Background Investigations

Your Background Investigation is Done: Now What?

Once all of the investigative requirements for your background investigation have been completed it is sent to the DOD Central Adjudication Facility (CAF), if you work for a DOD component, or to the federal agency’s CAF that requested your investigation. For DOD personnel and contractors your case is assigned to a PSMO-I (first level) adjudicator who will review the Report of Investigation (ROI) and make a favorable decision if no issues of concern under the 13 adjudicative guidelines are present.

DOHA = Not a Dirty Name


If there are issues in the ROI that are of such concern that the adjudicator can’t approve/grant your clearance, they will refer your case to a PSMO-II (second level) adjudicator for a decision. These are also known as the DOHA adjudicators, and it is usually not a good thing when your case if referred to them. If you work for some other federal agency then the case is sent to that agency’s CAF for adjudication where it is reviewed in much the same manner.

National security adjudicators incorporate “the whole-person concept” by weighing the good with the bad when deciding your case. Truthfulness, honesty and candor go a long way with adjudicators; attempts to deceive, conceal, omit and obfuscate information in your background will do more harm than good. Adjudicators review the current ROI, compare them to any previous investigations, and look for anomalies or inconsistencies in the information you provided.

A common error for applicants who have had previous investigations is to not review and/or change information in the e-QIP online application that was pre-populated from your previous investigation. All of the information on the application should be current and up-to-date. Remember, any signs of deliberate dishonesty or withholding of information raises red flags and could result in a Letter of Intent to Deny/Statement of Reasons. As always, I advise that when filling out the SF-86, take the time to read each question, make sure it is understood what the question is asking for, and then provide a detailed and accurate answer. Treat this as an important job interview or final test that you need to pass in order to graduate.