What Happens If Your Security Clearance is Suspended?

Security Clearance

If you’ve had your security clearance suspended, you’re likely wondering if that means your chances of maintaining a security clearance are sunk, or if you can successfully appeal the decision. The bad news is a security clearance suspension largely leaves you in a precarious spot when it comes to doing your job, and you’ll likely have to wait a month or more for the government to formulate its Statement of Reasons, along with building your response.

Many individuals rightfully ask what they can do if their security clearance is suspended. The short answer is – not much. A security clearance suspension is an interim decision pending the decision to revoke or reinstate the security clearance. A clearance may be suspended at any time the government or issuing agency determines there is an issue with the individual relative to the adjudicative criteria. While the individual should receive some notification for the suspension, they likely won’t have the opportunity to appeal the decision until they are issued the full statement of reasons outlining a clearance denial.

A comment at the ClearanceJobs Discussions site recently noted an individual had his clearance suspended after taking a polygraph. He asked about the appeal process, and unfortunately, for a suspension, there is none.

“A suspension has no appeal process and there is no definitive timeline for resolving a suspended clearance status, only that the government agency proceed with due diligence once all the facts around the reason for the suspension have been discovered and presented,” replied forum moderator Marko Hakamaa.

The decision to suspend a security clearance may be swift and seemingly without cause. The good news is, the government is required to immediately get the ball rolling to investigate the issue and provide the applicant with the opportunity to appeal the decision.

“Suspension cases must be resolved as quickly as circumstances permit and cannot be open-ended,” notes Hakamaa in a lengthier post about the security clearance suspension process. “After the inquiries and investigation are complete, all of the information gathered is sent to the DoD CAF, along with a recommendation from the employer whether to reinstate or revoke. The CAF evaluates all of the data in accordance with adjudicative guidelines. If a determination is made to revoke, then a statement of reasons is issued and the individual is afforded due process. If the decision is to reinstate, then all records and systems are updated to reflect the eligibility status.”

Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.