The week’s top security clearance news headlines continue to focus on the government’s response to COVID-19. The good news? Background investigators are still at work and background investigations are moving forward despite the coronavirus. The bad news? At least for now, you may not be able to get an interim security clearance or receive a final adjudicative decision if your agency is unable to submit electronic fingerprints.
Here are the top headlines we discuss this week:
1. COVID-19, Your Clearance, and Your Finances: Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), William Evanina, released a statement advising agencies and directorates and reassuring security clearance holders and applicants that coronavirus related financial issues will not result in an adverse security clearance determination. While financial issues are an adjudicative criteria, security clearance denials have always been based on the ‘whole person’ concept – that means that a single issue (even a financial one), should not tank your chances of getting a security clearance. Financial issues beyond your control (like a global pandemic) are a mitigating factor in a final clearance determination.
2. OPM and DCSA Issue Guidance On Moving Clearances Forward Despite Coronavirus: There are currently multiple policy balls in play for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), as it rapidly responds to ensure essential industrial and personnel security missions move forward despite coronavirus. Guidance released last week applies specifically to submitting electronic fingerprints – previously, an investigation would not move forward without electronic fingerprints submitted. That has been an issue because many of the facilities agencies use to collect electronic fingerprints are currently closed. OPM and DCSA announced the investigations can move forward even if electronic fingerprints can’t be submitted.
3. Yes, Your Background Investigator May Video Call You: In a statement, DCSA noted that VTC and phone interview options (which have been in play in some capacity for a few years), are ramping up in light of coronavirus concerns. If you’re wondering if your background investigator is legit, they have a number or email address you can use.