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Human Resources and Security Specialists should use this tool to determine the correct investigation level for any covered position within the U.S. Federal Government.
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The timeliness of a background investigation depends on the type of investigation conducted. Depending on the type of background investigation, the scope of the investigation may require coverage for specific items.
The need for a security clearance may affect the time period in which an investigation is completed. Each background investigation requires that certain areas are covered before an investigation is completed.
The interests of national security require that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States. This means that the appointment of each civilian employee in any department or agency of the government is subject to investigation. The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm that an individual in that position could cause.
The requirement to be investigated applies whether or not the position requires a security clearance (in order to have access to classified national security information).
The Office of Personnel Management has no procedure for an individual to independently apply for an investigation, positions maintained by contractor, or security clearance. Clearances are based on investigations requested by Federal agencies, appropriate to specific positions and their duties. Until a person is offered such a position, the government will not request or pay for an investigation for a clearance. Once a person has been offered a job (contingent upon satisfactory completion of an investigation), the government will require the person to complete a Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, initiate the investigation, adjudicate the results, and issue the appropriate clearance.
We know that some Defense Department contractors require applicants to already have a clearance, and they have the right to administer their personnel hiring procedures the way they want as long as they don't discriminate based on prohibited factors (such as race or religion). Persons who already have clearances are those who are already employed by a government contractor (or by the government itself) and are looking for other job opportunities.
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