Security Clearances: Adjudication Process For DOD Contractors Vs. Military And Civilian Employees

Published: September 5, 2023

For individuals who must go through the security clearance adjudication process, it can be a nervous and confusing process. Each individual attempting to obtain a security clearance must have a sponsor, but if security concerns arise, the adjudication process can be different depending on your place of employment. Each process starts with the completion of a Standard Form 86 (SF-86), and if security concerns are found, the adjudication process branches off into two separate paths.

DOD Contractors

The adjudication process for DOD contractors is governed by DOD Directive 5220.6 and requires that the Agency provide a written statement of the reasons why the security clearance may be denied or revoked. This is commonly referred to as a Statement of Reasons (SOR).  The SOR instructions provide for 20 days to respond in writing to the allegations, and then the individual would have the option of requesting a hearing in front of an Administrative Judge with the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) or requesting a decision on the written record by an Administrative Judge with DOHA. While the hearing provides opportunities for live testimony and witnesses, regardless of what option is chosen, the Administrative Judge will issue a written decision to either grant or deny/revoke one’s security clearance. If an individual has an active security clearance during the DOD contractor adjudicative process, their clearance will remain unaffected until the Administrative Judge issues a decision, as long as they retain their sponsor.

Military Members and DOD Civilian Employees

The process for military members and DOD civilian employees is similar, as the adjudication process for any security concerns begins with a SOR being issued.

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