Nearly every role in the National Intelligence Community will require some form of security clearance. But not all roles require the highest levels of clearance and there are many roles that can be undertaken at different clearance levels.
Why we require security clearances
Under the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), personnel that need ongoing access to security classified resources must hold a security clearance at the appropriate level. Security classified resources include Protected, Secret and Top Secret information, systems that hold classified information, and classified assets.
The purpose of the security vetting process is to determine whether an individual is suitable to hold a security clearance. This involves confirming an individual’s Australian citizenship and then assessing whether they possess and demonstrate integrity and trustworthiness commensurate with the security classified resources they will be expected to protect. A number of factors about an individual are considered, including their:
- Honesty and integrity
- Maturity and judgement
- Stability and reliability
- Tolerance and acceptance
- Loyalty and commitment to Australia, its values and its democratic system of government
- Vulnerability to improper influence or coercion.
The vetting process
The vetting process involved in granting a security clearance covers all aspects of your life. It is comprehensive and can seem intrusive. It will also take time to complete - usually a number of months - and will require you to assemble documentation relating to many parts of your life.
The process may include some or all of the following:
- Written application
- Identity, background and educational qualification checks
- Police, financial and referee checks
- Psychological testing
- Online assessment.
During the process, you must:
- Disclose all relevant and required information
- Cooperate in the collection of personal documentation and corroborating evidence
- Answer questions fully and honestly
- Provide accurate information and personal documentation.
The security vetting process must be successfully completed before an employment offer can be issued.
As part of the vetting process, a range of background checks and enquiries may be conducted. This will often include (but may not be limited to) the following:
- Verification of identity
- A security interview
- Financial probity checks
- Police records check
- Referee checks
- Qualification verification
- Digital footprint checks.
If you have spent significant time outside Australia (generally more than 12 months cumulatively), there will also be a need to verify your time overseas from independent and reliable sources.
You may be required to attend in-person psychological and security interviews. Psychological assessments for PV security clearances are conducted by a registered psychologist in accordance with relevant legislation and registration board requirements. Candidates are required to complete psychometric tests and attend an in-depth, face-to face-interview.
Ongoing suitability and obligations
The security clearance process does not end at recruitment and you are required to do all that is necessary to maintain your clearance. You will have a range of responsibilities and obligations, some of which will impinge on your personal life. Your employing agency will continuously review your ongoing clearance suitability.
Confidentiality and accountability
All agencies treat information disclosed during the security vetting process with the utmost confidentiality and all security clearance processes are conducted in accordance with the Australian Government's protective security policy. Access to security vetting data is limited to those authorised personnel who have a direct need to know.