What You Should Know About JPAS.
First, what is JPAS? JPAS is a consolidated database constructed by the DOD for the purpose of collecting and disseminating information on the security clearance status of virtually everyone in the DOD sphere of influence. This includes military, government civilian personnel, and industry contractors. The idea behind JPAS was to create a near real-time environment where the agencies that grant clearances and the departments that use them could share a common source of information. Before JPAS, a collection of databases kept by numerous agencies, kept mostly in parallel, were responsible for keeping all this information accessible. Most of these databases were not highly accessible for user input, and information mostly rolled in one direction, from the Central Adjudicating Facilities (CAFs) to the user. JPAS was introduced in stages starting around 2002/2003 and gradually made increasingly available and then mandated for contractors around late 2004.
Since then there have been many changes in the way Personnel Security has been handled at many facilities. JPAS has enabled many companies to centralize their Personnel Security operations. Because the information is accessible through the internet and is common between all sites, companies can use it to have one facility manage the clearances at multiple sites. Submission of new clearance requests, and updates to person data can be done remotely from virtually anywhere. A security manager can interact with clearance information, submitting requests to CAFs and other responsible agencies.
Despite these changes, companies are still discovering the impact of this fairly new tool. Many companies are finding that it does not take a “staff” to handle Personnel requests anymore. Mainly it requires select personnel that swiftly use JPAS to make updates and requests necessarily and accurately. While learning to use JPAS does not require weeks of training, it does involve a learning curve to understand how to manage its features. Additionally, many users might find that tracking the status and keeping up the process of submitting for new clearances involves a lot more interaction with people that are submitting clearances than interaction with the database. It is by no means an insignificant process to manage the submissions of dozens of personnel for security clearances. Knowledge of the clearance process, along with JPAS, helps substantially in speeding the delivery of new clearances.
Since the clearance process has changed so much in just the last few years, even experienced security managers are still catching up. Companies are learning that they can centralize and outsource their clearance process, just as they do with other administrative tasks. Companies such as Macrotec Security Corp. ™ can help with this process so that a company does not have to hire their own security manager strictly for the task of submitting clearances. This can be an invaluable money saver. Also it can be very difficult for companies to find security staff that is willing to work less than full time. This often leads them to put the job of clearance management on the heads of those not trained in this area, who are already burdened with other duties.