What can I do with a U.S. Top Secret security clearance?
July 22, 2012 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I work for a U.S. federal agency. Two years ago, I got Top Secret clearance for a project I was working on for my agency. Other than applying for new jobs that require TS status, is there anything else interesting I could do that requires this status? Volunteering, temporary assignments, etc.? I will have it for an additional couple of years before my agency will request to renew/not renew it.

Also: my agency doesn't generally have much call for security clearances - the number of Secret and Top Secret clearances is extremely low. In the years before I get reinvestigated (or not, depending on my agency's choice), should I be doing anything? No one I work with other than my supervisor knows about my clearance; I presume it is not a secret, but I haven't seen much reason to spread it around so I'm not certain if there is paperwork or anything else I should be retaining/collecting. When my investigation was complete, I received an email unofficially informing me of its completion from someone in our agency and received an updated security card (which looked physically identical to the old one) but nothing else.

Any feedback or experience would be appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've never found a way to do it, but visiting the CIA Museum requires a clearance.

It's also not unheard of for universities to do classified research; if you want to pursue a graduate degree, a security clearance can be useful to get into a government-sponsored research laboratory.

I'm not sure there's any use retaining any information about your security clearance. Any other employers would not be able to use that information to verify your clearance anyway, as they would be looking on JPAS to verify your clearance.
posted by saeculorum at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would be very surprised if you could find volunteering or temporary assignments that will utilize a TS. It will make you much more employable though, especially to DoD and DoE contractors.

Contractors will often only hire people who already hold clearances, I work generally in the nuclear area and a TS/Q does amazing things for job prospects. If you were looking to move on from your current job, and your areas of expertise are ones occasionally called for in cleared positions, now is the time to do it.

As far as retaining paperwork. Retain a copy of your eQip or SF-86. If you need to renew in five years, having a previously complete one will probably make renewing less time consuming. It will also let you make sure there are no inadvertent discrepancies between your new and old answers.
posted by pseudonick at 5:02 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Offer point-person services to midsize corporations. Typically, when they bid for and win DoD related projects, it will helps to have a security-cleared individual as DoD's point people (the rest of the company's team will meet at an off-site location or through buffer teams).

It can also significantly help such companies win the actual contract.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2012

any companies that do services in your building could probably put you to work; active duty (even lower ranking) military members with top secret clearances used to be able to get part time jobs escorting contractors at the NSA, though my experience with this was a good 15 years back. You just basically sat there with a book and made sure they didn't get into any classified materials/areas while they did repairs or whatever construction/remodelling needed doing, because the laborers didn't have clearance, and this way they weren't left unattended.
posted by lemniskate at 8:53 PM on July 22, 2012

Do anything with the census at a more granular data level? Working with certain census records requires security clearances. I know this because Mr. Jadepearl needed clearances to work on his research.
posted by jadepearl at 7:55 AM on July 23, 2012

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