The Department of Defense has released its top reasons for security clearance denial for the more than 2,000 cases it heard through November of 2017. Financial reasons continue to far outpace other issues.

Financial Considerations   1497
Personal Conduct 408
Foreign Influence 254
Drug Involvement 170
Criminal Conduct 132
Alcohol Consumption 97
Foreign Preference 91
Handling Protected Information 20
Sexual Behavior 14
Use of IT Systems 11
Outside Activities 8
Psychological Conditions 1
Allegiance to the U.S 0


Financial considerations resulted in 1,497 security clearance denials. That’s more than triple the amount of denials for any other single issue. The bottom half of all issues resulted in just a few hundred security clearance denials combined. And allegiance to the United States wasn’t a consideration in any security clearance denial.

For many of these cases, multiple issues were involved, including foreign preference and financial considerations or sexual behavior and criminal conduct.

The moral is that not every issue can be mitigated, and security clearance holders need to be aware that their behavior will be scrutinized in the security clearance process – from finances to drug use.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer