Continuous Evaluation (CE) is continuing to roll out across the security clearance population, with nearly one third of all security clearance holders now under the Department of Defense’s continuous evaluation program. After more than a year of little movement in adding new personnel, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) has big plans to move more individuals into CE in 2020.
What is Continuous Evaluation?
While the government has been vague with the details, those under continuous evaluation can expect the government to be monitoring public records, particularly financial and criminal records. Social media or online postings are fair game, but it’s unclear what online activity would flag a clearance holder. The government has also made it clear that as of today, social media monitoring is not a part of its official CE program. But as the government continues to explore what social records will play a role in CE, defense contracting companies are already rolling out their own continuous monitoring programs, and social media is one of many criteria used in most commercial monitoring programs.
What About Periodic Reinvestigations?
Periodic reinvestigations are already beginning to go away. Individuals rolled into CE (no, you likely won’t be notified if you are one of them), no longer have regular periodic reinvestigations, but investigations triggered by adverse information flagged under CE. That’s why the correct implementation of CE is so important – the government is counting on its system to find and flag the kind of information that would have previously come up during a PR.
What Happens if I Have a Violation?
Not every trigger under CE leads to a full investigation. Once an alert is made (most often due to a credit report or foreign travel), it’s validated. Just 10% of all alerts prove valid and then move onto a security officer for review.
What does this mean for security clearance holders? Being proactive about self reporting issues is important. Just because CE is flagging issues, doesn’t mean your obligation to report potential security violations goes away. If you’re facing financial difficulties, going through a significant personal change, or planning overseas travel – all of these things should be reported to your security officer. It’s better for you to report a problem to your security officer than for the government to find it through CE.