Many of the jobs in the United States Army require a security clearance. Over the years, the requirements to obtain a security clearance have changed slightly. Understandably so… We have had individuals cause harm on Army bases. There are terrorists who would gain access to secret items, and so much more could happen if the wrong people had security clearances.
When attempting to obtain a security clearance, you are going to discover that those who determine your eligibility are going to turn your life inside-out looking for anything that could possibly entice you to break national security.
They will look at:
Your allegiance to the United States
Any foreign influences in your life
If you have a preference to foreign countries
Your sexual behaviors
Your moral conduct
Your financial situation
Alcohol or drug consumption
Any disorders with emotions or mentality
Your criminal conduct
Any violations against security
Misusing government systems
In today’s post, I am going to break each of these areas down further. I will explain why the area is considered, what will disqualify you and considerations the investigator will put on the record.
You can use this to determine if you may be eligible for a security clearance, and a method to use to have explanations for all before you apply for a security clearance.
United States Allegiance
This is the most important aspect of the security clearance process. If at any time, you have been involved with any system or group with a desire to overthrow the United States government, or harm the process in any way, the odds of you getting a security clearance are terrible.
The only ways that the investigation may overlook this is if you were unaware the group had this plan, or if you were involved in the form of humanitarian reasoning. This could even be overlooked if you were involved for a short period in an academic position.
The investigative process will see if you are tied closely to someone who is not a citizen of the United States and could influence you to break your security obligations. If you are involved with a Russian national, you could possibly be turned down for a security clearance.
Some reasons this could be overlooked is if the other person is absolutely cleared of possibly being an agent or influenced by any foreign power. Or, if your involvement was the result of official government business.
If you show signs of possibly preferring a foreign country over the United States, this could lead to disqualification. If you have dual citizenship, a foreign passport, hold a political spot in a foreign country, or a number of other items that relate to this, you could be refused.
Some reasons this could be overlooked is if your dual citizenship was based only on parental aspects, or if you express a willingness to renounce dual citizenship.
If you committed sexual behavior that was illegal or indicates a personality disturbance, you may be disqualified.
If it has been shown that it is no longer an issue, this could be overlooked.
This all comes down to your willingness to undergo any mental testing required. Also, information obtained from any acquaintances may be used in this investigative process. The main thing looked at in this is honesty.
Many individuals have been coerced to commit acts they normally wouldn’t because of financial situations.
It is understandable that investigators research your financial situation. Could foreign powers use finances to tempt you?
Alcohol or Drug Consumption
This is essentially a no-brainer. If you are an alcoholic or drug addict, there is no reason that the government should trust you with secrets.
If you have been clean and sober for a long time and can prove it, this may be overlooked.
Emotional or Mental Stability
If you have shown instability emotionally or mentally, the odds are you will not obtain a security clearance. If you have been deemed cured, this could be overlooked.
If you have been involved in past serious or even not so serious crimes, you could be denied a security clearance. Even if you were not charged, but there were implications you were involved, it could be held against you.
Some cases of many years of no criminal conduct after offenses occurred are overlooked.
If you have given out secrets before, should you be trusted now? This comes down to investigative judgment.
This is also an investigator’s judgment call. They look at work or play in which you are in, or around foreign nationals. Just an example may be: as a snow skier, you train regularly with a Chinese national who also has ties with the government. Could this be a problem?
Misuse Of Government Systems
It simply comes down to following rules and guidelines when using any government system. If you were caught looking up a friend’s military record on the government system without proper permission, you could be denied a security clearance.
As you can see, the process will dive deep into your life. It must be this way because the military cannot take any chances of secret materials being disclosed to enemies or even friendly foreign powers.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the process diving so deep?
If you have more you would like to add, or if you have any questions, just post them below. Thank you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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2 thoughts on “Can You Obtain A Security Clearance?”
The guidelines for clearance for the army do seem pretty unforgiving at first glance. However, like you mentioned, the military can’t risk having any of its members give out secrets or betray their own country. Since so much is riding on each member, I think that such security clearance checks are necessary. Thanks for the article!
Thank you Hazel, for that input.