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What is a security clearance?

Many jobs that Virginia residents apply for might require them to submit to finger printing and other background checks. Generally, these investigations provide employers with important information about their prospective employees' fitness to serve as representatives of their organizations. A security clearance is a highly involved background check that enables a person to take on a job in the military or with a governmental agency.

What makes a security clearance unique is that it allows its recipient to know and work with varying levels of sensitive information. Individuals who work for the government and serve in the military are often aware of data and information that members of the civilian population are not privy to. The release of sensitive information into the wrong hands could constitute a breach of national security and put individuals' lives at risk.

The process of completing a security clearance can take some time and can involve multiple steps. The level of clearance the applicant is required to attain can influence the amount of time it takes for the process to reach its end. If a person's security clearance yields questionable information about their capacity to handle sensitive data, then it is possible that their request for such a clearance might be denied.

It is important that applicants for security clearances know what they are getting into before they undertake the process. To this end, it is often helpful for prospective government employees and service members to discuss their security clearance needs and concerns with military law attorneys. These legal professionals can counsel their clients on how best to approach the security clearance process and achieve positive results for their planned government and military careers.

Source: U.S. Department of State, "Clearances FAQs," accessed Jan. 30, 2018

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