The Department of Interior is among a number of agencies which issue their own security clearances. Because a relatively small pool of personnel obtain clearances through the Department of Interior, it’s often not a source of much concern. You’re more likely to be weeded out of a Department of Interior position through suitability issues than through the Personnel Clearance (PCL) process.
If you’re transferring from a cleared position in one agency into a position with the Department of Interior, reciprocity guidelines should apply – but that doesn’t mean the agency won’t want to run a new investigation of its own. The topic recently came up at the ClearanceJobsBlog Discussions Forum:
I have an DoD secret approved in 2013. I had a DHS SSBI approved for TS in August 2015. The SSBI was for a internship. Now I have a TO for the Department of Interior LE (Law Enforcement) position. They said my previous investigations were too old. The position required a T3 Secret investigation. They initiated the new T3. How long should I expect? Could I get a temporary security clearance?
There are a few issues presented here, including reciprocity, the status of previously held clearances and the possibility of an interim security clearance being issued. Forum moderator Marko Hakamaa responded:
Under reciprocity guidelines the the SSBI investigation could be used to grant a Secret without having to complete a new investigation. That being said, LE positions have additional checks that are coded in when the investigation is submitted, so that is probably why they are having a new one done.Interior has a pre-appointment checklist waiver process for bringing people on in LE positions. The good thing is that Interior grants their own clearances, so once they have completed that they will most likely let you know if you are eligible for an interim.
If you apply for a position with the Department of the Interior, the good news is the suitability screening will be the bigger hurdle to jump through. Suitability guidelines for certain agencies can often be more stringent than the background investigation itself. The idea is an agency doesn’t want to spend time vetting an applicant who won’t make the cut. This kind of aggressive employment screening may seem discriminatory, but in the case of national security positions, the typical protections don’t apply.
As an applicant, consider that to be a positive – you won’t waste your time moving forward through an application process. And if you meet the suitability requirements, the clearance will likely be an adminsitrative hurdle. And because the Department of Interior isn’t a part of the massive OPM backlog, the clearance process could move forward in weeks, rather than months.