DOD: 'Clearances do not expire'

Despite the recent pause in processing security clearances, a Defense Department official said last week that clearances do not expire.

When DOD suddenly halted the processing of security clearances in the spring because of fiscal constraints, many contractors, including those who were due for periodic reinvestigations (PRs), were caught in limbo.

Their security clearances were not updated and some DOD organizations consequently denied contractors access to classified data and the jobsite.

As a result of complaints from contractors and lawmakers, the Pentagon found $26 million and resumed processing secret-level and higher clearance applications.

On July 10, the Defense Security Service’s Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office resumed accepting applications for all types of personnel security investigations. It also took several steps to shorten the process.

To further break the clearance log jam caused by confusion about PRs, Robert Andrews, deputy undersecretary of Defense for counterintelligence and security, issued a memo last week to all departments underscoring that personnel security clearances do not expire.

He said contractor employees are eligible to access classified information if they are currently eligible under the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS). Andrews directed all queries regarding individual clearances and investigation data to JPAS.

Among those welcoming the memo was Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.), whose district includes New London, Conn., where the Electric Boat shipbuilding facility and related defense contractors are located.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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