Obtaining a Security Clearance PowerPoint

School of Science and Technology
Freshman Day
17 Aug 12
What’s a clearance about?
Where do you start?
Roadmap for this talk …
 Who?
 Why?
 How?
 Gotchyas!
Who needs/gets a clearance?
 ONLY the federal government can grant you one
 Basic concept: “Only people you trust can truly betray
 #1 rule for obtaining a security clearance:
 You have to have a NEED for one.
 You have to hold a position requiring ACCESS to
sensitive (or classified or restricted) information.
 You cannot get one for yourself - need to be “sponsored”
Who needs/gets a clearance?
 Three categories, in general (supposedly simplified)
 Confidential (not really anymore)
 Secret
 Top Secret
 Lots of tech jobs in north central WV require
clearances (and non-tech ones too) – WHY?
 Interim clearances have become more common, so a
new hire can start performing their job right away.
Why bother?
 Once you have a security clearance, it is “like gold”
 New positions will want to hire you since they don’t
have to go through the costly and lengthy process
 Most are pretty well-paying positions
 Pretty solid job security with a government agency
 Great union
 Transfer within (www.usajobs.gov)
 Most are vital to national security
 Biggie for me: Some are pretty darn cool jobs!
How? What’s the process?
 Fill out “a form” (SF-86) with “OMG data” going back
7-10 years, depending on clearance level and which
organization is sponsoring you
 Addresses, phone numbers, family members, etc.
 “References”
 But, when they talk to your references, they will get
asked if they know who your friends were, who you hung
out with, etc …
 Then they go to THEM … especially if you didn’t put
them on your form – WHY? (Note: ex-girl/boyfriends)
 ANOTHER NOTE: very intrusive!
How? What’s the process? (2)
 Defense Security Service conducts background checks
most of the time (or a contractor)
 Goal for Secret: 2 months
 Goal for Top Secret: 9 months
 Adjudication – findings are evaluated based on a
number of factors (about 13, depending on agency)
 Criminal conduct
 Personal conduct
 Substance abuse
 Mental disorders
 Basic idea: Don’t be stupid!
 Don’t lie on the forms!
 It’s all about risk: what factors lead to someone
becoming a “traitor”?
 Money
 Addictions/Blackmail
 Past behavior
 Ideology – set of ideas that constitute ones goals,
expectations, and actions (wikipedia)
Gotchyas (a few examples)
 Money
 Credit Score
 Debt
 FBI webpage: “A poor credit history, or other issues, will not
necessarily disqualify a candidate from receiving a clearance,
but resolution of the issues will likely take additional time. If
the issues are significant, they may prevent a clearance from
being approved.”
 Addictions/Blackmail
 Drug use
 Sex
 etc
 Again, won’t disqualify, but needs to be “resolved”
Gotchyas (more examples)
 Past behavior
 Criminal history
 Inconsistencies from interviews are of “particular
interest” and will cause them to “drill down”
 Ideology
 What are your professed beliefs?
 Citizenship of family members?
 Whom do you associate with?
 Who is in your circle? (likely new one coming)
Some References
 http://govcentral.monster.com/security-clearance-
 http://www.clearancejobs.com/security_clearance_faq
 http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/law-

similar documents