I haven’t posted in awhile because, frankly, nothing has been happening. My security clearance field investigation has now been complete for over a month and I am not-so-patiently awaiting the conclusion of the adjudication phase. As I understand it, some 20% or so of all applicants receive a security clearance immediately at the conclusion of their field investigation. For the remaining 80%, including me, there is a complete review of the investigation file by an independent person unaffiliated with the case team.
There are thirteen categories, called guidelines, which require a candidate’s file to be referred to adjudication. For each guideline, there is an overall description of the concern, a list conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying, and a list of conditions that could mitigate those security concerns. During adjudication, every incident that falls within one of the guidelines must be evaluated and, if it rises to the level of a security concern, must have facts sufficient to mitigate the concern.
The thirteen adjudicatory guidelines include the following:
(1) Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States
(2) Guideline B: Foreign Influence
(3) Guideline C: Foreign Preference
(4) Guideline D: Sexual Behavior
(5) Guideline E: Personal Conduct
(6) Guideline F: Financial Considerations
(7) Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption
(8) Guideline H: Drug Involvement
(9) Guideline I: Psychological Conditions
(10) Guideline J: Criminal Conduct
(11) Guideline K: Handling Protected Information
(12) Guideline L: Outside Activities
(13) Guideline M: Use of Information Technology Systems
As with most everything concerning the State Department and its personnel decisions, the adjudicatory guidlines are publicly documented. The details of each guideline and its associated mitigating factors can be found here: http://www.state.gov/m/ds/clearances/60321.htm.
My understanding is that most cases that run into significant problems have at least one follow-up interview during which the field investigators follow up those areas of concern in excruciating detail. In my case, although I am not surprised that my file resulted in adjudication (I am 43 with a lifetime of experiences), I had no follow-up interviews and my investigators raised no substantive concerns.
I would, however, feel much better if my next call to diplomatic security results in the magic word: “your security clearance is now in effect.” We’ll see what happens next week….