Foreign Influence & Preference in an Age of Globalized National Security

  • Guideline B: Foreign Influence
  • Guideline C: Foreign Preference
  • Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption
  • Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse

Published: April 23, 2021

As official Washington begins to pull in the reigns with respect to security clearance in the post 9/11 world, agencies are making it clear about how they will approach situations dealing with issues of Foreign Influence and Preference in their security circles of trust. While the biggest Guideline triggers in proceedings prompted by Statement of Reasons and Notices of Intent to Revoke or Deny Eligibility for Access to Classified information are Guidelines H, G, and E—which revolve around drug, alcohol, and other substance use and misuse—Guideline B, Foreign Influence and Guideline C, Foreign Preference sit solidly as the second rank of guideline triggers. Even though the second rank may seem like a small focus for security adjudicators, over the past thirty-two months, around a tenth of all security clearance matters I have dealt with involved Guidelines B and C.

In regards to Issues of Foreign Influence and Preference, one of the biggest areas the Department of Homeland Security has a particular focus on is the credibility, reliability, and trustworthiness of its employees and contractors with ties south of the border in places such as Mexico and Central America. The Intelligence Community, and to a lesser extent, the non-Intel Defense Department agencies, offices, and field activities, accordingly focus on employees and contractors with ties to southwest Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Far East. While ideally employees and contractors would not have any ties to these places when being granted security clearance, if these agencies are to execute the national and homeland security mission of the Republic, their leadership, supervisors, and managers need the insight and contributions of a globalized and diverse workforce of warfighters and their supporters.

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