The terms active, current and expired cause a lot of confusion. Your clearance is active as long as you’re in a job requiring access to classified information. The moment you leave that position or contract, your clearance is no longer active, it’s considered current – assuming your investigation hasn’t expired. Obtain another cleared position within two years, and your clearance can be reactivated without a new investigation. And that can save you months, particularly considering the widespread delays facing security clearance applicants today.

Is My Investigation Expired?

Periodic reinvestigations currently occur every five years for top secret security clearances and every ten years for secret security clearances. 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.

The push for insider threat reform and continuous evaluation could put an end to the periodic reinvestigation completely. Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 5 established the criteria for cyber vetting in background investigations. Along with the replacement of JPAS with the Defense Information System for Security (DISS), and clearance background investigations could become both much more robust – and more digital. With enhanced monitoring and the ability to tap into a variety of online databases, the need for a lenghty

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.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer