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Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) Clearance

Most TTS employees hold moderate risk Public Trust positions. However, for certain projects, partners need TTS employees to have access to classified national security information. These employees need to be granted security clearance eligibility (a.k.a a security clearance) to be able to view this information. This page covers the basics like clearance levels, your clearance status, your clearance obligations, and clearance upgrade requests.

The Center for Development of Security Excellence’s Personnel Security page is GSA’s recommended go-to source to learn about security clearances in depth.

Clearance Levels

There are three national security clearance levels: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. Work deemed Critical Sensitive requires a Top Secret clearance. Special Sensitive work requires access to Sensitive Compartmented Information and therefore a Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance. When TTS employees need a clearance, it is typically a TS/SCI.

*Note that according to the Department of Defense, Public Trust is a type of position, not clearance level, though GSA refers to it as clearance level. GSA does not issue DoD clearances because it does not create classified information.

Your clearance status

Find out your clearance status in HRLinks

  1. Click on the Navigator icon in the top right hand corner
  2. Click on “Click View/Update My Personal Info” icon
  3. Click on “Employee Security Clearance” tab on the left menu

You can also email to check your status.

Your clearance obligations

If you hold a clearance, there are a number of standards of conduct you are expected to follow regarding:

  1. your personal conduct, such as following the need-to-know principle.
  2. self-reporting certain personal activities, like foreign travel.
  3. reporting concerns about co-workers. The Center for Development of Security Excellence’s guide details these obligations on page 15.

Clearance upgrade requests

If you are a TTS employee and need to request TS/SCI clearance:

1. Have your Supervisor fill out out the Security Clearance Upgrade Request form

  • The Security Clearance Upgrade Request form is intended for TTS Supervisors to fill out when requesting an upgraded security clearance for one of their team members. The information gathered will help TTS PeopleOps determine the best way to support and proceed with the Security Clearance upgrade process.

2. Work with your supervisor to complete required documentation

3. Email all documents from Step 2 to the People Ops Team.

The People Ops Team will contact GSA HR Classification and work with HR and the Supervisor to create an updated PD. Once the PD is created, People Ops will submit the package to GSA Security and submit a PAR if applicable.

  • Please note that you can not be placed on this new PD until your security clearance is processed by OPM. You may request a waiver justification to be placed on this PD before the clearance goes through ONLY if your PD is classified as critical sensitive (versus special sensitive)
  • Waiver justifications must be written by the supervisor and approved by the FAS Commissioner (Alan Thomas)

4. HR will review all items and submit to Security

5. You will receive an email asking you to update your eQIP

  • You’ll have 7 days to complete.

6. Once the eQIP is complete, security will review and send to OPM

  • Security will complete this within 1-3 days
  • It will take approximately 8-15 months to complete the top secret (TS) portion, which includes an in-person interview with an investigator.
    • This delay is due to the backlogs at OPM. The SCI portion is controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and can only be requested after the TS is complete. You should plan an additional 4-6 weeks for that process.

7. When a clearance has been approved, the assigned adjudicator from the Security Office will inform you directly and provide you further instructions.