Security clearance?

Discussion in 'The Dungeon' started by andy342, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. andy342

    andy342 Well-Known Member

    Who here has gone through the steps to get one?

    How do I get it?

    Do I have to be former military? How long does it take? Is it expensive?

    I'm looking at defense related jobs in California, and a requirement for 'secret' clearance keeps coming up.

    Anyone? Help me all knowing WERA board!
  2. charles

    charles The Transporter

    You can't get one, i.e. you personally can not apply.

    The (prospective) employer has to apply for you; start with a position not requiring a security clearance, and then apply for a position (for which you are qualified) in the organization that requires the clearance. It takes a long time to get the clearance, so you need to do some planning...
  3. intrcptrrdr

    intrcptrrdr Well-Known Member

    some of the contractors that work for us (the DOE) will start the process for a well qualified can take any where from 6 months to a year, depending on the level of clearance being sought.
    furthermore, if you have any detrimental information in your background, pot/drugs, arrests, lots of speeding tickets, will not even be considered for a full investigation, let alone being granted a clearance.
  4. BB

    BB Member

    not necessarily the case about drugs. depends on the timeframe really. if you've been smoking pot a year ago, don't bother. 10 years ago and it probably won't matter. if you have bad credit or owe lots of money, they probably won't clear you.
  5. CharlieY

    CharlieY Well-Known Member

    I've carried a secret clearance for decades, along with several program clearances. A secret is like an umbrella, then you get briefed on the specific program(s) you will be working.

    Charles is correct, you cannot personally apply. The employer will apply for you when the candidate is selected.

    Basically, they mention it before hand to avoid someone applying that KNOWS they will not make the grade.

    If you are not a felon, no DUI, and have decent credit, etc....just apply for the jobs and state on your resume something like "Have never held a clearance, but should not have a problem achieving one"....if of course, that is the truth.

    Most go back 7 years, Top Secret 13 years.....have you been a good boy?:D

    Good luck.
  6. Ides

    Ides Well-Known Member

    CharlieY covered most of the general points regarding a clearance.

    From my experience, a secret DOES NOT make it any easier for you to acquire a TOP SECRET clearance.

    A common problem is people get cleared through a company and that person jumps ship. From the company's/agency's perspective, there goes anywhere from 3 months to 2.5 years of the clearance process + 15-40,000 dollars (+salary if they're on overhead / no interim clearance) down the drain.

    An unwritten rule is you're generally going to stay with that company who cleared you. Of course, you can do what you want. However, the pool of people for your given occupation be small (with a clearance). Word can get around.

    Also, each agency CIA/DoD/NSA/etc have their own clearance criteria requirements. Just because you get cleared at one agency doesn't mean you can transfer it over to another. A general rule of thumb is it will not. Gotta start the process all over again.

    A lot of people in the DC/Metro area are former military. Did the same job while they were military, retired, doing the same thing as a civilian.

    I have no idea about the competition out in California, but in DC people will fight over someone w/ a clearance because of the overhead for getting cleared has already been done.
  7. Jed

    Jed mellifluous

    I went through the hoops of a TS even though the job I was hired for only required secret. Seems they gave me the wrong questionnaire and decided to run with it anyway. If you're hired you'll get an interim clearance after the initial checks. Then if further background checks are required they'll perform them (TS clearance generally). These take up to a year to complete.

    Once you're cleared you're golden. The unsubstantiated rumor at my previous employer was that it cost them around $80k for a TS clearance for a new employee without a military background. But once you have the clearance it stays with you and you can use it for other employers as long as it's sanctioned by the same agency.
  8. charles

    charles The Transporter

    Now, don't tell anyone else, Andy342, but...I can print up a security clearance for you that will knock your socks off! For only $ 25,000 (cash, please) this could be yours, and I'll throw in a secret 'decoder ring', several passwords (in case you get questioned), and a 'get out of jail free' card from MACV-SOG! With my set-up, youll be able to walz into any secure facility with no problemos or requisition C130 cargo planes for your personal travel. Hurry, this offer expires at 2400 hrs tonight. And don't forget- keep this to yourself- small leaks sink big ships.
  9. RCjohn

    RCjohn Killin machine.

    Time frames for investigation changes depending on who is granting the clearance also. They are expensive but the companies are going to bill the Government for it if it's for the government. I've held a DoE "L" or "Q" clearance since 94. The "L" clearance is sort of a Secret clearance and the "Q" is basically a Top Secret. In DoE the "Q" more or less gives you access to anything you have the need to know. If you hold an "L" clearance then upgrading to a "Q" is just a few short months. "L" requires and 7 year past check and "Q" requires 10 years. Both require a re-investigation every 5 years(IIRC). I currently don't need the Q so they downgraded mine to L and place the Q on dormant status. Takes about a month to bump it back up. So with DoE it does make a Q easier if you already have an L. They just have to go back 3 more years into your past. :up:

    Military service/clearance has no bearing at all on the DoE clearance. Although they do exchange more information than they use to. When I first got my clearance the DoE and DoD wouldn't exchange any info but when they bumped mine up to Q the investigator said that the two Departments now work with each other for information. Military service can actually slow things down with the investigation part(if you were in something special or travelled to sensitive countries) but you will never notice that. The actual investigation doesn't take long at all... just a few weeks at most. It's the long ass wait for the powers that be to process all of the document after the FBI's contract investigators(was the FBI, not sure if they still do it) send in the documents.

    Investigations are part of doing business so a clearance does not obligate you to stay with the company and the clearance can go with you if the new employer has a need for keeping it. But, as mentioned it's a small world out there. Be careful burning bridges. We don't hold it against someone if they leave after getting a clearance. It's not something we pay for. We aren't allowed to pay for it, the DoE has to pay for it because they "own" the clearance.

    Most of what I've said is based on discussions with investigators. None of the processes other than timeframes can be verified so I'm just taking their word for it and it only applies to the DoE. My military clearance was something I never really knew much about other than I had it before I started Nuclear Power School.

    A security clearance is a good thing to have. Makes you more marketable in the government contracting world.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  10. Orvis

    Orvis Well-Known Member

    Andy342, beware of this guy called "Charles." I've seen his work before. He'll draw you in, take your money, then leave you to the vultures from the NSA who will pick your bones clean. :)

    All security clearances are based on the "need to know." Even if you have a high security clearance gaining access to something that you aren't working on will usually not be possible. Even the Joint Chief of Staff (with a Top Secret clearance, or higher) would not have access to say, the movement orders for some unit in the field unless he became involved directly with that unit. It's a complicated situation.

    The link is to a site that explains clearances for the Military.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  11. andy342

    andy342 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I have a spare $25k laying around, where do you want it delivered? :Poke:

    I used to build and test MILES gear at one job. I'd like to do something like that again. Either that, other weapons, or maybe unmanned aircraft. Something where I can use my electronics degree.
  12. buxton

    buxton Southern Canadian

    Is this the Andy342 formally from WI?

    The one that had trouble with the bus stop at BHF?

    Dawn :up:
  13. Super Dave

    Super Dave Exhausted and Abused

    Yeah, Andy!

    Haven't heard from him in a while.

    Andy, you on Facebook?
  14. charles

    charles The Transporter

    You might find gainful employment up around Islamabad or in Swat Valley.
  15. charles

    charles The Transporter


    The mansion has many rooms.:up:

    GAMBLER Neard supporter

  17. Orvis

    Orvis Well-Known Member

  18. xrated

    xrated Well-Known Member

    In most cases, the process for getting a "Q" clearance has been sped up quite a lot over the last year or so. From start to finish, it took me approx. 3 1/2 months to get mine. Of course I didn't have a lot of "background" to check either, like some of the guys that I work with.
  19. RCjohn

    RCjohn Killin machine.

    That's good to hear. My upgrade was quick like that. I've never heard of any new clearance going through that quick even before 911. Sounds like they upped the staff in DC. :up:
  20. xrated

    xrated Well-Known Member

    Actually, the main area, from what I understand is in Los Alamos, NM...not Washington DC. Just to clarify what I meant by not having a lot of background to check, I worked 30 years at one place and never lived more than 40 miles from where I was born and raised until I moved to TN in 2006. Some of the guys that I hired in with, had worked multiple jobs with different contractors (outside locals and travelling), as well as having served in the military and having been overseas for that. They check it all out and know that answers to the questions before they ask you.....looking for the truth.

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