Vice President for Research and Economic Development - Office of Research Security (ORS)
February 2, 2012; Reviewed/Revised November 13, 2023

To advise the faculty, staff, and students of the procedures involved in obtaining a security clearance when a security clearance is required to perform duties assigned under classified contracts or grants.


The University of Alabama in Huntsville (“UAH” or “University”) proposes and receives classified contracts and grants from the U.S. Government and other Federal Contractors. In order for an employee to perform tasks under these contracts, a Personnel Security Clearance (PCL) is required according to 32 CFR Part 117. An employee may be processed for a PCL when the contractor determines that access is essential in the performance of tasks or services related to the fulfillment of a classified contract. A PCL is valid for access to classified information at the same or lower level of classification as the level of the clearance granted.

A justification for PCL is required. The justification form is to be completed and forwarded to ORS by the Principal Investigator (PI) on the contract to verify the need for an employee to obtain a security clearance.


ORS will schedule an appointment for the employee to receive guidance on completing the Standard Form 86 (SF 86) required by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to process an investigation request.

Employee’s proof of U.S. Citizenship will be requested at the time of the appointment as per 32 CFR Part 117.10 (c). The contractor shall require each applicant processing for a PCL who claims U.S. citizenship to produce evidence of citizenship and provide fingerprints (32 CFR Part 117.10(e)).

The employee will be required to read and sign the bottom section of the 32 CFR 117.17.10(d) “Procedures for Completing the Electronic Version of the SF 86” letter. The electronic version of the SF 86 shall be completed by the employee.

ORS will initiate the employee requiring a security clearance in the Department of Defense (DOD) Official System of Record and request an investigation for the individual.

The employee will be notified to begin the process of entering their information in the DOD Official System of Record.

The employee’s SF 86 will upload into the DOD Official System of Record for ORS to review. Once the review is complete, the employee will be notified if corrections are required and instructions on how to make these corrections will be provided. If no corrections are required, the employee will receive an email notification stating the SF 86 has been submitted for processing. 

The DOD Official System of Record will be monitored for approvals of clearance investigations. Once an approval is received, the employee will receive an email notification to attend an initial in-brief for their security clearance and given information for required security trainings.

The employee will be scheduled for an appointment to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (SF 312) and it will be witnessed by an ORS representative.

A copy of the Standard Practice Procedure for Safeguarding Classified Information at UAH (SPP) will be given to the employee and a Memorandum of Record acknowledging the receipt of the SPP will be signed by the employee. If a physical copy of the SPP is given, the employee will be informed to maintain possession of the SPP.

The PI is notified that the employee is available for classified work once the briefing documents and required security trainings have been completed

The ORS Director will be responsible for the review of this policy every five years (or whenever circumstances require).

Security Clearance Processing