A National Agency Check (NAC) is the minimum investigative requirement for final clearance up to SECRET and for interim clearance up to TOP SECRET for certain categories of personnel. An NAC is also an integral part of a background investigation. A prior NAC or investigative equivalent meets this requirement, so long as it was completed within the 12-month period immediately preceding the initiation of the background investigation. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) also conducts NAC's with written inquiries (NACI's) which consist of checks of national agencies plus written inquiries to appropriate law enforcement offices, former employers and supervisors, references, and schools.
As a minimum, three agencies are included in each complete NAC; however, an NAC may also include a check of any or all of a number of other agencies. Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII) records consist of an alphabetical index of personal names and impersonal titles that appear as subJects, co-subJects, or cross-referenced incidental subjects, in investigative documents held by the criminal, counterintelligence, fraud, and personnel security investigative activities of the three military departments, the National Security Agency, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and DIS. The DCII is checked on all SUBJECTS of DIS investigations.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters (FBI HQ) files contain security, applicant, and criminal investigations conducted by the FBI. A Federal Bureau of Investigation Identification Division (FBI ID) check is a technical fingerprint search, which consists of a classification of the SUBJECT's fingerprints and comparison with fingerprint cards submitted by law enforcement agencies concerning persons arrested, charged, or convicted of criminal activity. If the fingerprint card is not classifiable, a "name check only" of these files is automatically conducted.
An Expanded National Agency Check (ENAC) consists of investigative inquiries (record reviews and/or interviews), as necessary, to determine if investigative issues are present or to substantiate or disprove unfavorable information disclosed during the conduct of an NAC.
A Background Investigation (BI) was the minimum investigative requirement for the granting of a TOP SECRET clearance or for participation in certain programs. The BI was an inquiry into the activities of an individual and was designed to develop information on which to base decisions regarding access authorization and sensitive program participation, which are clearly consistent with the interests of national security. Inquiry was made into pertinent facts bearing on the loyalty, trustworthiness, and suitability of the SUBJECT.
A traditional BI was conducted when required by special programs and when investigative limitations prohibit the completion of an IBI. The traditional BI was a combination of record checks and interviews in the public community where the SUBJECT was employed, educated or resided. The period of investigation covers the last 5 years of the SUBJECT's life or from the date of the SUBJECT's 18th birthday, whichever was the shorter period, provided it covers the last 2 full years of SUBJECT's life, but does not precede the 16th birthday.
In addition to a valid NAC, the following elements represent the minimum investigative requirements: birth, citizenship, education, employment, credit, and local agency checks. DIS interviews a minimum of three developed character references whose combined association with SUBJECT covers the entire period of the investigation. References from places of education will only be interviewed when there was unfavorable information to resolve or letter of inquiry provides insufficient information. In those Instances, the special agent conducts a minimum of two education references interviews. The special agent conducts employment reference interviews of the SUBJECT's supervisor and a co-worker at each place of employment, during the period of investigation. The SUBJECT was normally interviewed only when an investigation raises an issue.
During 1981, the Interview-oriented Background Investigation (IBI) was introduced, which principally relies on developing information from an interview of the SUBJECT, and, secondarily, from local agency checks, NAC's and credit checks. Since the last three elements were common to the BI and IBI, the IBI was said to be a matter of substituting a SUBJECT INTERVIEW (SI) and selective records checks and interviews for the traditional records and interviews at the SUBJECT's places of employment and education.
On 1 July 1983, the scope of the IBI was expanded or enhanced to routinely include interviews of developed character references and employment references. Generally, the IBI was the principal means of investigation when a TOP SECRET clearance was required. In addition to an in-depth subject interview (SI), the IBI includes a NAC, local agency checks (LAC's), credit checks, the interview of three developed character references (DCR's), three employment references with employment records checks, plus select scoping as required to resolve unfavorable or questionable information.
A Special Background Investigation (SBI) was the minimum investigative requirement for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or for participation in certain other Special Access Required (SAR) and Extremely Sensitive Information programs. The SBI was an inquiry into the activities of an individual (who has been nominated for participation in a special program) which was designed to meet the investigative requirements of the Director of Central Intelligence Directive (DCID) 1/14, "Minimum Personnel Security Standards and Procedures Governing Eligibility for Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information," 1 September 1983, DoD Instruction 5220.28, "Application of Special Eligibility and Clearance Requirements in the SIOP-ESI Program for Contractor Employees," 8 March 1978, DoD Directive 5210.55, "Selection of DoD Military and Civilian Personnel and Contractor Employees for Assignment to Presidential Support Activities," 6 July 1977, DoD 5200.2-R, or similar DoD issuances.
The SBI consists of all components of a traditional BI, plus specific additional investigative requirements. The period of investigation for SBIs covers the last 15 years of the SUBJECT's life or from the date of the 18th birthday, whichever was the shorter period, provided that the period covers at least the last 2 full years (but does not precede the 16th birthday).
Under the provisions of National Security Directive 63 (NSD-63) of 21 October 1991, the Single Scope Background Investigation (SBI) was instituted as the minimum scope and standard for all agencies and departments for access for Collateral Top Secret (TS) / National Security Information and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or for participation in certain other Special Access Required (SAR) and Extremely Sensitive Information (ESI) programs, replacing both the BI and SBI.
The SSBI consists of all components of a traditional BI, plus specific additional investigative requirements. The period of investigation for SBIs covers the last 10 years of the SUBJECT's life or from the date of the 18th birthday, whichever is the shorter period. Investigations satisfying these scope and standards are transferable between agencies and are deemed to meet the investigative standards for TS and SCI. No further investigation or reinvestigation prior to revalidation every five years is undertaken unless the agency has substantial information indicating that the transferring individual may not satisfy eligibility standards for clearance or the agency head determines in writing that to accept the investigation would not be in the national security interest of the United States.
<1> Adapted from: House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Defense, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1986, 99th Congress, 1st Session, Part 4, pages 708-717.