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What is the military security clearance process?

If you are endeavoring through the security clearance process you may have many questions, including what the process entails and what to expect. In general, background investigations are conducted for national security; public trust; identity verification; basic suitability; and for positions regulated by the government. Investigations are conducted on active military personnel and others.

The process begins when an individual is offered a position requiring a security clearance. The first step in the process if for the individual to complete a questionnaire to initiate the investigation. The second step in the process is for the investigation to be conducted. Lastly, the investigation is adjudicated and clearance is granted. In general, security clearances are granted when there is a need for access to classified information that has been demonstrated.

It is up to the employing or sponsoring Federal agency to decide the level of security clearance that is needed in each situation and request the appropriate level of investigation for that level of clearance. When filling out the questionnaire to initiate the security clearance process, the individual seeking security clearance should expect to provide information concerning their residences, employment, military service, education, spouse, relatives and associates. In addition, questions concerning mental health; drug or alcohol use; criminal activity; credit; and allegiances to the United States will also be asked.

The security clearance process can be a complicated process which is why having trained guidance to help navigate the complexities, or when a problem arises, can be helpful. It is useful for those seeking a position requiring security clearance, or in a position requiring it, to be as familiar as possible with the process to help them obtain the needed security clearance.

Source:, "Security Clearance Guidelines," Accessed March 14, 2018

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