A military security clearance is reserved for select personnel within our armed forces who are deemed worthy of accessing confidential information.
Being a member of the armed forces doesn’t automatically qualify you for security clearance. Just like non-military federal contractors, you will have to apply.
Applying for Military Security Clearance
When you apply for military security clearance, you will be given a document known as a Standard Form 86 or SF-86. This questionnaire asks you to be truthful about your past and tell investigators what they might find when digging up your records.
And you can bet that investigators will be digging, so be thorough with your explanations of drug and alcohol use, sexual misdeeds, foreign allegiances, and any other red flags investigators may find.
There are a few things that will disqualify you outright. Not being a U.S. citizen is one. But so is ongoing drug and alcohol use, and financial problems that leave you open to blackmail by foreign agents.
If your SF-86 is insufficient and more information is needed, you will be sent a Statement of Reasons. This document will explain why your security clearance was not approved.
You will respond to the SOR with a request for an administrative hearing. This is not a time to wing it all on your own. If you have been denied military security clearance or your clearance was revoked pending an appeal, you can increase your odds of obtaining and retaining your clearance by hiring a security clearance attorney to represent you.
In order to be seen as someone worthy of holding a military security clearance, you must complete the following process.
Security Clearance Investigation Process
You can expect an investigation to be completed upon your application for military security clearance. This investigation is designed to ensure that you are in allegiance to the United States of America. During the investigation, your personal, professional, criminal, educational, financial, and health records will be searched with a fine-toothed comb. References will be interviewed, and all types of information gathered.
The investigators’ goal is to find out if you have been involved in any acts to overthrow the government. You will be assessed for debt, drug and alcohol abuse, and to determine if you have a criminal past. Your histories will be searched to identify associations with or sympathy for individuals attempting to commit treason against the U.S. These are just some of the risks investigators will be looking for as your application for military security clearance is reviewed.
Military security clearance investigators are fair and understand that circumstances exist that may at first look bad when seen as part of a security clearance investigation.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a connection to someone who attempted to subvert the government. However, you were unaware of the aims of this individual. If that is indeed the case, investigators may turn a blind eye in such a case, but not always.
The best advice is, to be honest, truthful, and forthcoming about your history in all regards when asked. If situations do exist that make you ineligible for military security clearance, you may be able to mitigate those instances by offering up the information first before investigators dig it up without your help. Doing so shows goodwill toward doing the right thing in the face of your somewhat questionable past.
Other elements that will be searched for in your past include foreign influence, foreign allegiance, sexual or personal misconduct, and mental, emotional, and personality disorders.
Finally, criminal conduct and misuse of government systems round out the areas investigators will spend the most time searching for inconsistencies in your story.
Keeping Up to Date with Security Clearance Rules
Even after you obtain a military security clearance, your records will be reviewed on a regular basis. A new rule has taken place that affects the frequency of those reviews.
In the past, your clearance would be up for review every five to ten years, depending on the type of clearance you held.
With automated systems becoming more commonplace, the DoD has now taken to checking security clearance holders regularly. The system won’t just root into your financial and criminal records, but data from social media will also be mined.
With the previous system, military security clearance holders would have time to fix red flags, such as repairing late payments or making goodwill payments toward any bad debt. Now, with checks happening with greater frequency, you may be flagged for a security clearance revocation when you least expect it.
The lesson is to do your best to remain eligible for military security clearance, even after you have passed the initial investigative process.
Security Clearance Jobs After Military Service
As a veteran who has completed his or her military service, and who holds a security clearance, you are at a significant advantage when seeking employment. Thousands of employers in a wide range of fields are on the hunt for upstanding veterans just like yourself. Fields like commercial defense and government agencies would love to hear from a qualified employee with active or current security clearance for a number of positions. You could potentially find a role in intelligence, programming, accounting, finance, engineering, and possibly a career overseas.
Companies have to endure lots of red tapes and spend thousands of dollars to grant their employees security clearances. When you show up for the interview with clearance already in hand, you represent an invaluable resource for the company in question.
Want to learn more about military security clearance? Were you denied clearance and now face the appeals process? Contact an experienced military security clearance attorney at Security Clearance Law Group.