded to FIPC. Also, the case reviewer will verify that the investigative outcome conforms to OPM’s official and legal standards.

If there is any missing information, the case is returned to the investigators for correction. If your case is considered complete, your report is forwarded to the requesting agency (your agency or a potential agency.


This is the most important part of the security clearance process because it is the stage where a decision is made on your standard Form 86.

At this stage, adjudication staff will follow 13 Department of Defense (DoD) adjudication guidelines before making a decision on your case. The 13 instructions are:

  • Loyalty to America
  • Foreign influence
  • Foreign Preference
  • sexual behavior
  • Personal behavior
  • Financial Considerations
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drug involvement
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Criminal conduct
  • Handling of Protected Information
  • Outdoor activities
  • Misuse of information technology

If you are found to have any of the above, it does not automatically disqualify you for security clearance.

For example, if you have financial problems, the assessor will look at the severity of your debt, how long you have been in debt, and whether or not you are making an effort to pay off your debt.

That’s why OPM sets the guidelines into three main parts. These include:


The Concern is a clear statement that expresses the security community’s concerns about each decision guideline.

Potentially Disqualifying Conditions

Potentially disqualifying conditions are conditions that, if present in an applicant’s life, may disqualify them from eligibility or access.

Mitigating factors

Determinants use mitigating factors to balance potentially disqualifying conditions. If present in the applicant’s lifetime, the conditions may cancel or reduce the severity of potentially disqualifying conditions.

These aspects will balance the severity of the OPM decision guidelines. After considering all these, the adjudicator will decide your case.

OPM has the final decision as to whether or not you will be granted a security clearance. If you are denied a security clearance, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Everyone is judged by the same criteria.

All executive branch CAFs adjudicate PSIs using the same national security standards found in the judicial guidelines for determining eligibility for access to classified information, Executive Order 12968, “Classified Information. Access to,” dated August 2, 1995, were issued vide The Safety Decision Guidelines were revised in December 2005.

13 DOD Decision Guidelines

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  • Loyalty to America
  • Foreign influence
  • Foreign Preference
  • sexual behavior
  • Personal behavior
  • Financial Considerations
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drug involvement
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Criminal conduct
  • Handling of Protected Information
  • Outdoor activities
  • Misuse of information technology

14 OPM Decision Guidelines

  • Wines
  • Drugs
  • Finance
  • Criminal behavior
  • Honesty
  • Disruptive or violent behavior
  • Misconduct in Employment
  • Firearm or weapons offense
  • Misc
  • Restriction
  • loyalty.
  • ability
  • Associates
  • Relative

Each guideline consists of three parts:

  • concern

The Concern is a simple statement that describes the security community’s concerns about each decision guideline.

  • Potentially disqualifying conditions

Potentially disqualifying conditions are conditions that, if present in an applicant’s lifetime, would likely disqualify him or her from eligibility or access.

  • Mitigating factors

Mitigating factors are used by judges to balance against potentially disqualifying conditions. Mitigating factors consist of conditions that, if present in the applicant’s lifetime, would cancel out or reduce the severity of the potentially disqualifying conditions.


All federal agencies that provide intelligence competence must recognize and accept investigations and security competencies conducted by other branches of the federal government – provided those investigations meet the scope and standards required for the new position. get off Reciprocity applies to all federal government civilian employees, military personnel, and contractors. Government policy not only requires collaboration but can save significant time and money. People will be able to start their new jobs immediately and their new agencies will not waste taxpayer dollars conducting expensive and unnecessary investigations.

To apply, an individual’s new position may not require more qualifications than he or she already possesses. In addition, the individual’s last investigation date must be within the required timeline and current eligibility must not have been granted on an interim or temporary basis, or through a condition, deviation or waiver. Finally, if the position has a special access program, or SAP, requirements, the qualifications may be mutually acceptable, but the specific program may not be able to grant access to SAP. Several policies provide more specific guidance on interoperability within DoD. Interoperability for DoD employees is outlined in DoD 5200.2-R and interoperability for DoD contractors is described in DoD 5220.22-M (NISPOM).

DoD Employees: Personal security investigations for DoD employees must be mutually acceptable as long as the investigation is in scope and the employee has had no more than a 24-month break in military service or federal employment.

DoD Contractors: For contractor employees, pre-existing Personal Security Clearances or PCLs must be accepted, provided the PCL investigation meets or exceeds the scope requirements for the new position, regarding the employee. There is no new derogatory information and the qualification was given unconditionally. . , deviation or exemption.

In addition to classified access eligibility, mutual access also applies to Common Access Card or CAC credentials and suitability decisions. As established by E.O. 13467, previous suitability determinations must be mutually accepted, as long as they meet or exceed the suitability requirements for the new position. Requests for mutual acceptance of qualifications are processed at the DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility or DOD CAF. Reciprocal applications are usually processed within two days. Eligibility determinations for DoD employees must also be accepted, as long as there is no new derogatory information about the employee and eligibility is granted without conditions, deviations, or waivers.

Remember, reciprocity isn’t just a proposition—it’s a requirement outlined in numerous government policies, including several executive orders, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the Director of National Intelligence Memorandum, “Executive Order 13467 and Reciprocal Personal Reciprocional” included. Security clearance, and other policy guidance.

E.O. 12968: “Access to Classified Information” (August 7, 1995) specifies the conditions under which cooperation must be exercised and the conditions under which cooperation may be refused. IRTPA: The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) (December 17, 2004) establishes guidelines for cooperation and requires cooperation between government agencies. E.O. 13467: “Reform Processes Relating to Fitness for Government Employment, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to National Security Classification Information” (July 2, 2008) Aligns security and due process investigative and judicial processes. Makes sure.

DNI Memo: Director of National Intelligence Memorandum “Executive Order 13467 and Reciprocity of Existing Personnel Security Clearances” (October 1, 2008) Streamlines and Emphasizes Processes That Ensure Reciprocity of Security Clearances are E.O. 13488: “Cooperation on Fitness of Exempt Service and Federal Contractor Employees and Reverimination of Persons in Positions of Public Trust” (Jan. 16, 2009) Harmonizes cooperation between security clearance determinations and public trust determinations. . Additional Policy Guidance:

– OMB Memoranda to Executive Departments and Agencies: “Reciprocity of Existing Personnel Security Clearances” (December 12, 2005, July 17, 2006, and November 14, 2007)

Why is Standard Form 86 necessary?

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Standard Form 86 is required to ensure that individuals who have access to classified information or work in certain sensitive positions are trustworthy. This ensures that these individuals will not abuse their power or position and not endanger the United States.

Classified information is any information that could reasonably be expected to harm national security if it fell into the wrong hands. It includes information about the country’s military, intelligence, and foreign relations. It also includes information about the country’s critical infrastructure, such as its power grid and water supply.

A background investigation conducted during clearance of the SF-86 form will also help identify any foreign influence an individual may have. This is important because individuals with foreign connections may be more likely to engage in espionage or other activities that could harm the United States.

The SF-86 form is also used to screen people who work in certain sensitive positions in federal agencies. These positions include roles in the executive branch, such as presidential appointments, and positions in the intelligence community, such as members of the CIA.

Background investigation

Understand the National Industrial Security Program (NISP).

The National Industrial Security Program (NISP) is a partnership between the federal government and private industry to ensure that classified information is adequately protected – to keep our nation safe. The government, especially the military, is in dire need of supplies, support services and the latest technology: weapons systems, information technology, communication systems, and the like. With rare exceptions, the government does not research, develop, or manufacture these items. Instead, it depends on the industry. In order for an industry to meet a government requirement, it must have access to classified information. This is where the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) comes in.

NISP was established by Executive Order 12829 to ensure that the industry maintains or maintains access to confidential information while working on contracts, programs, bids, or research and development efforts. The Defense Security Service (DSS) administers NISP on behalf of the Department of Defense as well as 26 other federal agencies within the executive branch. Currently, DSS has industrial security oversight responsibility for more than 13,500 cleared companies that participate in NISP.

If you are a company wishing to work on DoD-related classified contracts in the National Industrial Security Program, you need 5 things to obtain your Facility Security Clearance (FCL): Sponsorship, Organization, Security Agreement (DD 441 ), and certificate. Relating to Foreign Interests (SF 328) and Key Management Personnel (KMPs).

Industrial Security

For a company or other designated operating entity in private industry or at a college/university to have access to US classified information and to participate in NISP, a legitimate request by the US government or a foreign government for such access It should be. Once this requirement is established, a company can be processed for Facility Security Clearance (FCL). The FCL is a management committee that the company is eligible to access classification information in the same or lower classification category as the FCL being granted. An FCL can be issued at the Top Secret, Secret or Secret level. When it is determined that a company meets the eligibility requirements for an FCL, the company must execute a Defense Security Agreement (DD-441) which is a legally binding document signed by both parties. Defines the responsibilities of and binds the company to adhere to it.

In accordance with the security requirements of the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM).

Federal contractors at NISP do not pay for the security clearance of their job applicants or their employees. The American government does! Some companies tell applicants that they will not pay for their clearance investigation because it is too expensive. He is a liar. They don’t pay for them anyway. The US government does. The lesson here is don’t let a company tell you that you’re not qualified for a position because it cost the company to initiate a security clearance investigation on your behalf. The company only sponsors you; The US government pays for and conducts investigations. The security clearance cost is zero for federal contractors participating in the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). About 44 to 46% of the Defense Security Service’s (DSS) annual budget is allocated to Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) payable to the Federal Investigative Services Division (FISD) of the Office of Personnel Management. FISD conducts approximately 90% of security clearance background investigations for the US government.

NISP is a government industry program that protects classified information provided to the industry. The government establishes requirements for the protection of classified information in the hands of industry, and industry enforces those requirements with advice, support, and oversight provided by the government. The following four federal agencies provide advice, support, and oversight as Cognizant Security Agencies within NISP:

  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

DoD delegates security oversight and administration of its classified activities and contracts to the Defense Security Service (DSS). DSS serves as the Cognizant Security Office (CSO) for DoD. For most security matters you will be dealing directly with two elements of DSS: the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) and DSS Field Offices (Industrial Security Representatives or IS Representatives) in your local area.

Protecting classified information, and ultimately protecting national security, is what NISP is all about. Classified information is official government information that has been determined by an authorized official of the US government (the original classified authority) to require protection from unauthorized disclosure in the interest of national security and has been designated as such. The levels of classified information that form the basis of the handling and security requirements issued by NISP are Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential.

Security forms

The most common security forms related to HSPD-12 DOD CAC credentialing decisions, fitness and fitness determinations, and national security clearance eligibility are listed below. Further down the application process for federal employees, it is a good sign that you are being selected for a position if you are asked to complete and submit the OF-306 Declaration for Federal Employment.

Security Form HSPD-12 DOC CAC

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SF-85 Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions

The Standard Form (SF) 85 Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions is used to request investigations to support non-sensitive/low-risk positions. It is also used for “nondesignated” designations (not covered by 5 CFR 731 and 732) that require only an affirmative determination to access government facilities or systems. The only investigation appropriate for this level of risk is the “National Agency Checks and Inquiries” (NACI).

A non-sensitive low-risk position designation means that the employee is in a low-risk position that does not have sensitive duties related to the public trust or national security and does not require access to classified national security information (CNSI). Is. These positions require a minimum level of background investigation to be eligible for unsecured access to federal facilities and/or IT systems, as required by HSPD-12. The minimum level of investigation is called a National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI) and includes a National Agency Check (NAC), law enforcement checks, records searches, past/current employment inquiries, education, residency, And references are included. . . The form used for this investigation is the SF-85 (Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions).

Form Type Position Designation Investigation Case Type AUB*

SF 85 Non-Sensitive Position Low Risk and/or HSPD-12 Credential (without any other designation) National Agency for Checks and Inquiries (NACI) 02

SF-85P Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions

Public employment requires the hiring of people with responsibilities such as managing finances, overseeing processes, inspecting compliance, and protecting people and assets, among others for judicious roles. While many government jobs do not require a security clearance, some sensitive positions—often those to protect national security—call for especially knowledgeable and responsible employees. Such positions are designated as “Public Trust Positions”.

Positions of public trust require individuals who not only have the right skills for the job, but also a high degree of trustworthiness. Agencies determine whether positions are sensitive or non-sensitive and, if non-sensitive, assign a risk level of low, moderate, or high. The higher the risk level, the more likely employee misconduct is to be affected. Depending on the level of risk, appropriate investigations are initiated.

When a position of public trust is outside of sensitive national security considerations (think secrecy, secret, top secret), they choose insensitive risk levels of low, moderate, and high.

Standard Form (SF) 85P, “Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions: Used to request an investigation to support the determination of moderate or high risk public trust positions when there are no national security concerns. The investigations that may be requested for these levels are “Moderate Risk Background Investigation” (MBI) for moderate risk designated positions and “Background Investigation” (BI) for high risk designated positions. These risk levels will also use the SF 85P for reinvestigation.

Standard Form (SF) 85P-S, “Supplemental Questionnaire for Selected Positions” is used only as an exception to the standards. It includes additional questions about drug use, alcohol use, and mental health treatment that may be required for certain positions. Agencies with unique position requirements must request approval from OPM-FIS to use this form. If you are unsure whether your agency has the required approval, or if this form is appropriate for a particular position, contact OPM-FIS at 724-794-5612.

A public trust position designation means that the employee is in a moderate or high risk position that does not have national security duties or require access to CNSI, but due to other sensitive duties of the position. A high level background investigation is required. These types of positions may vary and are designated based on their specific duties, e.g., security, investigations, fiduciary responsibilities, auditing, government policy or rulemaking, oversight responsibilities, IT system administrators, and Human resources personnel responsible for protecting sensitive information. A moderate risk position will require a moderate background investigation (MBI) type of investigation while a high risk position will require a BA.

SF-86 Questionnaire for National Security Positions

A national security position means that the employee is in a position of low, moderate or high risk and requires the ability to access classified national security information and/or is in a position whose duties Relates to national security and/or may have a material adverse effect on the national security of the United States. These types of positions require a national security background investigation. The term “security clearance” should only be used when referring to a national security position where one is required to be qualified to access CNSI and to be granted a security clearance. Different types of background checks are used and depend on the risk level of the position and the level of access required, eg, secret, top secret. Some examples of initial investigations for national security positions are: ANACI, NACLC, MBI, BI, and SSBI. Depending on the level of investigation, they may require a personal security interview, completion of the NAC, law enforcement background checks, records searches, past and current employment inquiries, education, residency, references and credit checks. can Some of these investigations may involve interviewing sources in person. The form used for any national security investigation is the SF-86 (Questionnaire for National Security Positions).

Standard Form (SF) 86, “Questionnaire for National Security Positions: Used to request investigations to determine all sensitive national security positions. Investigations that may be requested are “Access National Agency Check and Inquiries” (ANACI) for civilian positions designated as non-critically sensitive with low risk, MBI for positions designated as non-critically sensitive with moderate risk, “National Agency Check with Law and Credit’ (NACLC) for non-designated positions (eg military personnel) requiring access to classified and/or classified national security information, or for non-critical sensitive positions with a moderate risk background. Investigative and/or confidential access is required. National security classified information.

The SF 86 is also used to request a “single scope background investigation” (SSBI) to assist in the determination of individuals being assigned to critical sensitive or special sensitive designated positions, regardless of View risk levels, and to support the determination of designated high-risk public trusts. . Positions with national security sensitivity requirements at any level. Reinvestigations for these levels of sensitivity and risk include SSBI Periodic Reinvestigation (SSBI PR) and Phased Periodic Reinvestigation (PPR).

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI)

“Does having a Top Secret security clearance mean you have a TS/SCI security clearance?”

The answer is no.

As the definition of SCI states, there is a need for the individual to receive the information and read it in the program. It is possible to undergo a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) to gain access to top secret information without having studied in the SCI program. Access to SCI can also be granted at the confidential level.

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) is a subset of classified national intelligence. SCI is a category of United States classified information relating to or derived from sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes. All SCI must be handled within a formal access control system established by the Director of National Intelligence. Although some sources refer to SCI control systems as special access programs (SAPs), the intelligence community itself considers SCI and SAPs to be separate types of controlled access programs. SCI is not classified. The SCI clearance is designated “Top Secret,” but information at any classification level may be contained within the SCI control system. When “de-compartmented”, this information is treated no differently than collateral (Secret/Secret/Top Secret) information at the same classification level.

Eligibility for access to SCI is determined by SSBI or PR.

Because the same investigation is used to grant a Top Secret clearance, the two are often written together as TS/SCI. Eligibility alone does not grant access to specific SCI content – it is just an eligibility. Individuals with security clearances may be “trained” in SCI as part of their employment. One must have express authorization to access the SCI control system or compartment. This process may include a polygraph or other approved investigative or decision-making process. Once it is determined that a person should have access to an SCI compartment, they sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is “read” or taught and the fact of this access is recorded in the local access register. or recorded in a computer database. Upon termination from a particular compartment, the employee is “read” or briefed and again signs a non-disclosure agreement.

Cognizant Security Authority (CSA)

Once accessed by SCI, the successful candidate must sign the SCI Non-Disclosure Agreement and receive an initial briefing. Cognizant Security Authority (CSA) offers both. The Cognizant Security Authority must also offer an annual “refresher” briefing to individuals who have access to classified material. Persons with access to TS/SCI require periodic re-examination every five years. When access to the SCI is no longer required, the Cognizant Security Authority is responsible for briefing the affected individual. Once debriefed, the individual must sign a Security Debriefing Acknowledgment Form.

The government wants to restrict certain types of sensitive information to only those who work directly on relevant programs, regardless of whether they have any security clearances. Thus, no collateral can gain access even with a DoD Top Secret clearance unless specifically approved.

So, to reiterate, you can have Secret, Secret or Top Secret security clearance but still be denied access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). You can have minor issues in your background and still be given Secret, Secret or Top Secret clearance. But, to sponsor for SCI Access, you usually can’t have any problems in your background. You basically need to be extra “sekky clean”. Also, in most cases, barring any major decision issues, you retain your collateral clearance (Secret/Secret/Top Secret) despite being denied access to an SCI-related program, facility or information system. Will be able to keep. (See example below.)

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)

In United States security and intelligence parlance, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced “skiff”) is an enclosed area within a building used to process classified information of the Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) type. SCI is classified information related to or derived from intelligence sources, methods or analytical processes that are required to be handled within a formal access control system established by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is protected. Access to SCIFs is generally restricted to those who hold clearance. Non-cleared personnel in SCIFs must be under constant surveillance to prevent unauthorized access to classified material. As part of this process, non-cleared personnel are usually required to surrender recordings and other electronic devices. All insider activities and conversations are prevented from public disclosure. A SCIF may also be located in an air, land or sea vehicle or may be established on a temporary basis at a specific location.

Special Access Programs (SAPs)

“A program established for a specific class of classified information that implements the security and access requirements normally required for information at the same classification level.”

In the United States federal government, SAPs are security protocols that provide highly classified information with security measures and access restrictions that exceed those of regular (subsidiary) classified information. A SAP may exclude more stringent investigative or adjudicative requirements, special non-disclosure agreements, special terms or marks, standard contract investigations (carve-outs) and centralized billet systems. This could be a type of black project. SAP can be started, modified and terminated only within their department or agency. Examples of SAPs include the following: SCI, NATO, CNWDI, RD, FRD and SIOP-ESI.

The Special Access Program (SAP) is a state-of-the-art need to know. For example, those with access to SAP are cleared at the SECRET and TOP SECRET levels. In contrast, not all individuals cleared for SECRET and TOP SECRET have access to SAP information. It is established to control the access, distribution and protection of sensitive classified information that is normally required.

The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) states that SAP access is a commitment made by the granting authority (club sponsor). In other words, all employees who have cleared the SECRET and TOP SECRET levels are basically eligible to access SAP. All they need is an invitation from someone who has determined their need to know.

Form SF86 Security Clearance Application

Who is this service for?

This service is for anyone who is required to have a security clearance for a job.

This may be your first security clearance request.

You may have an active security clearance and need to renew it after five or ten years.

It can also happen to someone who already has a security clearance—one that has been deactivated.

How the Security Clearance Application Process Works

You receive a job offer that requires a security clearance.

An individual cannot apply for security clearance alone. The individual must have a job offer that requires a security clearance. This creates jurisdiction, and the clearance process can begin as clearance is required for that person. If clearance is not required with the job, this security clearance application cannot be submitted.

If you have received a job offer that is contingent on obtaining a security clearance.

  • You must complete a National Security Questionnaire (SF 86).
  • You are sent a National Security Questionnaire (SF 86).
  • You cannot even start work or visit the area where you will work until you have at least an interim clearance (up to six months).
  • The form consists of 127 pages, with more than 26 sections of questions that you have to answer. You should describe everything in your background going back 7-10 years.
  • Your employer expects you to use the e-QIP online form to complete your application.
  • Each answer you provide on the form will be investigated. You don’t want to give an answer that is incomplete or tries to avoid responsibility.
  • If your answers cause problems for the government, then:
  • Your employment start date will be delayed.
  • You end up on the slippery slope of getting your security clearance denied.
  • Getting your clearance becomes much more complicated and takes a lot of time.
  • You submit the National Security Questionnaire (SF 86).
  • Once you fill out the form, you submit it electronically.
  • When the SF 86 is submitted electronically, it goes into the system automatically.
  • The security manager will review it and submit it to the appropriate agency for further action.

This begins the investigation phase.

Some applicants are allowed to start work with interim clearance.

An interim clearance may be granted even before a full investigation is completed on an individual. Many potential job candidates will receive a “conditional offer of employment” that is contingent on obtaining interim clearance. This happens when a skill or other reason for the job is in high demand. If the interim clearance is refused, the conditional offer will be cancelled.

With some employers and in some circumstances you can start work with an interim clearance. These usually include a quick background search of reports that are easy to do such as:

  • A credit report
  • Local agency report
  • FBI Check (National Agency Check)

An interim clearance is usually good for six months and is temporary. However, sometimes, the final approval decision is not made within that time and may take two or three years.

The longer you seek security clearance, the longer the investigation will take. Therefore, it can sometimes take up to three years to decide on a top secret security clearance. Although the government fixes the interim clearance period at six months, they sometimes ignore their policy.

The government investigates your answers.

The investigation may take up to three years to complete. It depends on the level of clearance, and whether the government has any problem/concern or not. Such issues will delay the granting of clearance.

The higher your clearance, the more extensive and comprehensive your background check will be. The depth of investigation is based on the level of clearance:

Secret Security Clearance

Top Secret Security Clearance (SCI) Special Compartmented Information (1-3 years of investigation)

U.S. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM)—which serves as the human resources organization for the federal government—conducts most background checks.

A government investigation usually involves some or all of the following:

You will be assigned an investigator for your case. The investigator will interview your family, friends and neighbors. His job is to dig as deep as possible into your records to see what they can find.

Because these are the most common areas of concern to the government, they will be looking at things like:

A warrant for your arrest

No Fly List (TSA) including incidents with any airline

Drug or alcohol related problems

  • Foreign contacts
  • Financial records
  • Criminal records

Some agencies may require a polygraph test.

When the government does a background check and something is found, your clearance will be delayed.

A security clearance application ends in one of three ways.

The application portion of the security clearance process ends in one of three ways:

1.  You receive the requested security clearance – a favorable outcome.

2.  You receive an inquiry from the government requesting additional information about the list of problems found in your application. This means that the government has some concerns about your answers. You will spend extra time fulfilling their requests. Your job hangs in the balance.

3.  A letter of intent to refuse may be issued without your first enquiry. This means that the government has serious concerns and will skip the inquiry and go straight to the more serious Letter of Intent with the Statement of Reasons.

OPM offers a new version of the SF86 for review.

On September 30, 2009, the Federal Register announced that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had submitted a proposed revision to Standard Form 86 (SF86), Questionnaire for National Security Positions, for 30 days of public review and comment.

The current version of SF86 (July 2008) has been in use for only one year and replaces the previous version (September 1995) by adding a new section on “Use of Information Technology Systems” and “Foreign Contacts,” Expanded section. “”Foreign Activities,” “Financial Records,” “Alcohol Use,” and “Association Records.”

The new proposed revisions to SF86 eliminate all references to SSBI and its requirement for 10 years of information. Questions are limited to 7 years, except those asking “have you ever”. The proposed SF86 also expands on questions about dual citizenship, foreign activities, mental health, and police records. OPM released a matrix of changes between the current and proposed versions.

Here are some suggested changes:

• Employment record: The questions “Leaved employment under unfavorable circumstances for other reasons” and “Dismissal from employment by employer” were deleted.

• People who know you well: Reference coverage reduced from 7 years to 5 years.

• Financial records: (1) Current and past bad debt turned over in 120 days (was 90 days and 180 days respectively). (2) Added current credit counseling question.

• Police record: (1) Offenses involving firearms, explosives, drugs and alcohol limited to 7 years. (2) New questions on domestic violence offenses and protective orders. (3) New question on current or past probation or parole. (4) A question relating to criminal charges shall be replaced by a question relating to penalties which may result in imprisonment for one year or more.

Five Things You Need to Do After Submitting Your Security Clearance Application

Have you been approached about joining the new administration? Interested in contacting them? Then you probably know that you have to be vetted (really vetted) and then get a security clearance. In an earlier article on Security Clearance Applications (SCAs), I wrote about five important things to keep in mind when completing the Standard Form 86 (SF-86 or e-QIP)—the 136-page document that the U.S. Begins the background of the united government. . investigation (BI), which determines whether you can be trusted to access classified information.

What happens after form submission?

For most applicants, the next step will be an in-person interview with an assigned federal investigator or contractor, usually someone with law enforcement experience. These interviews may last several hours, depending on the complexity of the problems you reported on the SF-86, and may extend beyond the time frame identified on the SF-86. Additionally, the investigator will also investigate general issues—for example, are there any concerns about your loyalty to the United States? Are you being blackmailed, and by whom (or by which foreign powers)? Do you possess good judgment?

Given the complexity and importance of the process, it pays to be prepared for an in-person interview. Follow the five recommendations below to minimize delays and maximize your chances of extraordinary entry into a cleared community.

Print a copy of your SF-86.

 In addition to the usual documents the investigator will ask you to have available—such as a photo ID, passport, or birth certificate—you should also make sure you have a copy of your SF-86. The investigator will definitely discuss the entire application with you and ask clarifying questions. However, he or she may bring only one copy of the SF-86 to the interview. Instead of trying to remember the correct answer in a stressful environment (or awkwardly trying to share the SF-86 with the investigator), you should have your copy with you so you can fully focus on the investigator’s questions. And can focus on answering truthfully.

Compile and organize relevant documents.

Most applicants will have disclosed multiple pieces of information on their SF-86. Depending on what you reported, it is wise to collect relevant documents about the disclosures (and your explanations) and have them available to the investigator during the interview. They may not always review them in your presence, but you should have taken the initiative and provided mitigating information as soon as possible.

For example, if you already know that a government credit check will give a false impression of your financial health, you should make sure that you have financial records in an organized manner. Who will compare the credit report. If you have an arrest record, you should make sure you have all the relevant official documents, as well as any documents that show a expungement.

Correct the errors.

 Despite your best efforts, it is normal for a submitted SF-86 to contain typos or other errors. Before the interview, review your SF-86 application with fresh eyes and note if you notice any unintentional errors or statements. You should bring them to the investigator’s attention and correct them before you encounter these errors. Likewise, if you feel that you have not adequately explained certain events, take advantage of a personal interview to ensure that the investigator is aware of all relevant facts.

Be confident!

 You have carefully refreshed your memory about your past, so you should be confident in the accuracy of your answers. During the interview, don’t lose confidence because of what you think the interviewer wants you to say. For example, even if you can’t remember the exact number of times you’ve used cocaine in the past, think about it carefully and come up with an educated guess. Even if the interrogator suggests or pressures you to change the number by asking if it’s possible you used more than you estimated you read, you should resist. While anything can be possible, the most likely—and more importantly, the true—is the number you’ve actually thought of, rather than a chance guess.

Follow up.

 Just because the personal interview has ended does not mean you are precluded from providing additional corrections or clarifications to the investigator, especially if 1) you are concerned that the investigator may have misrepresented you; Any description of is misunderstood or misconstrued. 2) You realize that you have left out important details while discussing a particular event. or 3) when you were unable to recall information during the interview, you have since refreshed your memory. While you don’t want to overwhelm the investigator—after all, that would show poor judgment—you want to make sure you’ve given the investigator all the material facts to consider and make a final decision. can be included in the report.

Why you need this service

No one actually knows what goes into the security clearance process. You will have a better chance of getting cleared the first time if you hire a security clearance attorney.

It’s more complicated than you might expect. It’s easy to think that you can do your best and everything will be fine. This is not a good idea. Here’s why:

  • It is impossible for you to fully understand what the government needs to see.
  • You also lack the necessary insight into how the government views your answers.
  • You are not sure what to include and what is irrelevant.
  • You don’t know how to minimize any problem in the eyes of the government.
  • You are not sure of the type or completeness of information that the government requires.
  • You have issues in your background that may be troubling and you need advice on how to deal with them.
  • Trying to fill the form yourself without any advice is a daunting task.
  • You don’t want to take the chance of being rejected and jeopardizing your job offer.

It’s important that you understand that once you’ve filled out the form, signed it, and submitted it, going back to change anything can backfire on you.

  • You can change your answers after submitting the form.
  • It is recommended that – if you have a “change” in mind – the sooner you make that change the better.
  • To make corrections after submitting the form, you should contact your security manager and/or investigator immediately. The government will see that you have made this correction immediately, and its effects will be limited.
  • The longer you take to make this “change”, the worse it will appear to you.
  • If you wait until the investigation is complete and decide to make these changes, you will have to deal with the consequences of “lying” to the government.
  • If you’ve left anything out or underestimated the severity of an incident, you’ll have a problem.

When it comes to filling out the SF86, you’re not doing yourself a favor by being completely honest. You must fill this form honestly. You don’t want to submit the form if you are even in doubt about the answer to any item. The government will check the honesty of everything written on your application. If you leave anything out, that automatically becomes a red flag.

You need to understand what the government considers a lie.

On the SF 86, you must disclose only what is asked on the form. If you answer a question that could possibly be negative, this is when you need to reveal every detail about the concern. If you answer “yes” to a question, don’t just move on to the next question. You must disclose additional information to cover yourself.

You want to make sure that before the government discovers it and asks you about it. Know that if you don’t disclose, you’re opening yourself up to the government security catchall category of “personal conduct” issues. Let’s do it right the first time. Reveal and explain what happened.

Background Investigation Polygraphs

Polygraphs are devices that measure physiological responses to stress (respiration, pulse, blood pressure, and galvanic resistance). Polygraphs are used to determine an individual’s suitability for a particular assignment or to access specially designated information stored within SAPs. They are not generally used for collateral (Secret-Secret-Top Secret) security clearances unless they are necessary to resolve serious credible incriminating information that cannot be resolved through traditional investigative means. Polygraph examinations are administered in addition to, not as a substitute for, other forms of investigation that may be required under the circumstances. Polygraph examinations are administered only by agencies with approved personal security polygraph programs and are conducted only by government-trained and certified examiners.

What is the difference between counterintelligence, lifestyle and full scope polygraph?

Counter Intelligence Scope Polygraph (CI)

The most common type of polygraph exam. A counterintelligence scope polygraph asks the candidate questions limited to those necessary to determine whether the examiner ever had any involvement or knowledge of:

  • Espionage
  • Sabotage
  • Terrorist activities
  • Deliberately damaging US government information systems
  • Deliberate Compromise of US Government Classified Information
  • Confidential communication with a foreign national or representative

Lifestyle Polygraph

Candidates are asked questions about their personal life and behavior and may include all aspects of current and past behavior. Questions asked may relate to drug and alcohol use, sexual misconduct, mental health, family relationships, compulsive or addictive behaviors, and more. A lifestyle polygraph can also try to find issues in a person’s private life that might make them vulnerable to blackmail or coercion. DoD Lifestyle Polygraph exam questions cover the following topics:

Involvement in a serious crime

Personal involvement with illegal drugs during the past seven years

Willful falsification of security forms

Full scope polygraph

The FS polygraph test is a combination of both a counterintelligence and a lifestyle polygraph. In general, undergoing a full scope polygraph is not something to look forward to.

Polygraph test

  • Two pneumograph tubes that are placed around your chest and abdomen to measure breathing.
  • Small cuffs that attach to your fingers to measure electrodermal activity.
  • A blood pressure cuff to measure blood flow and heart rate
  • A sensor pad on the seat of the chair to detect motion.
  • National Center for Credit Assessment
  • Psychophysiological Detection of Depression Program (PDD/Polygraph)

NCCA’s primary mission is to assist federal agencies in protecting American citizens, interests, infrastructure, and security by providing the best education and tools for credit assessment. Other responsibilities include:

  • Qualify DOD and other federal personnel for careers as PDD examiners
  • Research, develop, validate and field credibility assessment tools that enhance and enhance operational capabilities.
  • Manage the PDD continuing education certification program for federal agencies.
  • Manage the quality assurance program that develops, implements, and monitors PDD standards for federal polygraph programs.

Provide analysis and strategic support to federal polygraph programs.

Intelligence Community (IC)

The U.S. Intelligence Community is a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations, including ODNI, within the executive branch that work independently and collaboratively to collect and analyze intelligence necessary to conduct foreign affairs and national security activities. she does. IC agencies require more polygraphs than other federal agencies or departments.

February 2015 New Polygraph Policy issued by ODNI: Intelligence Community Policy Guidance (ICPG 704.6)

The new Intelligence Community (IC) Policy Guidance establishes policy and assigns responsibilities governing the use of polygraph examinations by IC elements in support of personnel security screening. When deemed in the interest of national security, heads of IC elements may authorize the use of the polygraph examination as a component of their personal security programs or PSPs.

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