Are Unnecessary TS Clearances Causing Delays and Costing $?

I accepted a transfer from USDS Forest Service to DOI Bureau of Land Management. After being told by HR there was new “higher level” BI required I came to find out they changed to the position from public trust to national security and are requiring a top secret clearance. This is a natural resource specialist position overseeing botany and forestry and wildlife. There is no classified info, no high dollar threshold, and no special facilities access. I was told a security team at the BLM’s National Operations Center is reclassifying these…Does anyone have insight into why or how they could justify requiring a TS clearance for this? BLM is changing a lot of positions to national security and there is a huge backlog and delay is starting positions…in the end I withdrew my acceptance of the tentative offer…wonder if anyone has any insight into why this is occurring and how it is affecting FI’s workload?

I have no earthly clue. I have no idea why BLM has 1811 Special Agent/Criminal Investigators, either.

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I don’t think BLM is large enough to have any effect on our work load.

We will see.

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The Tier 5 is the investigation for sensitive high risk positions. While Tier 5 makes you eligible for the TS clearance, you can also hold a lower, or no, access position. Your position has been deemed a high risk position.

Bi investigators, as most industrial and personnel security people, are high risk because of our responsibilities, being in the public, and the non-classified but sensitive information we access every day. My current clearance is only Secret but I am high risk, hence the Tier 5.

Within the next yearish or so, all positions will be low, medium, or high risk - reducing the tier system to three investigation products.

Having a higher level clearance allows access to meetings, VIP visits, etc. etc. Every agency deals with these things intermittently and it’s always a good idea to have someone cleared at a level to participate and/or assist with these things.

thanks, do you have any idea how they determine whether, for a high risk position, what type if any clearance is needed?

I’m still confused why my position would be considered high risk, but assuming it is, why a TS rather confidential, secret, or none?

I heard there is an OPM for determining the risk and clearance needed, but don’t much beyond that…

Do you feel comfortable providing the job title? That may provide an indication of why the TS was needed. In my area, there are many USFS and BLM folks that require TS level clearances for various positions, and it is always clear to me why that level would be necessary.

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Sure, I am very interested to know what BLM and USFS positions need TS in your area? LE, Fire Management (higher level) I’m guessing…

The job is a Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist (GS-0301-13) also called the Branch Chief of Planning, Recreation, and Cultural Resources in a BLM State Office. The Branch Chief oversees the state program leads and specialists (GS12) in the following program areas: cultural resources, paleontological resources, land use planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, socioeconomics, recreation and visitor services, National Conservation Lands, volunteers, and community partnerships. The purpose of this position is to provide leadership, guidance, and assistance to employees engaged in a broad range of duties related to public land resource management and budget development. The Branch provides program support, policy development, and budget guidance to the State Director, field office staff and management throughout New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.

The PD says its non-critical sensitive and high risk with tier 5 and a sf86. The security analysis on the PD says also the national security duties involve CUI, PPI, Proprietary info…but that does not make sense to me…my current job, in fact many fed jobs deal with CUI, PPI, and proprietary info and are public trust…I don’t see the connection to nat. sec duties???

Anyways, interested to know what you think and curious about the type of USFS/BLM jobs you see requiring TS clearance…if you can share that…


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Non-critical sensitive is SECRET but high risk means it is T5 investigation. Maybe for some reason they figured to give a TS since they are doing the T5 anyway? (Although I thought they stopped that)

Also I have seen sometimes where positions similar to the one that you put in for actually have law enforcement responsibilities or at least are the area supervisors for the LE units. Is that the case? That could also explain the T5

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Some of the land being managed nearby may be government or military facilities with classified spaces or tests going on.

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I do know an individual who gets very upset about the process, because it seems that once you leave your position your TSCI goes with it and you have to start fresh. He has not worked in 8 years getting older still very sharp but getting hard of hearing. Many of his other friends tell him to not expect to find something that will be the same same after not working for so long.

maybe Area 51 is involved? :slight_smile: