In the interest of safeguarding the welfare of the American people, all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the United States Government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States. Regulations require background investigations on each Federal employee as a condition of employment.
The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and degree of harm that could be caused to the national security by the individual in that position. Security requirements are listed in the position’s job announcement. Previous background investigations conducted for civilian, military or contractor employment may not meet the security requirements of your offered position, thus requiring a new investigation through the current investigation process.
A security clearance is different than a suitability review. A security clearance is designed to determine eligibility for access to classified and/or national security information and entails an evaluation of whether an individual may be a potential security threat. The security clearance process typically includes a subject interview, an FBI reference check of former employers, co-workers, friends, neighbors, landlords, and schools along with a review of credit, tax, and police records.
Suitability requirements apply whether or not the position requires a security clearance to have access to classified and/or national security information. The suitability review is an evaluation of a person’s character traits and conduct to decide whether that individual is likely to act with integrity and efficiency in their job. The suitability review focuses on the individual’s personal conduct, the security clearance is more extensive and also looks into the conduct of associates, relatives, and other contacts.