Whether a specific incident would be reported promptly to clearance adjudicative personnel, and whether it would then result in an investigation, and possibly a clearance revocation, would depend on a number of factors. These would include: who is aware of the incident, the seriousness of the incident, whether previous incidents were a matter of concern in the past, and whether the incident relates to areas considered to be of concern for persons holding a security clearance. Incidents that are not immediately investigated may also be noted and explored later when that individual undergoes a routinely scheduled Periodic Reinvestigation. Information relating to the following issues may be considered significant in relation to holding a clearance:
- Allegiance to the U.S.
- Foreign Influence
- Foreign preference
- Sexual Behavior
- Personal Conduct
- Financial Considerations
- Alcohol Consumption
- Drug Involvement
- Emotional, Mental and Personality Disorders
- Criminal Conduct
- Security Violations
- Outside Activities Misuse of Information Technology Systems
Can I Appeal a Clearance Denial or Revocation?
If you are denied a security clearance, or an assignment to a sensitive position or a position of trust, or your current clearance or access is revoked, you have the right to appeal the adjudicative decision. Under such circumstances you will be provided a statement on the reason(s) why you are ineligible for the clearance and the procedures for filing an appeal. If you believe the information gathered about you during the investigation is misleading or inaccurate, you will be given the opportunity to correct or clarify the situation.
DOD maintains a web site which gives a pretty good overview about past Security Clearance Appeal Decisions for DOD contractor personnel.
How long are Security Clearances valid?
A Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) is required every 5 years for a TOP SECRET Clearance, 10 years for a SECRET Clearance, or 15 years for a CONFIDENTIAL Clearance. However, civilian and military personnel of DOD can be randomly reinvestigated before they are due for a PR.
When a security clearance is inactivated (ie, when someone gets out of the military, or quits from their government civilian job or contractor job), it can be reactivated within 24 months, as long as the last background investigation falls within the above time-frame.
For example, if a military person has a Top Secret Clearance, and gets out of the military, and applies to work for a civilian contractor, the military member's clearance can be reactivated within 24 months of getting out of the military, as long as his last Top Secret Background investigation is less than five years old.
A security clearance is a valuable commodity outside of the military. This is because civilian companies who do classified work for DOD must bear the cost of security clearances for their employees, and clearance investigations can cost several thousands of dollars. Because of this, many DOD contractors give hiring preference to ex-military personnel with current clearances. However, you want to do your job-hunting right away, after separation. Once your clearance expires, you cannot simply request that DOD issue a new one, or conduct a Periodic Reinvestigation, simply to make your job-hunting prospects easier. To be issued a clearance, or to renew your clearance by DOD, your present duties/assignment, or pending duties/assignment must require such access.