Filling out the SF-86 can be daunting. It can be difficult to fill out the form even if you don’t find yourself confused by the wording or how the questions are phrased. What do you do if you find yourself with a question and you’re wondering how to answer?

The good new is there is a specific person whose job is to help individuals fill out their SF-86 form – and that is your security officer, or Facility Security Officer (FSO). Whether it’s a SSO or FSO, security professionals should be able to assist you in filling out your SF-86 accurately and with those nuanced questions around what does and doesn’t need to be reported.

It isn’t your security officer’s job to fill out the form for you – and you should be skeptical of anyone who offered to fill out the form for you. But they should absolutely be willing to assist with your questions.

The best way to garner the good graces of your security officer is to first do a quick check of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) guide to the SF-86 and resources available on to advise you on how to fill out various questions. If you continue to have questions about the security clearance process or how to fill out your form, be specific, and precise, and direct your questions to your security officer. Putting questions in writing can help to provide both clarification for you and explain to a background investigator why you answered a specific question in a specific way.

If you find yourself having someone else fill out the form for you (hello, helicopter parents), just know you will need to certify that the answers are correct. Even if you’re lucky enough to have someone who can complete your education, employment history, and other details on your behalf, you are going to want to make sure you review each section for accuracy and completeness before you submit.

Having an accurately completed SF-86 can be the best way to ensure a more quick, efficient security clearance process. Get the help you need to fill out the form well.

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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