Your Security Clearance and You

Digital forensics professional at a computer.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- You just submitted your security clearance package, what happens next? Your clearance package is sent to the Central Adjudication Facility to conduct checks in the following areas: financial, criminal, residences, psychological, foreign travel, Central Intelligence Agency, education, drug, alcohol, references and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

A security investigation is an inquiry into your loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability. A favorably completed security investigation ensures you are eligible for access to classified information. Any doubt concerning your access to classified information, or eligibility to perform sensitive duties is resolved in favor of national security.

Related: Search for Security Clearance jobs.

The decision whether to grant, deny or revoke your clearance is based upon the investigative evidence. During the adjudication process, adjudicators use a "whole person" concept in determining whether a clearance is to be granted. Adjudicators carefully weigh the information that has been gathered during investigation - favorable and unfavorable, past and present. Each case is judged on its own merit. 

The adjudication facility uses 13 adjudicative guidelines for determining eligibility to perform sensitive duties: allegiance to the U.S., foreign influence, foreign preference, sexual behavior, personal conduct, financial considerations, alcohol consumption, drug involvement, psychological conditions, criminal conduct, handling protected information, outside activities, and use of information technology systems. 

To maintain eligibility, you must recognize and avoid behaviors that might jeopardize your security clearance or eligibility to perform sensitive duties. If you make a mistake or have some issues, remember that the nature, extent and seriousness of the circumstances have an impact. There are ways to mitigate those mistakes, e.g., voluntarily reported the issue. Be truthful and complete when responding to questions. Seek help and follow professional guidance, and demonstrate positive changes in behavior.

There are some things that will automatically cause you to lose your clearance, and the number one cause is drug use. An automatic security information file will be established and revocation of your current security clearance will be processed. This will affect you even after you are discharged from service.

Applying for your security clearance is a necessity - be open and honest.

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