Security Clearance Denial

History of Drunk Driving Leads to Security Clearance Denial

Having been in the military myself, I know it takes quite a bit to get kicked out for misconduct. Commanders give their troops every available option to rehabilitate behavioral issues before resorting to discharge proceedings. A DoD contractor security clearance applicant, also former marine, was denied eligibility for a clearance based on conduct that led to an “Other than Honorable” type discharge from in the Marine Corp and an incident that occurred afterwards. Here are the highlights:

  • 2012 reckless driving conviction after allegedly falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a neighbor’s car
  • 2014 driving under the influence conviction when he was driving through the gate back onto base and failed field sobriety tests and blew a .14 for a breathalyzer.
  • 2017 nonjudicial punishment for wrongful use of a controlled substance. He was intoxicated after drinking six beers while at a bar and met two guys in the parking lot who offered him some cocaine, which he snorted. The next day he was subjected to a random drug test by his unit and came up hot. This incident, combined with the previous ones, eventually led to the discharge.
  • 2018 driving under the influence charge after drinking four mixed drinks and two beers while at a bar and then getting stopped by the police for erratic driving.

The DoD denied eligibility for a security clearance under the guidelines for alcohol consumption, criminal conduct, and personal conduct. The applicant appealed to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals and chose to submit it in writing in lieu of a personal appearance. No new information or mitigation was provided that would alleviate the concerns and upholding the denial was never in doubt. For him to think he would get a security clearance after these alcohol related incidents was wishful thinking. You can read the entire case summary here.


  1. I have to disagree with your statement “commanders give their troops every available option to rehabilitate behavioral issues before resorting to discharge proceedings”. As someone with 40 years of intimate experience with all 4 out of the 5 military branches I can say that varies widely from service to service and decade to decade. I have found the Air Force to be a very “zero defect mentality” and the Army to be on the other end of the spectrum, with the Navy and Marines in between. I sense the Space Force to be evolving into even more “zero defect” than the Air Force.

  2. Number one is obviously Space Force. Which are the other three?

  3. I don’t know very much about Space Force. I don’t see how anyone can know much about it as young as it is. It seems to be a bit of a shoot off of the air force, with some of the same mentality.

  4. I’ve found that there is much, much less tolerance for any type of misconduct when committed by an officer, regardless of which service is involved.