Obtaining Security Clearance
Security clearance is what allows a person to work in a certain field and gives them the ability to view classified information. It is needed for certain United States government and military jobs and requires extensive research and background information on the applicant. In order to obtain security clearance there a quite a few steps one must go through.
One of the first steps that is taken is a credit check of the individual. Poor credit scores reflect on the character of the person and does not give off a reliable and trustworthy impression. Criminal background, well-known references, and mental health are all looked at when attempting to get security clearance, as well. The government basically does an over all look at the individual’s personality and history to make an educated decision on whether or not that person can be trusted with such serious responsibilities. Once the first few primary steps have been taken and passed with success, fingerprints are taken and kept in the records for past and future reference.
There are three different levels of classified information: confidential, secret, and top secret. The difference in these categories is described by how serious the information is and how compromising to our country it could potentially be if fallen into the wrong hands. Therefore, the process to obtain these ascending levels of clearance is more in depth and extensive.
In some cases, the person needed security clearance may not work for the government but their job requires them to be in locations with classified information or the company they work for may work in conjunction with the government. For example, the insurance companies that work with the military and their families require certain personnel to have security clearance because their job deals with the insurance provided by the military.
The process of obtaining security clearance must be repeated every few years in order to stay updated. Since it takes a few months to get approval of security clearance, the renewal process should be started within six months to a year in advance of the expiration of the current clearance to ensure that there is no gap in coverage.
Security clearance is especially important to the safety of our country by keeping enemies out and only allowing loyal and trustworthy citizens in. Though it may seem as the government is peering deeply into the past and researching private life events, it is for the best of the nation and will continue to keep order within this process.