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Letter No. 97-02

Executive Order 12968 and Investigative Standards for Background Investigations for Access to Classified Information

Date: July 29, 1997

On August 2, 1995, President Clinton signed E.O. 12968, Access to Classified Information. This Executive Order established a uniform Federal personnel security program and tasked the Security Policy Board to coordinate and recommend policy directives for U.S. security policies, procedures and practices.

In March 1997, President Clinton approved the Investigative Standards recommended by the Security Policy Board. This Federal Investigations Notice provides a summary of the access level requirements and the scope changes for our investigative products.

Access Level Requirements:
Access LevelRequired Investigation
Top Secret
Q Access
Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)
Reinvestigation every 5 years - SSBI-PR
L Access
NACLC - contractors
ANACI - federal employees
Reinvestigation every 10 years - NACLC
Confidential NACLC - contractors
ANACI - federal employees
Reinvestigation every 15 years - NACLC

Scope of Investigative Products:

Executive Order 12968 and the Security Policy Board have mandated minimum requirements for the scope of the investigations used to grant access to classified information. In accordance with those mandates, OPM plans to adjust the scope of investigation for the Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). In addition, OPM is developing three new products, the SSBI-PR, Access NACI, and the NACLC.

Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBI)

Coverage for the various parts of the SSBI have changed. Specific adjustments include:

Employment coverage has been reduced from 10 to 7 years. All employments during the coverage period will be verified with personal coverage obtained for employments of 6 months or more.

Personal coverage will be obtained for all education attendance during the last 3 years. Direct or collateral personal coverage will be provided to verify any primary education activities during years 4 through 7.

The coverage period for residence has been reduced from 5 to 3 years. All residences during that period will be verified.

Law enforcement coverage will remain at 10 years for all locations of employment, residence, and education of 6 months or more.

All former spouses divorced within the last 10 years will be interviewed.

Four references with social knowledge of the subject that collectively spans the last 7 years will be obtained.

Coverage of financial records will be reduced from 10 to 7 years.

SSBI-Periodic Reinvestigation (SSBI-PR)

The basic coverage period for this investigation is from the date of the last investigation, usually 5 years. This new product includes:

Personal coverage of the current or most recent residence of 6 months or more.

Personal coverage of all employments of 6 months or more during the scope; verification of all claimed employment, regardless of duration.

All former spouses divorced since the last investigation will be interviewed.

A search of Treasury’s Financial Data Base (FINCEN).


The NACLC will be used as the initial investigation for contractors at the Confidential, Secret, and L access levels. It will also be used as the reinvestigation product for both contractors and Federal employees at the same access levels.

This new product includes:

Basic National Agency Checks (Security/Suitability Investigations Index, Defense Clearance and Investigations Index, fingerprint classification, and a search of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigative index).

Credit search covering all residence, employment, and education locations during the last 7 years.

Law Checks covering all locations of residence, employment, and education during the last 5 years and to all locations of admitted arrest. If 35-day service is requested, all law checks will be scheduled by Record Search. If 75-day service is requested, law checks will be scheduled by a combination of inquiry and record coverage. (See Service Availability below for additional information about law checks).


The Access NACI (ANACI) will be used for the initial investigation for federal employees at the Confidential, Secret, and L access levels. Executive Order 10450 mandates the NACI as the minimum investigative standard for all employees in the Federal service. The new Executive Order does not abolish or supersede E.O. 10450.

The ANACI will consist of the NACLC as outlined above, as well as the additional residence, education, and employment coverage as currently contained in OPM’s standard NACI product.

As always, an agency may request a higher level investigation than the minimum standards require. Therefore, OPM plans to implement the appropriate modifications to MBI, LBI, and BI products when requested for a position requiring access.

Note: On all initial investigations, the responsibility of verifying the subject’s date and place of birth rests with the employing agency (by requesting a valid copy of the subject’s birth certificate). Agencies can continue to have OPM verify birth information by using an extra coverage code of "L" when requesting the investigation. OPM will continue to verify citizenship status for anyone born outside the U.S. but claiming U.S. citizenship.

Service Availability

The SSBI will continue to be available in 35, 75, and 120-day time frames. The standard service for SSBI-PR investigations will be 120 days.

The NACLC and ANACI will be available in either 35 or 75-day time frames. Advance results of NAC’s and law records checks will be provided on expedite 35-day ANACI’s. Law checks will be scheduled differently for these products, depending on the service requested:

NACLC and ANACI Law Checks

35-Day Service  

All Law Checks will be scheduled as expedite record searches completed >by field staff.

75 Day Service

Law Coverage will be attempted by written inquiry whenever possible with expedite record searches conducted at non-responsive or admitted arrest locations.


OPM will continue to offer case-by-case expansion to resolve issues with the Reimbursable Suitability or Security Investigation (RSI). An RSI consists of a focused investigation

to provide additional information to resolve issue(s) developed on an individual. The RSI should be requested in situations where an agency needs additional information to resolve issues that fall outside the scope of the investigation, or to establish a history or pattern of behavior. Since pricing is based on the work needed to resolve issues, the RSI provides agencies with additional cost savings. The RSI product is easy to request; for additional information please refer to Federal Investigations Notice 93-4 , dated June 14, 1993.

The implementation date for these products will be October 1, 1997. In the near future, OPM will issue a Federal Investigations Notice concerning billing rates for FY 98. As in the past, OPM will continue to provide our customer agencies with information and assistance for requesting this new product line. If you have any questions concerning the new access requirements or products, please contact your Security Appraisal Officer at 202-606-1042 or the Program Services Office at 724-794-5612.

Richard A. Ferris
Associate Director for Investigations

Inquiries: OPM-IS, Oversight and Technical Assistance Division, 202-606-1042
OPM-FIPC, Program Services Office, 724-794-5612

Code: 736, Investigations

Distribution: SOI/SON’s

Notice Expires: Until Superseded

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