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Security Clearance Process

If you receive a tentative job offer, you will have to go through our security clearance process. The purpose of a security clearance is to determine whether a person is able and willing to safeguard classified national security information, based on his or her loyalty character, trustworthiness and reliability. The pre-employment process may be quicker if you already have an active Top Secret security clearance.

Security clearance information


You must complete and pass a counterintelligence polygraph examination for all positions at NRO.

Background investigation

This security clearance requires a thorough personnel security background investigation that examines your life history, character, trustworthiness, reliability and sound judgment.

The background investigation will:

  • Review your previous and current employment history, including contact with your current employer.
  • Verify your education, residential history and financial background.
  • Interview your friends, neighbors, supervisors and coworkers.
  • Examine your potential for conflicts of interest and your likelihood of coercion.
  • Assess your willingness and ability to follow regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive information.
  • Conduct credit bureau and criminal background checks to make sure you meet the high personnel security standards set by NRO and the Intelligence Community.
How long will the background investigation take?

It may take two months or longer, depending on your personal circumstances, such as how many times you've moved or changed jobs, where you've lived, your contact with foreign nationals, as well as overseas travel.

Clearance adjudication

After the background investigation is complete, an NRO adjudicator will review the results and decide if you meet the criteria for granting security clearances with access to classified information.

The adjudication process may take longer depending on your circumstances. If you already have a security clearance, the process is quicker, and you may not have to take a drug test or polygraph.

Once we complete adjudication and the security clearance is granted, the NRO recruitment team will work with our service provider to issue a firm offer of employment. It will include information and instructions about the onboarding process.

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