I’ve been trying to get a job in the intelligence community but haven’t been able to get my foot in the door. I’m currently applying for a BI position with CSRA. I was told that the TS clearance I would need for the position would only work for BI position (can someone explain this?). Does working as a BI look good on your resume for an Intelligence Analyst position, or would it do nothing to enhance my prospects?
Well, it’s a very slippery thing these clearances. If you will be a CSRA investigator working the NBIB contract (and if you are working Intel investigations for CSRA this info may be different), you will likely have a ‘favorably adjudicated’ investigation to a TS level, but at that stage have not been granted a clearance. To my understanding, clearance granting after a favorable adjudication is initiated at the request of the sponsoring (Agency, Contractor, etc…) and is generally reflected in one of the systems like JPAS, Scattered Castles, and the soon to replace JPAS, DISS (Defense Information System for Security). More info about some of them here: https://news.clearancejobs.com/2016/11/06/scattered-castles-jpas-clearance-documents-stored/
You could be granted a clearance with a favorably adjudicated investigation that was completed by NBIB by a sponsoring company if you are looking for new IC career paths. My experience is that there is less known about how the process works, who is responsible for updating or changing your status in any of the systems, what agencies recognize the others completed investigations, or which ones reciprocate each others already granted clearances than there is known. And that’s how it’s supposed to be because THIS IS SECRET STUFF AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T MAKE SECRET STUFF SIMPLE, LOGICAL, OR EASY TO USE. Whew! Anyway, I feel that you could make a leap from a BI job to an IC career but communicate your intended path to a person that has completed just that process or a good POC at that dream job/company to get feedback and guidelines. Good luck to you. Now we can let everyone chime in with there experiences on getting clearances, which I am sure will be varying results.
I heard back from the recruiter. She cleared things up: CSRA will not provide TS clearance for background investigators. That means CSRA is being misleading in their BI posting, which says is a requirement:
@placenamehere I am not sure if you have done any research in the background positions but all investigators are adjudicated at the TS level. You are granted a TS when you have the need to know (as in any job). Some facilities require this access and then your investigation will then be updated (JPAS and scattered castles etc). This is across the board in this industry. CSRA recruiters are NOT misleading you. Everyone goes through a TS background investigation.
In the email I got from the recruiter I was told that in the event that I were granted TS clearance, the clearance would be debriefed once I left the contract. In other words, the clearance CSRA will give BIs is worthless for applying for jobs that require TS clearance?
That happens for any cleared job. Again, “need to know.” Your eligibility would be good for 2 years after you leave.
placenamehere, I would say your recruiter is somewhat misinformed. If a Tier 5 (T5) investigation was completed on you and you received a favorable adjudication to the top secret level and you began working for CSRA they would be your (non) clearance sponsor and credential holder (NBIB badge). If you continued working for them for 5 years (now changed to 6 years) your re-investigation would be sponsored (paid by them) presuming you were still working on the contract with them. If you left the company before then, you would no longer have a sponsor and your credentials would be forfeited to them (and ultimately back to NBIB) and all you would have left at that point is a favorably-adjudicated-to-TS-level-Tier-5-investigation on file with NBIB, presuming you had no issues that would negate your good status. I understand that government contractors, agencies, can use the already adjudicated T5 investigations to grant you a clearance since NBIB is doing of these investigations for them anyway, and that process is easiest if your T5 was completed within the last 2 years. I have also understand that you remain active in the system for 2 years after separating from your sponsor. So, what the recruiter meant by ‘debrief’ may have been ‘you won’t have a sponsor’ if you left CSRA. I have not heard of any debriefing on the NBIB contract, but I do know that is commonplace for those who actually possess clearances. Anyway, IT’S CONFUSING AS ALL DAM HELL BECAUSE IT MUST BE, IT’S A CLEARANCE, AND IT CAN’T BE SIMPLE. THAT’S NOT ALLOWED.
So when a job posting for, say, an intelligence analyst says the applicant must active TS clearance, what does that mean?
placenamehere, it would mean that the applicant has an active Top Secret clearance which is verifiable in one of the aforementioned systems. It may also mean to include if conditions are right the company has the ability to activate a TS clearance based on a favorable adjudication as previously discussed. Some companies/agencies only have access to certain systems (i.e., they may have access to JPAS but not Scattered Castles).You might apply for that intelligence analyst position with the optimistic outlook that if you were hired a cognizant FSO was astute enough to identify the location of your adjudicated investigation and activate a clearance based on that. I understand the process varies between agencies and the other slippery thing called reciprocity. A recent posting on the blog here discusses reciprocity Why Isn't Reciprocity Standardized? Perhaps it would help as previously suggested to speak to a knowledgeable person who has themselves completed the process or contact the organization you ultimately intend to work for and discuss the most viable path for obtaining the required clearance for that job. Good luck to you.
This is confusing. How do I get active TS clearance?
You get an active TS by getting your investigation adjudicated by the requesting agency. To get to that point you had to have been hired by an organization and cleared for work. For some investigator positions, they don’t get an active TS, they just get the investigation required for the TS without actually receiving one. However, if you were to move to a new company or position requiring an active TS, the organization you’re interested in working for should be able to see you’ve had an investigation done already–they just need to clear you for the TS (this can be frustrating because your FSO will have to get his/her hands dirty; you will not be in JPAS or some other databases).