For the past two years, the Defense Security Service (DSS) has been advising security officers to submit periodic reinvestigations for Tier 5 (Top Secret) investigations at the 6 year mark, rather than 5 years. The move was an effort to reduce the growing security clearance backlog, and allow the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to make initial investigations a priority. Like most directives, however, implementation has created confusion across some offices. Security officers who merely look at the date without the context of the policy directive may have refused access to individuals with out of scope investigations, despite numerous policy memos noting that security clearance eligibility doesn’t expire if the candidate remains in-access.
In a sign the government aims to keep the 6-year PR rather than move back to 5 years, the Pentagon recently issued guidance clarifying that access to Special Access Programs (SAP) may continue even if investigations are past 6 years.
Previously, the personnel requirements for SAP were: