It’s been about five-ish months since my last blog entry! I promise I’m still here and I still want to write! The problem is I don’t have anything to update you on just yet. I will say it’s been incredibly encouraging to see my two first blog posts gain almost 1500 views and over 800 visitors from all around the globe. Thank you for your interest thus far.
I can give you a little information about what it’s like to go through the security and medical clearance process – although it’s probably not as nerve-wracking or useful as the OA breakdown.
After successfully completing the Oral Assessment, a DS agent will take you in to a an office, go over a few bits and pieces of paperwork with you and then take some digital fingerprints. Then after 8 hours of testing and stress – you can finally go home. A few days later you will get some emails about setting up your medical and security clearances.
For the medical clearance, you and your family will need to set up a series of two or three medical appointments. The first appointment is a general physical and medical history overview. They take your height, weight, and a bunch of blood samples. They also administer a TB test under your skin, to be examined at the second appointment. From there, you have to go to another location to get a chest xray. At the second medical appointment you go over everything with the doctor and they fill out a bunch of paperwork and you go on your merry way.
Since I live in DC and work as a contractor at the Department of State already I was fortunate enough to be able to do all of this for free, in the same building I work in. I can imagine it can get quite complicated for out of state applicants who need to convince their regular physician that yes, they do in fact need every blood test under the sun, and that yes they do need to check every box and fill out every form, completely, before sending it in to DC. I was issued my medical clearance on 11/30/2016, about a month after my OA.
The security clearance process is where things can get interesting. A “normal” applicant would fill out the SF-86 form on the EQIP system and submit it to Diplomatic Security (DS) who would arrange, investigate, and adjudicate the security clearance process. After your clearance investigation is complete, DS would adjudicate and decide whether or not to grant you a clearance. If the clearance is granted your entire file goes to “Final Suitability” where someone at State can decide, for any reason, that you should not be able to join the Foreign Service. If that should happen I think you are banned from applying for another two years, but I could be wrong on that. However, if the Final Suitability Panel deems you suitable you will be put on The Register, and maybe eventually be granted a spot in A-100.
I am not a “normal” applicant, mostly because I already work at State and was already undergoing an upgrade to Top Secret for my current job. As a contractor, my clearance does not run through DS but through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). I could explain all the ways this has complicated my candidacy, but it would get really complicated and boring. For context – I’ve been under investigation for 10 months at the time of publishing this entry.
Medical – OA > Paperwork > Appointment 1 > Xrays > Appointment 2 > Clearance Granted
Security – OA > Fingerprints > EQIP > Investigation > Adjudication > Clearance Granted
Post Clearance Process – Final Suitability > Register > A100
Hope to have more news for you soon!