Security Clearance Process

Clearance Suspension Process

For current security clearance holders there are some things you should know if you ever happen to have your security clearance suspended. Most federal agencies use similar guidelines and procedures when suspending an individual’s clearance, but the focus of this post will be on DoD’s process which is outlined in DoD-M 5200.02. Here are the basics of the process:

DoD Component heads, commanders, or their authorized representatives may suspend access for cause when information relative to any of the adjudicative guidelines exists and raises a serious question as to the individual’s ability or intent to protect national security information. The Defense Security Service has the authority to suspend access for cause for cleared employees of contractors. Notification is provided to the person in writing when their eligibility or access has been suspended and should include a brief statement of the reason(s) for the suspension. The statement does not have to list each and every detail, but should provide enough information so that it is clear as to why the action was taken. The DoD CAF is notified and updates JPAS with an incident report and suspension status. There is no appeal process for the suspension of a clearance because it is an interim decision pending either reinstatement or revocation.

Suspension cases must be resolved as quickly as circumstances permit and cannot be open-ended. After the inquiries and investigation are complete, all of the information gathered is sent to the DoD CAF, along with a recommendation from the employer whether to reinstate or revoke. The CAF evaluates all of the data in accordance with adjudicative guidelines. If a determination is made to revoke then a statement of reasons is issued and the individual is afforded due process. If the decision is to reinstate, then all records and systems are updated to reflect the eligibility status.


  1. Hi Marko,
    Is there any timeline that the Government follows to resolve suspension cases? My full secret and interim top secret clearances were temporarily rescinded by the Defense Security Servives (DSS) in March 2018. The DSS provides no reason for this rescission and I am waiting to hear since then.
    I am a federal contractor and this information is new to me that DoD CAF also considers employer’s recommendations along with other information whether to revoke or reinstate.

  2. No timelines are established, only that it cannot be indefinite. They should have provided a general reason for suspending, ask your FSO to inquire.

  3. I really appreciate your reply.
    My case is in adjudication since October 17 (confirmed this from OPM). My FSO told me that government is not providing any reason for my clearance rescission. However, he advised me to check my finances as finances are very common for clearance rescission/suspension. I find that my account was delinquent due to an unpaid car tax bill pending from last year. The car tax amount was $200 which I paid right away. Since, the tax amount was insignificant I am assuming this could not be the reason of clearance recsission.
    I am a federal contractor and now a department within DoD is very interested to hire me. This job only requires Non- Sensitive Public Trust. They interviewed me last week and checked my references. I am really interested to get this job and I also informed them about my situation.
    I have no idea if the outcome of my final TS decision will impact my ability to get Public Trust. I am also not sure if clearance could be rescinded due unpaid insignificant amount. The only advise I received from my FSO is to sit and wait.

  4. I would go with the public trust position and not wait around for DSS to make a decision on the clearance. They can request a copy of the clearance investigation and adjudicate it under suitability guidelines if it meets the level needed…

  5. Hi Marko,
    My FSO sent an inquiry to adjudicate my investigation. He received a response that my investigation is closed with pending final adjudication with DoD CAF and the PSMO is unable to provide any additional information regarding this case.

  6. Hi Marko,
    I have received a tentative job offer today from an agency within DoD with requirement of Public Trust Non-Sensitive Clearance. The job offer is pending on;

    1. Suitability review and adjudication for employment.
    2. Eligibility for a Secret Security Clearance (you must maintain
      eligibility for that clearance).
      I want to know how the Suitability review and adjudication process for public trust is similar/different than the Secret clearance? How long it takes? Any estimates?
      What factors are considered in checking the eligibility for a Secret Security Clearance?
  7. Your case is very similar to mine. My Secret clearance has been revoked and I am currently in the appeal process. In the interim, I am working a job with the Department of Commerce that requires only a Non-Sensitive Public Trust and have accepted a tentative job offer with the Coast Guard with the same requirement. Both PT’s are pending. My Security Manager with the the DOC seems to think that since DOHA has already revoked my Secret, that my PT is toast. Even my Program Manager is arguing with him about that. I haven’t been specifically notified about the results of my PT in either DOC or USCG position.

  8. You cannot be in a Public Trust position if it requires a secret clearance.

  9. Hi Marko,
    The job posting only requires PT Non Sensitive but the job description that was sent to me has this requirement of Eligibility for a Secret Security Clearance (you must maintain eligibility for that clearance). I want to know how Eligibility for a Secret Security Clearance is different than having actual clearance?

  10. My full Secret and interim TS both were temporarily rescinded in March 2018 with no further communication from DSS. I am still waiting.
    Since you are working on a position that requires PT Non-Sensitive after the suspension of your clearance, I want to ask what are the relevant adjudication guidelines for this type of clearance? How long does it take to get it?
    I am tentatively offered a job with the PT Non Sensitive requirements from the same agency.
    I wish you luck with your pending PTs.