Few things cause more frustration than being rejected by a prospective employer because of a “Loss of Jurisdiction” and an “Incident Report.”

When you’re terminated from a job where you held a Department of Defense (DoD) security clearance, your former employer “separates” you in the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS—the DoD security clearance database).  If you were terminated from your job for cause, the employer often concurrently submits an Incident Report via JPAS describing the reason for termination.  This occurs when the termination is related to one of the thirteen Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information.

Normally when an employer submits an Incident Report to the DoD Central Adjudication Facility (CAF) responsible for your clearance, the CAF reviews the report to decide what action is necessary.  If the report doesn’t contain any disqualifying information, the CAF closes the Incident Report simply by updating the JPAS record.  Alternatively the CAF can request additional information, including a new Questionnaire for National Security Positions (Standard Form 86—SF86), and/or a limited investigation.  Once sufficient information is received, the CAF can decide whether to favorably adjudicate the Incident Report and “continue” your clearance or begin the process of clearance revocation.

When the Incident Report occurs at the same time you’re “separated” in JPAS, the CAF cannot review the Incident Report or take any other action, and a Loss of Jurisdiction is entered into your JPAS record.  The Loss of Jurisdiction and the unresolved Incident Report remain in your JPAS record, and your name is flagged in red letters.  Getting the red out can be a problem.

The problem arises when you apply for a job at another place of employment and your clearance cannot be quickly reinstated.  The new employer can take “ownership” of your JPAS record, but the request for Research/Recertify/Upgrade (RRU) submitted via JPAS for reinstatement will require the CAF to favorably adjudicate the Incident Report before your clearance can be reinstated.  If the RRU is submitted to the same CAF that originally received the Incident Report and the report contains only minor unfavorable information, the CAF can easily and quickly resolve the matter and reinstate your clearance.  If the RRU is submitted to a different CAF, that CAF will only see that an unresolved Incident Report exists; they won’t be able to see what was said in the report.  The CAF will have to obtain a copy of the report before they can review it and determine what action should be taken.  This usually means initiating a limited investigation, which could take months to complete, and might or might not result in clearance reinstatement.

For this reason many prospective employers may be reluctant to extend a job offer for a cleared position when a pending Incident Report and Loss of Jurisdiction are in your JPAS record.  It’s usually faster for them to obtain a Secret clearance or an interim Top Secret clearance for an applicant who didn’t previously have a clearance.

A person’s eligibility for access to classified information in JPAS can be change to “Loss of Jurisdiction” for other reasons, such as:

  • Sponsorship of a clearance is withdrawn while any other adjudicative action is pending.
  • Withdrawal of an interim security clearance by the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO).
  • Failure to submit an SF86, when requested by a CAF.
  • Access eligibility to Sensitive Compartmented Information for a DoD contractor is denied, revoked, or terminated, and DISCO has security cognizance for the collateral clearance.

Although Loss of Jurisdiction is never desirable; when it occurs to a person who is still employed in a position that requires a clearance, they are notified of the problem and may be in a situation where they can exert some influence over the ultimate outcome.  When Loss of Jurisdiction occurs in conjunction with an Incident Report, the person usually doesn’t become aware of the problem until they apply for another job that requires a clearance.  Unfortunately the only way to resolve the problem is to find a prospective employer who is willing to sponsor the clearance and wait until the Incident Report is adjudicated.

Copyright © 2012 Last Post Publishing. All rights reserved.

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William H. Henderson is a former Army Counterintelligence Agent and a retired federal clearance investigator. In 2007 he began helping clearance applicants from the pre-application stage through representation at hearings and appeals. Since 2012, he’s been the Principal Consultant at the Federal Clearance Assistance Service (FEDCAS). His first two books on security clearances have been used at five universities and colleges. He recently published the 2nd Edition of Issue Mitigation Handbook. He’s contributed scores of articles to ClearanceJobs.com, and he’s been retained as an expert witness in several state and federal lawsuits.