What a Security Clearance Reveals About a Veteran Job Candidate

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Our military possesses information and technology which could aid our enemies, and its unauthorized release could compromise our national security. Therefore, only selected veterans, government personnel and companies are granted access to classified information or facilities. In other words, “Loose lips sink ships.”

What Is a Security Clearance?

A security clearance investigation ensures eligibility for access to national security information. The investigation focuses on character and conduct, emphasizing such factors as honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, financial responsibility, criminal activity, emotional stability, and other pertinent areas. All investigations consist of checks of national records and credit checks. They can also include interviews with individuals who know the candidate.

Determining whether to grant a security clearance is based upon these guidelines:

  • 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

Classified Information and Security Clearance Categories

All classified information in the military is housed under these categories:

  • Confidential: Unauthorized disclosure could cause damage to the national security.
  • Secret: Unauthorized disclosure could cause serious damage to the national security.
  • Top Secret: Unauthorized disclosure could cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.

Additionally, some classified information is so sensitive that even the extra protection measures applied to Top Secret information are not sufficient. This information is known as Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or Special Access Programs (SAP). Special SCI Access or SAP approval must be given to access this information.

How Long Are Security Clearances Valid?

A Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) is required every five years for a Top Secret Clearance; 10 years for a Secret Clearance; and 15 years for a Confidential Clearance. Clearance holders are subject to a random investigation at any time. Reinvestigations are more important than the original investigation because those individuals who have held clearances longer are more likely to be working with increasingly critical information.

A security clearance is inactivated when someone leaves the military, government civilian job, or contractor job. It can be reactivated within 24 months, provided that the last background investigation falls within this above time frame.

What Does a Security Clearance Tell a Recruiter About a Veteran Job Seeker?

If a recruiter encounters a veteran seeking employment who has (or has had) a security clearance, it means that person has been thoroughly vetted by the Department of Defense and deemed eligible to handle and view classified information of varying degrees. It means their character and conduct are strong; they are honest and trustworthy; and they are reliable and financially responsible.

These qualities, in addition to the many leadership skills and intangible attributes veterans possess, translate to: Hire veterans!


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