The world was forced to pivot to new processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It made us rethink efficiencies and while some things will be changed forever, like having a hybrid approach to work, some things will go back to normal(ish) eventually. We have asked the question previously if the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) will continue virtual background investigations and subject interviews for security clearance applicants. It sounds like things are headed back in the direction of ‘normal’ for DCSA background investigators.
A subscriber on the ClearanceJobsBlog writes:
We received the email yesterday that DCSA is prepping us to go back to in person fieldwork. Anyone have any ideas on just how this is going to work? I have to say, it has been so much easier interviewing sources over the phone as almost 100% of the time they are willing and able to do the interview right away. My hope is that we only have to do in person for subject interviews and records, but that we can be more flexible with doing both in person and telephone fieldwork. One advantage I see to going back into the field is our company will no longer be able to abuse us by flooding us with work all over the country. I for one was getting sick of having enough work to equal a month, and having only two weeks to accomplish the work.
Transitioning to virtual processes proved a critical piece to keeping background investigations moving forward through the pandemic, especially after the strides we made in dwindling down the backlog. Last year, according to DCSA, investigators were still authorized to conduct VTC or telephonic interviews with subjects. They were never just a band-aid solution to the COVID problem, but a business process improvement designed to help investigators do their jobs better and more efficiently.
Other investigators on the blog complain of the workload they’ve been given due to virtual interviewing – this remains a concern among many other fields, but obviously workloads will change when you add in travel to in-person interviews. How will it work? While DCSA has not published official guidance, you can assume that your employer (if a contractor) will update you on next steps. Try to think about a time back to before the pandemic started and how the field looked to you, but like many other pieces of security, a virtual component may stay.
Others on the blog note this Monday, May 16 as their official date back to the field.