Myth that Continuous Evaluation will result in more work

I have heard a few people in management and several posters on this blog opine that continuous evaluation (CE) will actually result in more work for the field. From what I know about it, I just don’t see this happening.

Let’s take a sample of 200 people who are up for TS renewal after 5-6 years of successfully holding a TS clearance. They fill out their SF-86 and 100 of them list flag level issues. Ok, they aren’t eligible for CE and they get an ESI, employment sources get interviewed, law checks get done, no change to the workload for those 100 people.

The other 100 people fill out their SF-86’s, list no flag level issues, and they are placed in CE. That results in the loss of 100 ESI’s to the field, 200 (at a minimum) employment sources, and some level of law checks that would have been conducted in the field. From my experience working with cleared people, a very small percentage experience flag level issues after they have been cleared. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that 25% of these people failed to list flag issues on their SF-86 and CE discovers 100% of these omissions. And let’s say that another 25% experience a flag level issue within the next 5-6 years that CE discovers. So we have 50 of these 100 people that need some sort of follow up under CE. First of all, do we even know what the follow up will be? Will it be a TESI assigned to the field? Or will their command/organization do some sort of investigation that is then sent to the CAF? If I remember correctly, prior to CE when a cleared person got in trouble, it did not generate any type of work for FI’s in the field, it was investigated by the owning organization. Do we have any reason to believe that has changed?

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that the process for these discovered flag issues will be for an FI to do a TESI on these 50 people. Some of the flags will require general source interviews. Let’s say 100% of the issues in this scenario require two sources, so now we need 100 source interviews.

The bottom line is we now have 50 TESI’s and 100 source interviews (and likely some law and court checks) to be worked in the field. Without CE, we would have had 100 ESI’s and about 200 source interviews (and who knows how many field conducted law checks). How is this growing the workload??? Note also that with the current guidelines, a good portion of the 50 TESI’s would likely be done over the phone by FI’s in another geographic area.

If I’m missing something, someone please clue me in.


I also agree that we’re never going to be at the level of work we were “blessed” with during the backlog days (unless another backlog happens), but the people arguing that CE may create more work say:

  1. Flag criteria has been expected to expand, much like how the Heightened Risk Countries list was expanded by NBIB in June. As everything continues to roll out, I’m sure we will see DCSA’s own adjudicative guidelines, guides, etc.and if flagging criteria expands, so will the number of interviews.

  2. Rather than waiting 5-10 years per interview, with CE flags could potentially be triggered (and thus an interview) literally whenever. Think: all the financial issues that pop up with middle aged men going through nasty divorces, young enlisted Army personnel and their lovely DUIs, etc.

  3. CE is a beta Pilot program for the time being, so it may never amount to anything, just like the Uber, HUB, Tablet, Social Media, and other failed pilot programs. There is also the chance CE will result in failure, a breach, or allow something big to fall through the cracks resulting in a backlog of some kind.

  4. DCSA and ODNI have apparently been talking about eliminating the temporary Investigative Standards released last year to address the backlog. Now that the backlog is gone, we may go back to 2 REFEs, no double dipping sources, conducting source interviews and TESIs in person, etc.

That being said, I personally think these points are wishful thinking. I think at best we’ll be looking at about 75% of the workload we’re at now, but your prediction of 50% could be more accurate once the backlog is completely cleaned up and DCSA has settled in.

Basically this field will need to make staffing adjustments ASAP.


My personal opinion has been that CE will reduce the overall Periodic Reinvestigation workload by at least 50 to 65%. I cannot think of anything good or say anything good about what this industry has become because of CE and backlog mitigation.

Very very disappointed with the direction of this industry currently with the lack of thoroughness and quality of background investigations…all because the backlog needed to disappear. If a backlog can go from 700,000 cases since 07/2018 to 250,000 cases in 10/2019, imagine what the backlog will be by 10/2020. Probably down to 1,200 case backlog.

By then even the federal agents will be looking for work and DCSA will work themselves out of a job by being stubborn and not reverting away from backlog mitigation and CE.


I’m sure it’s all for a bottom line a higher up needs. If he/she can prove the backlog has been reduced by xxx much and it takes zzzz long to get a clearance now, they get a raise or promotion for a job well done.


As a personnel security manager, I really, really want to like and use CE but the reality is I don’t. I think it is a great tool to use in between the five year periodic investigation schedule but not as a replacement. My biggest concern is the amount of information that I get back on employees enrolled in CE that I have to cull through and decide what is an issue and how significant of an issue the flag may be. For now, while I use CE, we are still submitting reinvestigations.


This is exactly what I have said all along. CE will place a burden on an already overburdened and understaffed FSO, SM and CIP office. CE will eventually fail…


Yep it will fail and then they will need us but the workforce will already have found another job.


CE is good in between PRs, but replacing PRs? Not good!


CE could be useful if used correctly. Identify issues in-between investigations. There are so many people buying clearances with lawyers these days, I would imagine CE would identify these people and get them re-investigated sooner.

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What’s your point based upon this message? I am not sure I understand what you are posting. Care to expound?

“Check out my freehand red highlighting skills. Jealous?!”

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My focus is on the back end of the security clearance process when administrative due process takes place to determine whether to deny or revoke a security clearance based on the derogatory information volunteered by the applicant or discovered by the background investigator. While I have no data to support my opinion that this category will experience a very significant increase in caseload, it is based on the logic that the “dirt” produced by CI will be far more current than what is now produced by waiting 5 or ten years to look at. This means many cases now deemed sufficiently mitigated by subsequent events (or more likely the lack of them) will no longer get a pass by the CAF and will be driven into administrative due process .

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