Security Clearance Process

Statement of Reasons Job Aid

The Defense Security Service (DSS) published a job aid for security professionals and Facility Security Officers (FSO) to assist military and DoD civilian personnel in understanding what is in the Statement of Reasons (SOR) package and how to respond to a Letter of Intent (LOI) to deny eligibility for a security clearance. I recommend all applicants undergoing the background investigation process who know they have issues to resolve read this, especially the sections labeled “The Subject’s Responsibility” and “Preparing Your Response.”

The FSO or Security Officer handling the SOR are not there to provide advice or tell an applicant how to respond to issues, and often are not even aware of what the issues are unless the applicant show them the sealed LOI. They are only acting as intermediaries to ensure the appeal process is followed correctly. Some may give you tips and advice, but it is up to the applicant to identify the issues in the LOI, research and gather information and documents that may help mitigate, and respond within the timelines indicated (note there is one for sending in your intent to appeal and one for sending in the actual appeal).

Keep in mind SORs and LOIs are written by adjudicators and reviewed by their legal office. As such, the language and context can be confusing to those not familiar with the adjudicative guidelines. Reading through the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) cases, you can see many of the appeals submitted to DOHA do not actually address the main issues and are denied because of it. The FSO or Security Officer is a valuable resource in helping applicants understand exactly what the disqualifying conduct or issues are, which in turn, will help applicants target their responses instead of getting overwhelmed by the entire process and ending up providing little or no mitigation.

You can find the DSS job aid here.