Pennsylvania residents who apply for jobs with the federal government could end up working with sensitive information. In order to ensure that those applicants can be trusted with that information, the government requires them to apply for and obtain security clearances. The time, money and thoroughness required during the process depends on the type of security clearance required for the position.
Unlike decades ago, people across the country, including many here in Pennsylvania, tend not to remain in one job for 20 to 30 years anymore. Instead, they move around for many reasons such as the need for a new challenge, boredom or a change in direction in life. In any case, having a security clearance under these circumstances can get dicey since each new position may require a "new" clearance. Many people are now saying that it would just be easier for a security clearance to be attached to a person instead of a job.
When Pennsylvania residents apply for federal jobs, they may not immediately consider that who they live with matters. In fact, it could matter substantially if the jobs they apply for require security clearances. The government will want to know about the people in the lives of the applicants.
Many Pennsylvania residents who want to work for the federal government, for federal contractors or the military will not be able to do their jobs without being able to handle classified information. This means that a security clearance is vital. In order to obtain one, it will be necessary to get through the application process, which begins with filling out Form SF86 eQIP.
Inevitably everyone leaves military service. If a Pennsylvania military member with a security clearance intends to enter the civilian job market after separating from the military, it may be a good idea to make sure the clearance remains intact prior to leaving. That clearance could turn out to be the deciding factor in whether a particular candidate obtains a desired position.
Ending a military career or leaving a government job for the private sector? It may be advantageous to make sure to leave with a security clearance. Many civilian companies give preferential treatment to applicants who have active security clearances, which -- right or wrong -- make some Pennsylvania residents more valuable to the private sector than others when applying for jobs.
Working for the federal government often involves hearing, seeing and knowing about certain matters sensitive to the defense of this country. For those employees, including many from Pennsylvania, security clearances are essential in order to be trusted with the type of information that could jeopardize the safety of this country. Recent news stories about the revocation of clearances by the current administration have raised questions for some people.
Periodically, the federal government announces changes in procedures designed to make processes faster and more efficient. One of the recent announcements concerned security clearances. The Department of Defense will be taking over the background investigation function from the Office of Personnel Management. Like many other people throughout the country, many Pennsylvania residents may be wondering how and when that transition will take place.
Working for the federal government or a government contractor can provide a lucrative and satisfying career. However, for many Pennsylvania residents, that means being able to obtain a security clearance. Getting through the application process can cause trepidation, stress and anxiety, especially since they know that their employment could be at stake.
Instead of the Office of Personnel Management, the Pentagon will now conduct background checks and investigations regarding Pentagon and Department of Defense employees (both military and civilian). The goal of this move is to allow OPM to handle the backlogged requests for security clearances, which at present includes applications from some 700,000 people. Approximately 500,000 of those affect Defense Department employees, and the odds are that some may be here in Pennsylvania.