Security clearance reciprocity, adjudication timeliness and leveraging technology to increase efficiency were all topics addressed at this week’s Security Clearance Reform hearing on Capitol Hill. Senator Daniel Akaka, Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on oversight of government management and the federal workforce, questioned a panel of government leaders on the progress of clearance reforms.
Here at ClearanceJobs we regularly get questions from individuals wondering if an indiscretion or two (i.e. – occasional drug use in college, a misdemeanor offense, or delinquent credit card debt) will hinder them in receiving a security clearance. The answer is generally “it depends.” Factors include time elapsed since the incident, efforts to control or handle the problem and an individual’s behavior since. Because time elapsed since an error in judgement is such a critical factor, college students with youthful indiscretions may be in particular trouble. A clearance investigator is unlikely to consider your habitual marijuana use in college to be negated by the fact that you stopped after the spring semester – a few months before applying for a position with the State Department and needing to obtain a clearance.
A monograph on “Debt and Home Foreclosures: Their Effect on National Security Clearances” by Sheldon I. Cohen, a prominent Washington D.C. area attorney specializing in national security clearance, was recently posted at his website. Cohen reviewed 62 case decisions by Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Administrative Judges between 2006 and 2010 involving foreclosures and short sales. He also reviewed 71 DOHA Appeal Board cases involving Guideline F: Financial Considerations. Regarding 22 case decisions that resulted in the granting of security clearances, Cohen stated:
At first, it looked like 62 workers at Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)’s military payroll accounting facility in Cleveland, Ohio would lose their jobs due to credit problems. In the past, other DFAS workers in Columbus and Indianapolis had lost jobs because of credit issues. The Cleveland facility processes pay for active Navy personnel, military retirees, and government officials, including the President.