So you have a Top Secret clearance and want to apply for a Secret Service position that requires the same or lower level of clearance; no problem under the rules of reciprocity, right? Wrong! The Secret Service is one of the few exceptions when it comes to an agency being required to accept the security clearance decisions of other agencies.
U.S. military personnel and government contractors support operations all over the world, and quite of a few of them work hand in hand with one or more of the 26 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries. Some of this work involves information that is classified, thus the appropriate level of clearance must be granted. Does that mean in order to get access you have to undergo another background investigation? The answer is no. Each country is responsible for ensuring their personnel are vetted and investigated at the appropriate level before being granted access to classified information. They must also follow the NATO Security Agreement that outlines the rules for clearance and access to NATO classified information The security office for each nation provides the clearance information to NATO for input into a central registry, however, before being granted access to NATO classified information, you must first undergo a NATO security briefing. Here are the different types of NATO classifications and what they mean:
Everyday immigrants from all over the world legally enter the United States to live and work as permanent resident aliens. Eventually, after meeting residency requirements, they apply for and are granted U.S. citizenship. This now opens the door to becoming eligible for a security clearance and many who work on contracts or directly for the government undergo a background investigation, are cleared, and then granted access to classified/sensitive information or facilities. There is no problem here, right? They are, after all, now U.S. citizens.
In 2010 the Office of Personnel Management introduced an updated Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86), while at the same time it was transitioning from the hard copy to electronic submission of the form through e-QIP. Now that the transition is complete, there are still numerous questions and confusion about how to answer certain questions on the form. This confusion usually revolves around the different timelines asked for (10 years, 7 years, EVER), types of offenses, relatives and references, foreign national contacts, and financial information.