SAP clearance question

This isn’t my first rodeo with having a clearance. First job out of school I got a DoD Secret, then after jumping jobs got upgraded to TS. But left that job 15 years ago for a non-defense job. Accepted the offer for a new job in November that requires Secret and SAP clearance.

I’m not at all concerned about the Secret clearance. Having had a TS before and not having had anything happen in the mean time that would have threatened a clearance I’m sure it’ll come through just fine.

But the SAP clearance I have no idea about. There’s a possibility to start the new job before the SAP is granted, but I’m a bit worried about the risk that it could be denied (even for a dumb reason that shouldn’t cause that to happen) as then I’d lose the job and I’d be screwed. I took this job party because it’s local and I really don’t want to move. But if it goes south I am extremely limited in job prospects unless my current employer takes me back (stellar performance reviews but office politics conflicts).

I’ll be working for a prime but on-site at a supplier (the biggest supplier for the program).

I do have a lot of foreign contacts. I think I listed 17 on my E-Qip. A mix of Kiwis (and a Norwegian) from my year as an exchange student in high school, Indians from my current job (I manage our off-shored work), and Canadians from a support group. I do have a college buddy from Germany that I’m in regular contact with that’s living in Vietnam teaching at English immersion schools.

If it matters I’m currently recovering from brain surgery for a neurological condition. The surgery should be a big benefit to my ability to work for the next 10 years as it will let me substantially reduce the medications I take.

So my question is, should I just wait out the SAP clearance or should I negotiate a start date as soon as the Secret clearance is granted.

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FWIW, interim clearance was granted this afternoon. I’ve no idea yet if I will be able start the SAP clearance with the interim, or if I have to await the final clearance. I’m assuming the latter until I hear otherwise. I also don’t know if the company will want to start now. I expect to find that out tomorrow. I emailed my questions on that to my soon to be supervisor but with the time zone difference he was probably already gone for the night.

Previous investigator with over 15 years doing that blah but since have been working in the SAP world. Basically you will be put in for whatever program and go through an approval process for access. It varies on how long it takes. For personnel where I am at they will not be able to do anything until that approval comes through. They MAY be given tasks to do that do not require access or they may just be sitting at home until final approval comes through and they are briefed.

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+1 to it varying. We have non-SAP work that people can do while they wait on the SAP approval.

So, assuming they have sufficient non-SAP work to keep me busy for the 6-8 weeks they said it’s typically taking, how much of a risk would I be taking by starting the job without said SAP approval? Ie, what are the odds it would be denied?

It’s a very needed position, so they won’t deny it on the basis of minimizing the number of bodies on the program. It’s not a “possible need for future work” kind of request, I’d be directly supporting the program as the primary scope of the job.

The only thing that might cause a denial that I can think of is if they dig deeper than the DoD Secret clearance and find something they don’t like. I highly doubt that as there just isn’t much else out there to find. I’m pretty boring. Only thing I can think of is if the neurology stuff worried them. It shouldn’t, but I’m not in that world so I don’t know.

I’ll throw a wrench in your plans.
SAP access usually requires a final clearance.

How likely is it to be denied SAP access? Who knows… It probably depends on the customer as well.
At the secret level, probably unlikely to be denied…

I’m aware it requires a final clearance. Sorry if that was not obvious.

I would ask your prospective employer about whether or not they have collateral work for you to do in the meantime while you wait to get read in. As others have mentioned, they cannot even start the SAP processing paperwork until a final clearance is granted.

Also, not to be a debbie-downer, but having 17 listed foreign contacts, while not necessarily a deal breaker, is going to make the SAP processing take a lot longer. I think 6-8 weeks is an extremely optimistic timeline. In my anecdotal experience, I’ve worked on several SAP programs in my previous jobs with no foreign contacts or other red flags and it typically took me anywhere from 2-6 months to get read in. Every program is different, so it’s hard to make accurate generalizations about timelines.

I did ask and they said it was not possible to start before the SAP clearance comes in.

DoD was only concerned about the Indian contacts. Kiwi, Canadian and European contacts they didn’t seem interested in. Indian guys are work colleagues that have become friends after many years of working together. But none of them are military or government connected, just mechanical engineers.

If my DoD investigator is right on the secret clearance I should have it around 9 weeks after they started. Which is really fast from what I’ve gathered.