Obtaining Security Clearance

Inside a Career as a Security Clearance Adjudicator

Adjudicating security clearances isn’t an easy job. It requires personal integrity, and offers a variety of challenges. A contributor recently outlined the some of the requirements of the job, offering a glimpse into the other side of the security clearance investigation process. Below is an excerpt from the article. Read it in its entirety here.

“Adjudicators hold an immense responsibility for making decisions that could impact national security and/or alter the life path of the individual being investigated.  Adjudicators are required to be unbiased and maintain a fair, impartial, and objective attitude toward the person being investigated and information being reviewed and adjudicated.  Common characteristics of persons assigned these duties include: maturity, integrity, honesty, discretion, sound logical thinking, and strong analytical processing and communication skills…

Being an adjudicator is a tough job and is not one of the more favorably looked upon positions within an agency.  There will always be someone who disagrees with the adjudicative decision and as the subject matter expert, the adjudicator has the responsibility to present the concerns to management in a factual and impartial manner and put forth a sound recommendation.  Despite the various challenges, adjudicators are security professionals that work behind the scenes peering into the darker side of human nature while trying to do their best in making hard decisions and are an integral part of the overall security process.”


  1. Thanks, we don’t usually hear too much about this end of the business.

    But something I’ve wondered, and the article doesn’t really address it… in order to become an adjudicator, is it necessary to have some background doing investigations? It would seem to be a valuable prerequisite.

  2. Can you start a topic involving how to become an adjudicator? I’m very interested. Thanks

Comment Archive

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    Merry Christmas to the clearance community!

    I hope 2014 brings us all much success!

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    My background and make-up is custom made for such a position. I do the hard work it takes to get to the truth. I write well and know how to communicate how I came to a certain decision. My thick skin is not concerned with dissenting opinions. When you spend many hours on a witness stand you learn how to minimize embarrassment. It makes you a better investigator and it molds you for this type of position.

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    Just found out from some friends of mine who still work for USIS that USIS just laid off 175 to 200 Investigators in low work areas.

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    Low work areas or not, schedulings are expected to increase now that there’s a new budget and there won’t be the threat of another shutdown this month. At least that’s the hope regarding the scheduling element. Work will always be there, so I guess it’s a question of who will pick it up if 175 to 200 investigators are no longer with USIS because of that company’s well-known financial problems.

    2014 should be another interesting year in the industry.

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    November and December have been the same for years…low work loads and lots of TDY’s to remote locations to play catch up.

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    I was wondering if there is a formal mechanism that an individual can use to file a complaint based on unreasonable time for processing an adjudication (State)

    Your comments are appreciated.

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    I was wondering if there is a formal mechanism that an individual can use to file a complaint based on unreasonable time for processing an adjudication (State)

    Your comments are appreciated.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but even if there were a way to lodge such a complaint it seems to me like complaining and sending back food to the cook to have done properly. You’ll get it done but at what unknown cost. 😉

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    Interesting. I would argue that as a public servant I DO strive for a more efficient use of taxpayer money. Nevertheless, I’m starting to realize that there are so many people involved in the process that it is not fair to just blame the adjudicators. Thanks for your comment, I completely understand where are you coming from.