Department of Energy

Security Tenure

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This idea -- Security Tenure -- applies to the government-wide personnel security clearance arena, particularly for Top Secret and Q clearances requiring a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). The government wastes far too much money on five-year SSBI updates, and also wastes money through lack of effective security clearance reciprocity among agencies.

 

I recommend that any federal employee or contractor who serves 10 years in a classified billet requiring an SSBI be granted Security Tenure, subject to a simplified approval process involving their department's personnel security and/or counterintelligence staff. Individuals with Security Tenure will not be subject to reinvestigation every five years. Rather, they will be prompted to periodically report any changes in personal status -- marriage, divorce, birth/adoption of children, change of address, etc. -- via a secure website.

 

Any person with Security Tenure will be presumed to be a responsible, trustworthy, security-conscious employee. As such, he/she will be granted full reciprocity with regard to transfers, details, and job changes. If agencies wish to add supplementary clearance requirements, e.g., a polygraph, that is their prerogative. But the current background investigation status of personnel with Security Tenure will be accepted by all agencies without question. This will greatly facilitate hiring and transfers within the classified world.

 

I believe Security Tenure will eliminate the need for SSBI five-year updates for a huge percentage of the classified workforce, saving a great deal of money currently expended on federal and contractor investigators. It will also enable workforce reductions in the personnel security departments within many federal agencies.

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Idea No. 7273