For DoD security clearance holders, a “loss of jurisdiction” can sometimes seem like career capital punishment. If you’re not familiar with the dreaded term, often referred to simply as “LOJ”, it is the status used to describe someone who has a report of adverse information pending against them in JPAS/DISS or who is mid-stream in the process of challenging a proposed denial or revocation of their clearance, but who loses their employer’s sponsorship of their clearance due to termination or reassignment. The result is that any pending investigation or adjudication of the adverse information grinds to a halt because the clearance-holder no longer has a need for the clearance.
Navigating Loss of Jurisdiction
In the eyes of the government, continuing to investigate or adjudicate the case would be a waste of resources. Philosophically, that is a reasonable policy. But practically-speaking, the consequences for the clearance-holder are frequently devastating. More often than not, the clearance holder is left scrambling to find new employment in their field while forced to contend with an unresolved blemish on their record that sends many prospective employers running for the hills. After all, why hire the candidate who might subsequently lose his or her clearance once re-sponsored when there are plenty of others not carrying the same baggage?
We’ve addressed this issue extensively on Clearancejobs in the past, and your author has devoted ink to the problem as it pertains to JPAS (now DISS) incident reports here. Unfortunately, the subject continues to rear its head again month after month, year after year because it creates a sense of desperation for those who fall victim to it.
For a lucky few, however, there is a way around it. Paragraph 4.4.3 of DoD Directive 5220.6 affords those whose clearance has been suspended pending adjudication by DoD CAF or the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) the right to make a written request that processing of their case or appeal continue notwithstanding a loss of jurisdiction. In plain English that means if DoD suspends your clearance and your employer fires you, you can still get your proverbial day in court even though you no longer have a sponsor for your clearance.
Now, suspensions are relatively rare – anecdotally, I’d say no more than 5% of all cases – and they are generally reserved for the most serious cases of perceived security risk. Few people would ever consider someone whose clearance has been suspended “lucky.” However, in this unique situation I’d call it just that. No doubt most of the people whose cases are declared LOJ would love to have this option afforded to them.
If you happen to fall into this “lucky” category, keep in mind that an affirmative written request is required. The notice must be timely submitted to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency’s Vetting Risk Operations Center; or, if the case is already pending before DOHA, to that office. Applicants are strongly recommended to seek competent legal counsel for representation in the filing process and any subsequent response to a written inquiry, Statement of Reasons, or in an appeal. Don’t count on good fortune to strike twice without someone advocating for you who knows the system and the arguments that work.
This article is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.
 “Perceived security risk” is often founded on a lack of context, bad information, or mistaken assumptions. Many of these cases can be mitigated and won.