For years the number of active federal security clearances was a matter of speculation. Security clearance reform included new reporting requirements, which enables us to see trends in how many security clearances have been granted over the past several years. The number of security clearances was reported to congress beginning in 2010 through an annual Office of the Director of National Intelligence report. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 numbers were published in a recently released Office of Management and Budget report.
The number of federal employees with secret or public trust security clearances is more than four times greater than the number of cleared government contractors. The number of cleared federal employees has also inched up steadily over the past four years, while the number of cleared contractors with secret clearances has been relatively flat.
In contrast, the number of top secret security clearances held by government contractors is much more closely in-line with the number of government employees with top secret security clearances. Both numbers are significantly lower than the number of public trust and secret security clearances, although the cost for obtaining the higher-level clearances is significantly greater.