Federal Government (OPM-FISD Investigators)
Your clearances are handled by your department’s or agency’s security office. The investigative process is similar to that as described for government contractors but with just a few different actors involved.
In February 2005, the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Service (DSS) divested itself of its personnel security investigations (background investigations) functions. DSS no longer conducts background investigations on government contractors (private-sector) or civilian DoD employees & military personnel. All of the former DSS background investigators were transferred over to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM.)
In February 2005, OPM created the Federal Investigative Services Division (FISD.) FISD is now responsible for conducting approximately 90% of all federal background investigations for the DoD and 90 other federal departments and agencies.
FISD’s investigative staff of approximately 2,500 is deployed around the country in 3 regions (Western, Central and Northern). The former Capital Region included the Washington, DC metropolitan area (DC, MD & VA.) Each region is comprised of local field offices which cover every geographic location in the United States. Each field office is broken down into groups or “teams” of investigators. Each team covers a specific geographic area that is assigned to that particular field office. A “team” of investigators usually consists of anywhere from 10 to 20 investigators, but it varies from region to region. Every team is lead by a supervisor or SAC (Special Agent-in-Charge), usually a GS-13. The SAC conducts team meetings, assigns & reviews cases, provides assistance to field investigators and initiates disciplinary actions & proceedings against personnel.
OPM’s FISD investigators receive on-the-job training from experienced investigators in their assigned duty office. This takes place in the form of a new agent mentoring program. Their training culminates with a formalized classroom instructional program in Boyers, PA. After graduating from Boyers, PA, new agents or investigators are back at their assigned duty office to begin working their case loads on their own.
FISD investigators are classified as general investigators by federal regulations. They are not criminal investigators. They belong to the 1810 Series (General Investigators.) They do not carry a firearm nor are they authorized to make arrests. Many of them are consigned to the general investigator series their entire career because they were unable to transition into the 1811 Criminal Investigator Series. 1811 Series Criminal Investigators have more prestige and better pay & retirement/compensation packages. FISD investigators mainly perform an information gathering function in the security clearance process.
Depending on your clearance requirement, you will be interviewed by an OPM investigator (FISD or contractor.) A Report of Investigation (ROI) will be submitted to DOD CAF for adjudication if you’re a contractor in the NISP. All other ROIs are submitted for adjudication at their respective military CAFs (Central Adjudication Facilities) and other federal agency & departmental security offices.