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How can alcohol use impact my security clearance?

For military members who use or abuse alcoholism, the impact on their security clearance may understandably concern them. They may wonder what impact alcohol use can have on their security clearance. According to the Adjudicative Guidelines, excessive alcohol consumption is viewed as leading to questionable judgment and a lack of impulse control which can call into question reliability and trustworthiness. This can threaten a security clearance so it is important to understand.

Alcohol-related behavior can cause concerns related to the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. There are a variety of considerations used to evaluate if the alcohol use rises to the level of creating a concern related to the military member's security clearance. Military members should be familiar with what they are and the impact that abuse of alcohol or alcoholism can have on a security clearance.

There are also mitigating considerations that may impact concerns related to alcohol use that military members should also be familiar with. Mitigating considerations can include that the problem is not recent such as it was a problem for the military member two to five years ago; the military member has displayed positive changes in behavior; or the military member has participated in rehabilitation such as an alcohol abuse treatment program.

Because alcohol use can have a big impact on a security clearance, it is important for military members to fully understand the security clearance process. A security clearance impacts the livelihood of the military member and, as a result, it is essential for military members to understand how to obtain a security clearance and what to do if problems, such as alcohol-related problems, arise during the security clearance process.

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