In August of 2012 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), in collaboration with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM,) approved National Training Standards for individuals performing background investigations, national security adjudications, and suitability adjudications. The overall objective of NTS certification is to equip all personnel performing work for the government as background investigators and adjudicators with the necessary tools and knowledge to conduct and adjudicate National Security and Public Trust investigations.
Due to an ongoing investigation conducted by the Department of Justice and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the current Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Admiral Ted Branch, has had his security clearance suspended for the past 9 months. According to information in an article posted recently on Federal News Radio, Branch is part of an investigation into the bribery scandal involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia which has thus far resulted in charges against the company owner, three Navy officers, one retired officer and one NCIS agent.
Can individuals access classified national security information without having undergone the background investigation process and been granted a security clearance? Normally the answer is no, but there are certain instances where the requirement is waived. Here are some of the exceptions:
The President and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives do not undergo the normal background investigation process and are not granted security clearances. They may be granted access to classified information relating to matters under the jurisdiction of the respective committees to which they are assigned and if access is needed to perform their duties in connection with such assignments. This does not apply to their staff members, who are required to undergo the investigation and clearance process just like everyone else.
Despite the fact that in today’s high tech society nearly everyone has instant access to a sea of information via the internet, an important requirement for males living in the U.S. is quite often overlooked or discounted. The Selective Training and Service Act instituted in 1940, temporarily suspended in 1975, and then reenacted again by President Carter in 1980, and known today as the Military Selective Service Act requires all U.S. males and legal immigrants born January 1, 1960 who are between the ages of 18-26 to register. According to the Selective Service System, a 2013 survey revealed that 93% of the male population required to register have done so. That leaves 7% who have not.