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Maintaining Security Clearance In The Private Sector

By Phil Intelligence Analyst (Kabul)

‘As a self-employed individual working in the private sector, contracted to a military or governmental institution, there is often a requirement to have a recognised – and indeed valid – level of security clearance, to facilitate access to assets, areas or information in the daily execution of your contracted duties. 

Being a UK national, I am screened to the level of Developed Vetting by UKNSV as I am a member of a sponsoring organisation, namely the military reserves. This allows me to maintain – and share – my clearance with my current employer who, as a US employer, does not have the authority or capacity to independently vet and issue UK security clearances. In the past 12 months, I have personally witnessed two colleagues removed from the contract for not remaining party to a vetting-sponsoring organisation. Had this company been ‘list-X’ (a classified list of approved UK contractors who can apply for, and sponsor an individual’s vetting), they would have had no issues continuing daily business with the client, and thus preserved their employment. I advocate to all persons applying for roles in positions which have a requirement to handle or control sensitive assets, access sensitive areas, or protect sensitive information, to fully investigate what clearances are needed and how they will be maintained; the contracting company are not necessarily conversant with security clearance practices or framework. It must be assumed that it is the responsibility of the individual to check what clearance is needed and indeed, how to maintain it.

I advise any person applying for a position that carries such requirements to either clarify with the contractor how the clearance will be sponsored and maintained. I found the simplest way to achieve this is to join a local Military Intelligence battalion; not only is clearance sponsorship secured and maintained, but the opportunities for networking are amplified for future contracts.’