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Tips for preserving eligibility for a military security clearance

As a law firm that focuses on military law, we have represented members of the armed services in a variety of defensive matters, including court-martial proceedings, administrative hearings, and security clearance defense or reinstatements. Today’s post focuses on the latter.

Many military positions require a security clearance. If lost, an individual may be facing a separation, at least regarding his or her current job duties. Given the importance of this qualification, it’s no surprise that the military has promulgated guidelines for the granting of a security clearance, as well as or continuing eligibility.

The 13 guidelines are enumerated A through M and address matters such as allegiance to the United States, alcohol and drug use, sexual behaviors, other matters of personal conduct, and even the use of information technology systems.

Even more notable than the breadth of the guidelines is how they are applied. In our experience, it is rare for any sole criterion to determine the outcome of a security clearance dispute. Rather, many factors are considered.

Notably, each guideline lists not only multiple factors that could give rise to disqualification under that particular category, but also several mitigating conditions. Some of the mitigating factors are intent based or focus on the length of time that the alleged activity occurred. Other defenses may require documentation or facts to settle the dispute. 

The bottom line is that the military wants assurances that an individual’s clearance is not posing a security concern. In that regard, there might be unlisted factors that would restore the good name of an individual under suspicion. With the help of a creative military defense attorney, a strong case can be mounted.

Source: “Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information,” copyright 2006, U.S. State Department

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