Obtaining Security Clearance

State Department Security Clearances

While the vast majority of security clearances are processed through the Department of Defense, several government agencies (including the Intelligence Community) run their own investigation processes. While the security clearance adjudicative criteria are standard, federal employment suitability standards differ between agencies, as well as procedures for clearance denial.

The State Department, for instance, has a Contract Review Panel, which is responsible for contract personnel suitability. ClearanceJobs contributor Christopher Burgess writes:


Within the Foreign Affairs Manual (the regulatory bible within the DOS) is where one finds the first reference to the CRP. Specifically, 12 FAM 232.3  Matters Bearing on Employment Suitability, sub-paras c and d address contractor suitability.

  • c.  When DS becomes aware of circumstances that bear on suitability for contract performance relating to a contractor applicant for a Department-issued clearance or public trust certification, the matter will be referred to the chair of the Contractor Review Panel (CRP) for a suitability determination:
    • (1)  Should the CRP find the applicant unsuitable, DS/SI/IND will notify the contracting officer’s representative (COR), who will notify the contracting firm that the applicant must be removed from contract performance; and
    • (2)  If the CRP finds the applicant suitable, DS/SI/PSS will proceed with the security clearance or public trust certification.
  • d. When DS becomes aware of circumstances relating to a contractor employee that bear on suitability for continued contract performance, DS will initiate a re-evaluation of its security determination based on the developed information and/or coordinate with the appropriate COR regarding the best way to proceed.

Not all positions within the DOS require a security clearance, and thus the “public trust determination” is used within the DOS for those contractors in sensitive positions, which are not exposed to national security information.