The Department of Defense (DOD) announced a policy on March 18, 2014 to begin tightening up access to classified information by potentially shrinking the list of 3.5 million people who currently hold active security clearances. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced several policy changes following the results of the investigation into the Navy Yard shooting last year. As announced in the Navy Times on Tuesday, the military will begin continuous evaluations of people holding security clearances in which background checks will be conducted continuously and randomly.
For secret clearance, the policy has been renewal updates and background checks every 10 years and for top-secret clearance it has been every five years. This is a dramatic change from how clearances have been vetted in the past and Secretary Hagel further noted that the Department of Defense may reduce the number of people currently holding secret-level security clearances by at least 10%. The Navy Times article noted that “security clearances are critically important to many service members who would be unable to perform their day-to-day work without them. Moreover, clearances are often valid beyond military separation and allow veterans to compete for lucrative jobs in the private sector that require clearances.”
I have been handling security clearance denial and revocation issues for several years. It is important for people to know their rights and responsibilities under the security clearance directive. Because security clearances are most often required for lucrative government and private contractor employment positions, potential employees need to protect against clearance issues and guard their clearance with vigilance. Please see my previous blog posts on this subject.
If your security clearance is in jeopardy, my advice is to act immediately to defend and protect your clearance. Most government and civilian contractor jobs require at least a secret level clearance and it has been my experience that much more work now is designated as classified (thus requiring a clearance) as compared to the last ten years or so. Individuals holding security clearances are afforded due process rights prior to a clearance being taken from them. If you need assistance with regard to a security clearance revocation or denial, please feel free to contact me at my email address or by phone at 256-539-9899.
Ron Sykstus is a Managing Partner of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a Juris Doctorate from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Ron has served in numerous positions throughout the U.S. Army and now utilizes his expertise in the areas of VA issues, security clearances, military law, and bankruptcy to assist his clients when they need it most. Read his full bio here.