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Clearance Issues Can Hit Soldiers Hard

WASHINGTON -- Soldiers who have had their security clearance revoked or denied face reclassification or separation from the force, according to Army Human Resources Command.

HRC issued a military personnel message, MILPER Message 14-306, earlier this month to assist commanders in identifying enlisted Soldiers who are not qualified in their primary military occupation specialty, or MOS. 

Two of the major deficiencies HRC has identified are security clearances and language proficiencies, according to James Bragg, chief of the HRC Retention and Reclassification Branch.

"Commanders can't utilize their Soldiers properly if they're not qualified in their MOS," he said. "If they need access to a certain facility based on security clearance and they can't get in there, they can't perform their duties."

HRC has identified several hundred Soldiers in the active Army whose records indicate they do not have the clearance required in their MOS, Bragg said.

He said the commands have been notified and need to take action. 

The first order of business, he said, is for commanders to correct any errors and report back if a Soldier does in fact have the proper clearance. If a clearance has lapsed, a Soldier will have to take the necessary steps to get current again.

However, if the clearance has been revoked or denied, commanders need to recommend whether the Soldier should remain in the Army.

"In about 60 days from now, we're going to run those same Soldiers through our query," he said. "Those who have been fixed will continue to stay in that MOS, and the other ones they should be either processing for reclassification or separation."

The issue affects readiness, he said, noting that the Army must ensure it is retaining only the most qualified people.

In addition, HRC has identified Army linguists who have not maintained their language proficiencies, Bragg said.

"These are our cryptological linguists who are required to interpret a foreign language," he said.

Linguists have to take a proficiency test every year, he explained. They may be late in taking the test or have failed the exam. Either way, they need to be up to standard, he said.

"We're in the middle of a drawdown and we can't afford to keep people in the Army who are not qualified in their MOS," he said. "We want to be a little more proactive than reactive, which is why we published MILPER Message 14-306."

If a Soldier is recommended for reclassification, HRC will look into the other MOS options for the Soldier. 

Bragg said HRC will place the Soldier in a shortage or balanced MOS, but will not reclassify a Soldier into a MOS that is over strength. 

In the event a Soldier does not meet the qualifications for a shortage or balanced MOS, then that Soldier may be reclassified to Special Reporting Code "09U."

This identifies the Soldier as not being qualified in any Army MOS and will be separated from the Army in nine months. 

In these times of tight budget and a shrinking force, the Army must look for ways to maintain readiness, Bragg said. 

Separation from the force is a last resort, he said.

"Our first option is to reclassify Soldiers and continue to have them serve in the Army for a career," he said. 

Soldiers and leaders with questions concerning MOS qualifications should contact their unit career counselor.

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