Posted on Jan 15, 2016
SGT Dave Tracy
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I haven't found consistent information on this. When I left Active Duty, on my way out the door, S2 told me that my security clearance (Secret) was good for 2 years after my ETS date; since then, other sources claim 5 or 10 years, and nothing I have found factors in what effect my joining the Army Reserve immediately after Active Duty has on the timeline.

Anyone here have a good answer to this?

If I don't find a solid answer, that's alright with me as it's more a matter of curiosity. I don't need the clearance for anything.

Related sidebar: Soon after I left Active Duty, I got a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but I couldn't start the job for several weeks as they had to conduct their own background check. I was told my (military) security clearance didn't mean anything to them.

Who knew the USDA was so James Bond?!
Posted in these groups: Ts Security ClearanceImgres Employment
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Responses: 34
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
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Edited 4 y ago
Your "Clearance" is a LIGHTSWITCH. It is turned on/off when you are in a Billet that requires said clearance. Your "Investigation" (Like the SSBI = Single Scope Background Investigation) has an Expiration Date.

As an example, when I joined the Marines I had an NAC (National Agency Check) w/ SSBI, My initial investigation for Secret (NAC) was good for 10 years (1994 expired in 2004) but my SSBI was only good for 5 years (1995 expired in 2000, with Periodic Review in 1999 for 5 years expired in 2004). When I got out of the Marines in 2002, my clearance went INACTIVE until I became a Contractor and it was converted from Government to Industrial (same expiration date).

Note: This is me 15-20 years in the future, so much of this may have changed. But generally speaking, you Investigation lasts until expires, your Clearance is good while you are holding a billet that requires it. As you shift jobs, you "may" be required to get different investigations which will change the dates of your investigation expiration out 5-10 years.

Edit: Spelling
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SP5 David Cox
SP5 David Cox
>1 y
Good response, but I'd like to elaborate a bit. I like your description of the clearance as a light-switch. After leaving a billet that requires a clearance, if you move to another cleared position, and if the investigation is still current and if the new clearance has the same requirements, then it seems it is fairly easy to "move" your clearance to the new position. I got my first clearance in 1978 and have worked many different positions since them, so while I'm not a security officer, I do have some experience on the user side. I've never had any problems with transferring my clearance to a new position and it has never taken more than a few months.
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
>1 y
SP5 David Cox - Check. The "Lightswitch" analogy is a very simple one, and it's generally easy to explain. As you leave one room (billet) and move to the next room (billet) turning on/off the switches as you go is almost never a problem. It's usually just a matter of getting read in on the other side, as they determine your need to know, and access level. If you know you'll need it where you are going (and where you are going), the "hallway" (time where you don't have an active clearance) is significantly shorter.
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MSG Intelligence Senior Sergeant/Chief Intelligence Sergeant
MSG (Join to see)
>1 y
Secret is active/ eligible for "read-on" for 10 years from closeout date of investigation; not 10 years from granted clearance date. TS is 5 years from investigation close out date. So many folks think they have 5 or 10 years from the clearance grant date... untrue 5 or 10 years from investigation close out date. See you S-2 who has access to JPAS to pull and interpret your status. Best to you; B
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CAPT Kevin B.
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We got that question all the time when SMs punched out and then presumed their clearance was good going to work for a contractor or other Agency. It never is because it's pulled when you leave the service. If you go to work for a contractor, they have a security office that processes you for a new one. If your skill is urgently needed back at DoD, then the existence of a prior clearance and investigation that's still has a shelf life does aid in getting an interim clearance. However you have to go through the process again. So for all you out there that say you "hold" (current tense) a clearance after you get out are lying on your resume. Use "held" if you need to but most advise against putting that stuff on resumes as they get floated around and identify you as an intelligence target.
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LTC Substitute Teacher
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My understanding is that the clearance is pulled, but the SSBI is valid for 5 years, and NAC for 10, if you take it somewhere else; that the gaining agency ie civilian government or contractor can reactivate if the investigation hasn't expired. Can't say definitively for sure, but I though I knew of people that that applied to. However, I do recall the 2 year limit.
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SGM Robin Johnson
SGM Robin Johnson
>1 y
Your clearance itself is pulled when you leave service (unless you are walking into a job with the same agency and a security manager who was informed early enough and is on the ball to make the appropriate changes.) However, if you reapply within two years you may not need a detailed investigation if your clearance was not expiring within that time, you aren't applying for a higher level clearance, and your file was clean at your last check. They will still do some checking regardless (have go make sure your retirement plan want to sell government secrets, after all) and at a certain level and for certain positions you will still get the full investigation. But, as stated, you'll be able to get an interim clearance easily in most cases.
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SSG Ray Strenkowski
SSG Ray Strenkowski
>1 y
CAPT Kevin B. Partially correct.

When I left the Army, my clearance was in fact turned off. Now, I did start with a contractor (for DoD) prior to my terminal leave ending, but that contractor had to simply transfer my clearance.

No additional investigation required by the Agency/Contractor.

Now, if we're talking CI/LS/FS Poly... You will likely have to complete new CI/LS/FS Poly's every time you change positions and sometimes yearly.

This all gets complicated if you have 'breaks' in cleared work or the clearance has been idle for a significant period of time. This is more complicated by the fact that going from military cleared directly to a civilian cleared DoD job is fairly straightforward - but moving from military to Non-DoD Agency or one civilian agency to another civilian agency can be complicated. Ex. Have Job at Agency A move to job with Agency B ... Agency A may accept you back without additional investigations if under 2 years (differs depending).

As someone stated earlier, each civilian agency does have some differing requirements.

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CAPT Charles Weishar
CAPT Charles Weishar
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LTC (Join to see) - I believe that you are quite correct.
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SFC Ernest Thurston
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I'm amazed at how much discussion and disagreement this topic has caused. There is an AR that has all of the answers (AR 380-67). Take the guess work away and read the reg. Then if you are leaving the military let the security people at the next agency figure it out.
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