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CHAPTER 2. INVESTIGATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY POSITIONS

1. Types and Scope of Personnel Security Investigations. The following are the types of investigations and coverage for each investigation required for the different levels of security clearances:

SINGLE SCOPE BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION (SSBI)

The SSBI meets the coverage requirements of Executive Order 12968 for Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), and DOE “Q” access.
Coverage includes:

SSDI (Single Scope Update Investigation)
An SSDI is used to update a prior SSBI completed within the last 5 years. It could be used when the subject has had a break in service since the completion date of the previous investigation.
SSGI (Single Scope Upgrade Investigation)
An SSGI is used to upgrade a previous Background Investigation completed within the last 5 years to SSBI standards. It could be used when the subject has had movement from a lower to a higher sensitivity/risk level, and you need to provide additional coverage for that level of sensitivity.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION (BI)

The BI is primarily conducted for High-Risk Public Trust or Non-Critical Sensitive (NCS) positions. Example: Secret clearance for an individual with a position risk designation of High.
Coverage includes:
BDI (Background Update Investigation))
A BDI is used to update a prior BI completed within the last 5 years. It could be used when the subject has had a break in service since the completion date of the previous investigation.
BGI (Background Upgrade Investigation
A BGI is used to upgrade a previous Limited Background Investigation (LBI) completed within the last 5 years to BI standards. It could be used when the subject has had movement from a lower to a higher sensitivity or risk level, and you need to provide additional coverage for that level of sensitivity/risk.

LIMITED BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION (LBI)

Primarily conducted for Moderate Risk Public Trust or Non-Critical Sensitive positions. Example: Secret clearance for an individual with a position risk designation of Moderate with a high range of points as determined by the risk designation process. Coverage includes:

LDI (Limited Update Investigation)
An LDI is used to update a prior LBI completed within the last 3 years. It could be used when the subject has had a break in service since the completion date of the previous investigation.
LGI (Limited Upgrade Investigation)
An LGI is used to upgrade a previous Minimum Background Investigation (MBI) completed within the last 5 years to BI standards. It could be used when the subject has had movement from a lower to a higher sensitivity or risk level, and you need to provide additional coverage for that level of sensitivity/risk.

MINIMUM BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION (MBI)

Primarily conducted for Moderate Risk Public Trust or Non-Critical Sensitive positions. Example: Secret clearance for an individual with a position risk designation of Moderate with a low range of points as determined by the risk designation process. Coverage includes:

NATIONAL AGENCY CHECK AND INQUIRIES (NACI)

Minimum investigation required for non-sensitive/low risk positions.
Coverage includes:

ACCESS NATIONAL AGENCY CHECK AND INQUIRIES (ANACI)

Minimum investigation required for Secret or Confidential clearance under E.O. 12968.
Coverage includes:

NATIONAL AGENCY CHECK WITH LAW AND CREDIT (NACLC)

This is the reinvestigation for a Secret or DOE "L" clearance. Coverage includes:

PERIODIC REINVESTIGATION FOR SSBI (SSBI-PR)

The SSBI-PR meets the requirement for E.O. 12968 for updating the SSBI. Coverage includes:

NATIONAL AGENCY CHECK (NAC)

REIMBURSABLE SUITABILITY INVESTIGATION (RSI)

The RSI consists of a specific issue(s) investigation to resolve pertinent information developed in the background investigation that is not covered in the investigation and needs clarification.

2. Investigative Requirements for National Security Positions. Employees may be considered for access to classified information only when such access is required in connection with official duties. Security investigations provide an assessment of an individual’s potential likelihood to promote the efficiency and integrity of USGS operations and to determine if employment or retention in employment is clearly consistent with the national security. The findings or facts ascertained through personnel security investigations are used for security clearance determinations.

A. Basic Investigative and Reinvestigative Requirements. Required background investigations for placement at each of the national security sensitivity levels are listed below. Investigations must be conducted preplacement unless an incumbent is experiencing a change in position sensitivity as provided for in 2.2.B.(2) below or an authorized waiver has been granted as provided for in 2.2.D. below. See the chart below for a quick reference of required investigations based on security clearances needed.

(1) Special-Sensitive (SS) and Critical-Sensitive (CS) Positions.

(a) Basic Requirements.

(i) Access to Top Secret Information, SCI, and/or DOE “Q” Security Clearance. No person will be appointed, detailed, or assigned to a position designated SS or CS with access to Top Secret information, SCI, and/or requiring a DOE “Q” security clearance until a satisfactorily adjudicated Single Scope Background Investigation, Single Scope Background Upgrade Investigation, or Single Scope Background Update Investigation not more than 5 years old, or updated within the most recent 5-year period, has been completed.

(ii) Access to Secret Information, Confidential Information, and/or DOE “L” Security Clearance. No person will be appointed, detailed, or assigned to a position designated CS with access to Secret information, Confidential information, and/or requiring a DOE “L” security clearance until a satisfactorily adjudicated Background Investigation, Background Upgrade Investigation, or Background Update Investigation not more than 5 years old, or updated within the most recent 5-year period, has been completed. If a DOE “Q” security clearance is required in addition to access to Secret information and Confidential information, an SSBI is required (see 2.2.A.(1)(a)(i) above).

(b) Reinvestigative Requirements.

(i) Access to Top Secret Information and/or SCI. The incumbent of each SS or CS position with access to Top Secret and/or SCI who has been subjected to the Single Scope Background Investigation will be reinvestigated with an SSBI-PR 5 years from the date of the initial investigation or last reinvestigation.

(ii) DOE “Q” Security Clearance. The incumbent of each SS or CS position with a DOE “Q” security clearance will be reinvestigated with an SSBI-PR 5 years from the date of the initial investigation or last reinvestigation.

(iii) Access to Secret Information, Confidential Information, and/or DOE “L” Security Clearance. The incumbent of each CS position with access to Secret information, Confidential information, and/or requiring a DOE “L” security clearance will be reinvestigated with an NACLC 10 years from the date of the initial investigation or last reinvestigation. If the incumbent possesses a DOE “Q” security clearance in addition to access to Secret information and Confidential information, an SSBI-PR is required (see 2.2.A.(1)(b)(i) above).


(2) Noncritical-Sensitive (NCS) Positions.

(a) Basic Requirements. No person will be appointed, detailed, or assigned to an NCS position with access to Secret information, Confidential information, and/or requiring a DOE “L” security clearance until a satisfactorily adjudicated ANACI not more than 10 years old, or updated within the most recent 10-year period, has been completed.

(b) Reinvestigative Requirements. The incumbent of each NCS position with access to Secret information, Confidential information, and/or requiring a DOE “L” security clearance will be reinvestigated with an NACLC 10 years from the date of the initial investigation or last reinvestigation.

Sensitivity *Initial Investigation Required Access Required *Update Investigation Required
Special Access Collateral DOE
SS SSBI within 5 years       SSBI-PR every 5 years
CS SSBI within 5 years   TS Q SSBI-PR every 5 years
BI within 5 years   **S+High Risk (HR) **L +HR NACLC every 10 years
NCS ANACI within 10 years   S L NACLC every 10 years
MBI or LBI within 10 years   S + Moderate Risk (MR) L + MR NACLC every 10 years

*For positions or incumbents having more than one security clearance, the investigation required is always for the highest level of clearance starting at the top of the chart. For example, a position requiring a DOE “Q” security clearance and a Secret security clearance needs an initial SSBI and an SSBI-PR update.

**Positions requiring a Secret and/or a DOE “L” security clearance that are also designated as High Risk as part of the position risk designation (see 1.1.B) require an initial BI and an NACLC update.

B. Prior Investigations and Security Clearances.

(1) General. Prior security clearance determinations granted by Federal agencies automatically terminate when an employee resigns, retires, or transfers to another agency. Additionally, security clearances granted by the Security Management Office are also terminated when the clearance is no longer required by the individual to perform his/her duties. A prior investigation conducted on an individual may meet the prescribed investigative requirements for the reapproval of a security clearance. A check of the Official Personnel Folder will provide information on all previously conducted investigations. This is reflected on the SF 75, Request for Preliminary Employment Data. The following are requirements to grant access to classified information using prior investigations:

(a) If a prior investigation meets the prescribed investigative requirements cited in 2.2.A above, access eligibility up to the same level shall be reapproved without further investigation for the employees who were determined to be eligible based on a favorable adjudication of an investigation, provided they have had no break in Federal employment during the period in question; the employee provides an SF-86C (Figure 2-1), Standard Form 86 Certification, providing all relevant information that has changed since the last background investigation; a 9-3056 (Figure 2-2), USGS Personnel Security Action Request, is completed justifying the need for access; and there is no information that would tend to indicate the employee may no longer satisfy the standards established in E.O. 12968 for access to classified information.

(b) If an individual has retired or otherwise separated from Federal employment, access eligibility up to the same level shall be reapproved for individuals who were determined to be eligible based on a favorable adjudication of an investigation, which meets the prescribed requirements cited in 2.2.A, and who have been retired or otherwise separated from Federal employment for not more than 2 years, provided the employee provides an SF-86C (Figure 2-1), Standard Form 86 Certification, providing all relevant information that has changed since the last background investigation; a 9-3056 (Figure 2-2), USGS Personnel Security Action Request, is completed justifying the need for access; there is no information that would tend to indicate the employee may no longer satisfy the standards established in E.O. 12968 for access to classified information; and an appropriate records check reveals no unfavorable information. The records check should include contacting former employer, contacting former Security Officer, and a check of the Official Personnel Folder.

(2) Incumbent and Other Federal Employees Experiencing a Change in Position Sensitivity.

(a) All USGS employees or employees from other agencies selected for or moving to a position which is at a higher sensitivity designation than that previously occupied position must meet the investigative requirements of the new sensitivity level as cited in 2.2.A. above.

(b) If the sensitivity of the position itself is changed, the incumbent may remain in the position, but the investigation required by the new sensitivity designation as cited in 2.2.A. above must be initiated within 14 working days after redesignation is final.

(c) If an employee under 2.2.B.(2)(a) or 2.2.B.(2)(b) above has received the required investigation for placement in the new position or in the new sensitivity level, a new investigation is not required unless updating is considered necessary because of special circumstances which justify additional investigation.

(3) Former Federal Employees and Other Persons.

(a) Less Than 2 Year Break In Service. If the required investigation as cited in 2.2.A. above has not been previously conducted, the investigation for the sensitivity level of the position applied for or appointed to must be conducted. If a prior investigation meets the prescribed investigative requirements citied in 2.2.A above, no investigation is required, but the individual must provide an SF-86C (Figure 2–1), Standard Form 86 Certification, providing all relevant information that has changed since the last background investigation; a 9-3056 (Figure 2-2), USGS Personnel Security Action Request, justifying the need for access; and there is no information that would tend to indicate the individual may no longer satisfy the standards established in E.O. 12968 for access to classified information.

(b) Over 2 Year Break in Service or No Previous Federal Service. The investigation required by the sensitivity level of the position applied for or appointed to as cited in 2.2.A. above must be conducted. If a BI or SSBI have been previously conducted within the past 5 years, a Background Investigation Update (BDI) can be conducted to update a previously conducted BI, and a Single Scope Update Investigation (SSDI) can be conducted to update a previously conducted SSBI. If an LBI has been previously conducted within the past 3 years, a Limited Background Investigation Update (LDI) can be conducted to update a previously conducted LBI. If an ANACI or MBI is required by the sensitivity level of the position, a new investigation must be conducted.

C. Current USGS Security Clearance. If an individual already possesses a USGS security clearance and is reassigned or transferred into a sensitive position requiring the same level clearance or a lower level clearance, the gaining official supervisor of record must only document the justification for retention of the security clearance on a 9-3056, USGS Personnel Security Action Request, Figure 2-2, through the Regional Security Officer, before the formal reassignment or transfer is final. (See details in Chapter 7, Section 4.) If an individual is reassigned or transferred into a sensitive position requiring a higher level clearance, the investigative requirement in 2.2.A. above must be met.

D. Waiver of preappointment Investigative Requirements. When a waiver of the preappointment investigation requirement is authorized, the appropriate investigation will be initiated within 14 days of placement.

(1) Special-Sensitive (SS) Positions. Waivers are not granted for Special-Sensitive positions.

(2) Critical-Sensitive (CS) Positions. Obtaining a waiver does not provide authorization for access to classified information. The USGS Director may grant a waiver of the requirement for the prior completion of the BI or SSBI for a CS position in an emergency provided that such action is necessary in the national interest. The following steps must be completed:

(a) Form DI-1912, Request for Waiver of preappointment Investigative Requirement for a Critical Sensitive Position, Figure 2-3, will be initiated by the selecting official or official supervisor of record and will go through a second level supervisor to the servicing personnel office.

(b) A justification for the waiver is completed.

(c) Concurrently, the forms required for the investigation (see Appendix B, Security Investigative Form Requirements, and Appendix C, Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions) must be solicited from the individual either by the servicing personnel office if the individual is an outside applicant or by the Regional Security Officer if the individual is an applicant within the USGS.

(d) The forms package must be forwarded to the servicing personnel office for inclusion with the DI-1912 and signature of the DI-1912 by the Servicing Personnel Officer.

(e) Upon signature of the waiver by the Servicing Personnel Officer, the entire package must be forwarded to the Security Management Office. The decision of the Security Management Office will be based on the following checks:

- National Agency Check (available searches without fingerprints);

- Credit records;

- Most recent former employer; and

- Former employing agency’s Security Office (for current and former Federal employees only).

(f) Upon the favorable completion of the above checks, the Security Management Office will recommend that the Director sign the requested waiver.

(g) Upon concurrence of the Director, the DI-1912 and the results of the above actions will be forwarded to the Chief of Employee and Public Services Division, Department of the Interior.

(h) The Security Management Office will notify the originating office and the servicing personnel office when the final approval has been received.

(3) Noncritical-Sensitive (NCS) Positions. Obtaining a waiver does not provide authorization for access to classified information. The Security Management Office may grant a waiver of the requirement for the prior completion of an investigation for an NCS position provided that such action is necessary in the national interest. The following steps must be completed:

(a) Form 9-3059, USGS Request for Waiver of Preappointment Investigative Requirements for Noncritical-Sensitive Positions, Figure 2-4, will be initiated by the official supervisor of record and will be forwarded to the servicing personnel office.

(b) A justification for the waiver is completed.

(c) Concurrently, the forms required for the investigation (see Appendix B, Security Investigative Form Requirements, and Appendix C, Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions) must be solicited from the individual either by the servicing personnel office if the individual is an outside applicant or by the Regional Security Office if the individual is an applicant within the USGS.

(d) The forms package must be forwarded to the servicing personnel office for inclusion with the 9-3059. Upon signature of the waiver by the Servicing Personnel Officer, the entire package must be forwarded to the Security Management Office. The decision of the Security Management Office will be based on the following checks:

- Review of subject SF-86 or equivalent data form;

- Most recent former employer; and

- Former employing agency’s Security Office (for current and former Federal employees only).

(e) The Security Management Office will notify the originating office and the servicing personnel office when the preappointment investigation has been waived.

3. Requesting Personnel Security Investigations.

A. Authorized Requesters. Requests for personnel security investigations will be accepted only from the Regional Security Officers or their designees or alternates for applicants/appointments from within the USGS and Servicing Personnel Officers for outside applicants/appointments. A USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056, Figure 2-2, must be completed initially by the official supervisor of record providing a thorough and unclassified justification for the need for a security clearance and/or Sensitive Compartment Information (SCI) access. The official supervisor of record or selecting official justifying the need for SCI access must be currently approved and briefed for SCI access. If the official supervisor of record does not have SCI access, then another USGS program manager that has SCI access must sign as the individual justifying the need for SCI access. The Regional Security Officer or Servicing Personnel Officer will assure the completion of the 9-3056 and sign as the final approving authority. Instructions for completing the 9-3056 are in the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C.

B. Criteria for Requesting Investigations. Authorized requesters will use the criteria delineated in Chapter 1 above for determining the sensitivity level of the position and the criteria delineated in 2.2 above to determine the type of investigation that shall be requested to meet the investigative requirement of the specific position concerned.

4. Completion and Submission of Investigative Forms.

A. USGS Employees

(1) Official Supervisor of Record or Selecting Official. The following steps will be accomplished. Ensure that an action is initiated to change the final position sensitivity designation level in the Federal Personnel Payroll System (FPPS) as determined by applying the criteria and position designation program cited in Chapter 1.

(a) The official supervisor of record or selecting official must contact his/her Regional Security Officer to obtain instructions for initiating a clearance request. Additionally, the Regional Security Officer will provide the appropriate investigative forms; the Security Investigative Form Requirements, Appendix B, which delineates the forms required and the number of copies of each form for each type of investigation; and the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C, which explains how to complete each form.

(b) The official supervisor of record or selecting official must complete the USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056, Figure 2-2, and provide the investigative forms package and the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C, to the individual.

(c) Once the forms have been completed by the individual, the official supervisor of record or selecting official will forward the 9-3056, which justifies the need for a security clearance, along with all of the completed investigative forms from the individual to the Regional Security Officer in accordance with the Security Investigative Form Requirements, Appendix B.

(2) Individual. The individual must complete all of the investigative forms and follow the instructions provided by the supervisor and those delineated in the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C, for completing each form.

(3) Regional Security Officer. The following steps will be accomplished:

(a) The Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate reviews all the forms prepared by the supervisor and the individual and signs the 9-3056, USGS Personnel Security Action Request, as the final approving authority.

(b) Form FIPC-391, Certification of Amended Investigative Form, Figure 2-5, may be completed and signed by the Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate in lieu of returning the investigative forms to the employee when an employee makes an amendment to the SF-86 and fails to initial the amendment or an amendment needs to be made. Only the questions delineated on the FIPC-391 may be altered or amended. Amendments or alterations made to the investigative document must be consistent with the subject’s intent and must be made with his/her concurrence.

(c) The Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate completes the top portion of the SF-86, “Agency Use Only” section, following the instructions provided in the Security SF-86 and SF-85P “Agency Use Only” Section Instructions, Appendix D.

(d) The Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate assures the original forms and the copies are divided into the separate packages cited in the Security Investigative Form Requirements, Appendix B.

(e) The reviewed and completed investigative forms are transmitted from the Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate to the Security Management Office. All forms must be sent to the Security Management Office within 60 days of the date on the forms. Otherwise, the forms will have to be returned for updating, a new signature, and current date.

(4) Security Management Office. The following steps will be accomplished:

(a) The Security Management Office reviews all justifications and investigative forms submitted by the Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate for completeness and accuracy. If there is a problem with the investigative forms package, the Security Management Office indicates the problems(s) in a memorandum or on a 9-3057, USGS Security Investigative Forms Returned – Unacceptable Notice, Figure 2-6, and returns all submitted investigative forms with the memorandum explaining the problem or the Form 9-3057 to the Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate for correction.

(b) When a request for SCI access is received, the Security Management Office sends the USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056, to the Primary Security Officer to approve the SCI need-to-know justification. The Primary Security Officer will return the completed USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056, to the Security Management Office.

(c) The investigative forms package is sent to the Office of Personnel Management requesting the appropriate investigation.

B. Applicants/Appointments From Outside the USGS.

(1) Servicing Personnel Office. The following steps will be accomplished:

(a) When an applicant/appointment from outside the USGS requires a national security clearance to perform the position duties as reflected in the position description by one of the sensitive position designations, the servicing personnel office will provide the appropriate investigative forms; the Security Investigative Form Requirements, Appendix B, which delineates the forms required and the number of copies of each form for each type of investigation; and the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C, which explains how to complete each form to the individual.

(b) Once the investigative forms have been completed by the individual, the servicing personnel office will review all of the forms prepared by the individual and complete the 9-3056, USGS Personnel Security Action Request, providing a justification for the security clearance.

(c) Form FIPC-391, Certification of Amended Investigative Form, Figure 2-5, may be completed and signed by the Servicing Personnel Officer, in lieu of returning the investigative forms to the individual when an individual makes an amendment to the SF-86 and fails to initial the amendment or an amendment needs to be made. Only the questions delineated on the FIPC-391 may be altered or amended. Amendments or alterations made to the investigative document must be consistent with the subject’s intent and must be made with his/her concurrence.

(d) The servicing personnel office completes the top portion of the SF-86, “Agency Use Only” section, following the instructions provided in the Security SF-86 and SF-85P “Agency Use Only” Section Instruction, Appendix D.

(e) The servicing personnel office divides the original forms and the copies into the separate packages in accordance with the Security Investigative Form Requirements, Appendix B, and forwards the 9-3056 along with all of the reviewed and completed investigative forms from the individual to the Security Management Office. All forms must be sent to the Security Management Office within 60 days of the date on the forms. Otherwise, the forms will have to be returned for updating, a new signature, and current date.

(2) Individual. The individual must complete all of the investigative forms and follow the instructions provided by the servicing personnel office and those delineated in the Security Investigative Form Preparation Instructions, Appendix C, for completing each form.

(3) Security Management Office. The following steps will be accomplished:

(a) The Security Management Office reviews all justifications and investigative forms submitted by the servicing personnel offices for completeness and accuracy. If there is a problem with the investigative forms package, the Security Management Office indicates the problem(s) in a memorandum or on a 9-3057, USGS Security Investigative Forms Returned – Unacceptable Notice, Figure 2-6, and returns all submitted investigative forms with the memorandum explaining the problem or the Form 9-3057 to the servicing personnel office for correction.

(b) When a request for SCI access is received, the Security Management Office sends the USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056, to the Primary Security Officer to approve the SCI need-to-know justification. The Primary Security Officer will return the completed USGS Personnel Security Action Request, 9-3056 to the Security Management Office.

(c) The investigative forms package is sent to the Office of Personnel Management requesting the appropriate investigation.

5. Cancellation of Investigation Prior to Completion. Supervisors must notify their Regional Security Officer, his/her designee, or alternate immediately if for any reason an individual who has an OPM investigation in process no longer needs the background investigation (i.e., no longer a requirement for the security clearance, transfer, resignation, retirement, etc.). The investigation will be canceled, and the account listed on the SF-86 and 9-3056 will be charged the full amount of the investigation if the cancellation is 30 days after initiated by OPM. If the cancellation is within 30 days, there may be a partial charge. The Security Management Office has all cost information for canceling investigations prior to completion.

6. Acquisition of Forms. Personnel security forms are obtained from varying supply sources. Figure 2-7, Personnel Security Forms Supply Sources, provides a list and addresses of these sources.


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U.S. Department of the Interior
, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
URL: http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/handbook/hb/440-7-h/440-7-h-ch2.html
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Content Information Contact: kkevans@usgs.gov
Last modification: 11-Jan-2013@10:51 (kk)
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