Congratulations – you’ve successfully obtained a security clearance. You recalled your previous seven addresses, your cousin’s wife’s phone number and that one time in you were arrested in college. The days of paperwork and SF-86s are behind you. Or are they?
Periodic reinvestigations currently occur every five years for top secret security clearances and every ten years for secret security clearances. You’ll need to remember the same information you did for your initial investigation, so hopefully you have a paper copy of your original SF-86 stored and ready to review.
Keep track of your investigation date. While the timing may be pushed back due to budget cuts, sometimes failure to conduct a periodic reinvestigation is human error – remind your facility security officer several months before your periodic reinvestigation date, and begin gathering materials then.
Continuous monitoring is the latest proposal in security clearance reform. Continuous monitoring puts the periodic reinvestigation on steroids, taking advantage of social media monitoring and electronic checks to ensure an individual should still have access to classified information. Continuous monitoring is still in the planning phase, but be aware that in the near future, your periodic reinvestigation may not be the only time for issues to come up.
Obtaining a security clearance is an accomplishment – but don’t rest on your laurels. Maintain your good character and be sure you’re holding yourself to a high standard all of the time – not just when you’re under investigation.