With Congress’ failure to pass a continuing resolution prior to the cut-off of midnight Sept. 30, agencies operating with appropriated funds have been shutdown. Fortunately for those applying for a security clearance, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s contingency plan indicates that employees in Facilities, Security and Contracting will work during a furlough. OPM processes the vast majority of personnel security clearances.
The government provides a legal definition of ‘exempted activities,’ where obligating funds may be incurred for national security and the protection of life and property. Security clearance investigations, based on the information released, appears to fall under that umbrella. That said, investigators could meet more difficulties in actually completing investigations, particularly if they’re looking to verify employment or contact federal offices as a part of their investigations. So while your investigation may still be processed, it will likely encounter delays.
Defense contractors awaiting a facility security clearance will be on-hold until Congress passes a budget or continuing resolution. The Defense Security Service released a memo today noting that National Industrial Security Program (NISP) facility security clearances will cease during the shutdown, as well as other related activities.