A good friend of mine who is an FSO reminded me that I needed to inform my FSO of a personal change that has recently happened in my life. I vaguely remembered the list of ‘what to report’ so I was thankful for my friend reminding me. (I hope you also have a fairy godmother that looks out for you…we all need one!)

So, I sent an email to my FSO, reporting my personal change. But their responses was not at all what I was expecting. It was along the lines of, “Thanks for letting me know, but that isn’t something that needs to be reported.” I decided to put my investigative hat on, took a look at DCSA’s website on self-reporting, and found the answer for myself. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the life-changing event was in fact on the list of items required to be self-reported. But I was more saddened and to be honest, scared, that my FSO didn’t know this. What else didn’t my FSO know? Am I supposed to be the one to send them an email to let them know they are wrong? If you’re like me… and you’re a millennial, your email would like something like this:

“Dear FSO,

I am so so sorry to bother you. I looked up the reporting requirements and I found some information that I wanted to share with you. Although, I could totally be wrong, would you mind checking out https://www.dcsa.mil/mc/pv/mbi/self_reporting/ and letting me know what you think? I am probably reading it wrong…so any clarity you could provide would be helpful. Thank you so much, and again, so sorry to bother you.” -Millennial.

When in actuality my email should look like

“Dear FSO,

Please find on this website that clearly states this is a self-reporting item. Please use this email as my official notice that I have a change in status and am required to report.” – Confident Millennial

What to Self-Report

The endless millennial “I am sorry” emails is for another article down the line. But here are a few items to make sure you know what to report – more importantly that your FSO should know what to report:

  1. Change in Personal Status (I mean, its number 1 on their website….)
  2. Foreign Travel
  3. Foreign Contacts
  4. Loss or Compromise of Information
  5. Financial Problems
  6. Arrests
  7. Psychological and Emotional Health
  8. Outside Employment Activities
  9. Media Contacts
  10. Pre-Publication Review

Lastly, I want to leave you with this food for thought. Yes, we put our trust in our FSOs, and they are responsible for so much. But ultimately, it is YOUR clearance, and YOU have the ultimate responsibility to manage, maintain and monitor what/where and especially how it is being used and stored. Because when your file gets pinged on continuous vetting, saying things like “I didn’t know I needed to self-report that” or “My FSO didn’t tell me that” doesn’t really cut it.

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NJ has over 10 years inside the DoD working for various organizations and cleared defense contractors. With an ear to the ground on all things OPSEC, cyber, machine learning & mental health, she is an untapped keg of open source information.