Does an Alcohol Related Incident Prevent Me From Obtaining or Maintaining a Security Clearance?

  • Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption

Published: August 27, 2021

Under Guideline G, Alcohol Consumption, the government may have security concerns related to excessive alcohol consumption as it may lead to questionable judgment or criminal conduct. This can include incidents at work or away from work, and you don’t even need a diagnosis for an alcohol-related disorder for you to be disqualified from obtaining a security clearance. However, the question remains, does an alcohol-related incident prevent you from obtaining or maintaining a security clearance? The short answer is, it can if the appropriate mitigation is not pursued.

Many times, Guideline G disqualifying conditions become applicable after an alcohol-related incident occurs outside of work, such as being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or alcohol-related incidents at work, such as reporting to work under the influence of alcohol. However, even reporting that you have engaged in excessive, habitual, or binge alcohol consumption, regardless if you were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, can raise questions about your ability to safeguard classified material and hold a security clearance.

Nonetheless, an incident as described above does not have to mean your security clearance will be revoked or denied. In many cases, taking the proper steps to establish mitigation can be enough to quell any government concerns. In the case of a DUI, or other alcohol-related criminal events, complying with all court orders, paying all fines, and disclosing any unique circumstances that led to the incident can heavily contribute to mitigating arguments. Additionally, establishing a pattern of modified consumption or complete abstinence from alcohol consumption is also a strong tool to show the government that you have learned from your past mistakes.

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