Security clearance not to be taken for granted

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. ROSENE GOODS
  • 56th Medical Group first sergeant
Most of us know that having a security clearance is very important to getting and keeping a job in the Air Force. Most Air Force career fields require access to classified information. 

Specific and stringent policies are established to determine whether a person is eligible for access to classified information or assignment to sensitive duties. 

The Air Force does not take security clearance investigations lightly. During a security clearance investigation, a member's loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability are looked at, if not scrutinized, to ensure that he or she is eligible for access to national security information -- this is to ensure the Air Force employs the right quantity and quality of people. Furthermore, the inquiry accomplishes national records and credit checks. 

Defense Department regulation 5200 2-R tells us that the ultimate determination of whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is clearly consistent with the interests of national security and must be an overall common sense determination based upon careful consideration of the member's 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, and misuse of information technology systems. 

Each case is judged on its own merits and final determination remains with the responsible department or agency, and the foregoing criteria are evaluated in the context of the whole person. Although adverse information concerning a single criterion may not be sufficient for an unfavorable determination, the individual may be disqualified if available information reflects a recent or recurring pattern of questionable judgment, irresponsibility or emotionally unstable behavior. 

Take some time and consider the listed criteria -- you probably already know financial issues and criminal conduct could jeopardize your security clearance, but did you know about the other considerations?