When Should I Be Concerned

I am currently in the process for a TS SCI non-contractor position for a full time role within the IC. It has been a little over 18 months since I submitted the SF86. I recently graduated college and have a good background, but not perfect. Certainly nothing disqualifying or eyebrow raising, but like I said not perfect. I also have zero foriegn contacts and have not had the pleasure of being divorced or anything messy like that.

I was curious as to when I should start to become concerned with the elapsed time. Is 24 months from submitting SF86 the general consensus? Thank you.

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Some become concerned long before they reach 18 months and other never become concerned at all. We are unique. There’s no average time to clear OR to get concerned. Have you had a poly or interview yet? The IC community is pretty closed mouth and there are some here who have waited years without word. I don’t think those agencies want to have people know what will get you rejected right away and you can get by with. They are, by design, pretty opaque.

Now . . . We might have to know what “not perfect” means . . . Your idea of not perfect might be exclusionary to others.

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18 months isn’t terribly unusual BUT it could be something else, like the contractor doesn’t have work for you or they lost the contract or something else unrelated to your particular case.

You say it has been 18 months since you submitted the SF86… have you had any contact at all? An interview with an investigator, word from friends that they were contacted, followup for additional info… anything like that?

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I have had poly, medical, interview with investigator and many of my refernces have been contacted. That all happened in the summer of 2018. I was under the impression my investigation closed until I was called 6 months ago with a request for additional refernces around a job I held in college. I gave them three more and two of them were interviewd by the investigator within a day or so. Radio silence since.

Also, this is not a contract position. It is a full enployee role.

The role is for a federal agency

Sounds like you are moving forward in the process. Adjudication can take 2 weeks. Or it can take 8 months. Or 2 years. Actually had a guy stuck in the system that long. Almost 36 months total.

It was 3 years in November since my investigation was opened.

Hang in there Bishop. I know it is frustrating.

Hello Amberbunny2,

I’m curious to know why adjudication takes so long. At this phase, the investigation is complete correct? All that is left is for an adjudicator to apply the whole-person concept to the applicant and make the decision to either grant or deny clearance correct? I cannot understand why that would take so long…

I’ll share my completely unsubstantiated theory here once again: keeping in mind that there are adjudication timelines they are supposed to shoot for, something like the fastest 90 percent should be completed in an average of less than two weeks or whatever it is, they have to manage their workload with some planning. Also they are still clearing out the ‘backlog’ of investigations which has led to a backlog of adjudications.

So my theory is that they do a quick pre-screen and if there is anything questionable at all, these files get diverted, and the cleanest cases get released to adjudicators first… this assumes that files/cases do not instantly get released to adjudicators as soon as the investigation is complete. So those squeaky clean cases get assigned first. Then they look at the rest, and the more complicated cases get assigned carefully so that no single adjudicator gets bogged down with too many difficult decisions.

I call this “adjudication triage.” But it would explain why some people have their cases adjudicated incredibly fast.

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I can’t argue with anything above but, just because an investigation closes, that doesn’t mean that there is an adjudicator sitting with nothing to do just waiting for the file to be placed in his inbox. When investigations are complete, there is further review for completeness and those guys aren’t just sitting there waiting either.

So, that’s the first point . . . Each step involves a wait before the case is assigned.

At the adjudication phase, I doubt that there is only one step there either. My guess is that there are at least three or four steps through adjudication. Reviews that are designed to keep “all things equal”. Basically, quality assurance/control reviews so that, as much as possible, decisions are the same from case to case and over time.

This is a complex process. The inability to see inside is, largely, done on purpose. It makes it harder to game the system.

I’m not sure that the complicated files get put aside. They just take longer at every step.

Then, of course, if they decide to deny you and issue an SOR, you have another series of steps where one lawyer writes up the SOR draft and then this is reviewed again . . . several times . . .


The thing to keep in mind is that each case is a stand alone case. Each has its own issues, level of complexity, and what agency is submitting them also comes into play. If it is for a lower level yet highly cleared function such as a grass cutter (yes there are TS cleared grass cutters) it may move faster…or slower based on the person’s background. I think both Squirrel and Ed summed it up. This is why it is hard to compare one person’s clearing time to the next. Just an endless amount of variables.