Security Clearance Denial

DOE Clearances and Office of Hearing and Appeals Cases

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Hearing and Appeals, much like its counterpart within the DoD (DOHA), hears appeals for those denied eligibility for a DOE “Q” or “L” security clearances. Unlike DOHA, the DOE appeals board decides on both federal and contractor employees alike and makes adjudicative decisions in other areas like Human Reliability Program reviews, FOIA appeals, whistleblower cases, contractor employment grievances, and other mediations. The bulk of their work, however, involves security clearance eligibility decisions. In their annual FY 2015 report the board heard and made decisions on 104 clearance eligibility related cases that fell into the most frequent disqualifying categories of conduct or concern (some had multiple issues). Here is a breakdown of the numbers and issues:

– 11 = Falsification
– 38 = Mental Condition
– 27 = Alcohol Misuse
– 8 = Illegal Drug Use
– 58 = Lack of Trustworthiness or Reliability
– 6 = Other

The adjudicative criterion used to grant access eligibility for DOE access to classified material or special nuclear material is found in 10 CFR Part 710. Although the guideline titles themselves are labeled differently (e.g., Guideline H: Illegal Drug Use versus Criterion K: Illegal Drug Use), they cover same basic conduct and concerns as used by other federal agencies. Obviously illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, and mental illnesses don’t mix well with handling classified nuclear information, but those issues can be mitigated and from what I have read, DOE has some of the best medical evaluation programs for clearances across the U.S. Government.

DOE cleared job opportunities abound with national laboratory locations all over the United States. Here are just a few: Albuquerque, Amarillo, Chicago, Idaho, Kansas City, Livermore, Los Alamos, Lynchburg, Nevada, Oak Ridge, Richland, Savannah River, Schnectady, and the Headquarters in Washington, D.C.