Security Clearance Denial

Top Reasons for a Clearance Request to Be Sent Back to a Security Officer

A contributor at recently compiled the top 10 reasons for security clearance applications to be rejected at both DISCO and OPM. Failure to pay attention to detail seems to top the list, with issues of missing or incomplete information taking up the majority of the top 20 issues listed.

DISCO – these ten items account for 96% of all DISCO rejections

  1. Missing employment information
  2. Missing social security number of spouse or adult co-habitant
  3. Missing relatives information
  4. Missing Selective Service registration information
  5. Incomplete information concerning debts or bankruptcy
  6. Missing education reference information
  7. Missing employment reference information
  8. Incomplete explanation of employment record
  9. Missing personal reference information
  10. Missing explanation of drug usage

OPM – these ten items account for 98% of all OPM rejections

  1. Fingerprint cards not submitted within the required timeframe
  2. Certification/Release forms information illegible or missing
  3. Certification/Release forms not meeting date requirements
  4. Discrepancy of place and date of birth information
  5. Missing references (character, residential, employment or educational)
  6. Discrepancy of e-QIP Request ID Number
  7. Missing employment information
  8. Certification/Release forms not submitted
  9. Missing education information
  10. Missing residence information

We shared the article via several of our social sites, and some security officers were quick to point out that while many issues listed seem to make up ‘reasons a security clearance application was returned to the security officer,’ denials typically have much more to do with an employee lying or ‘misremembering’ key information. Either way it’s a good reminder for applicants that they are responsible for every aspect of their application – including whether or not it is filled out completely. A security officer may play a critical role in proofreading documents before they’re sent, but that’s not a guarantee of accuracy.

What issues do the investigators on this site see over and over again, and do you agree that it’s often an employee’s failure to include all of the required information that causes issues?

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    Can you send this to the military recruiters? They are the worst offenders. Nothing like sitting down with subject and finding out most of the Sf-86 is missing info and subject says, ‘my recruiter filled it out.’

    It’s obnoxious at the very least.

  2. Avatar

    I know personally the most common reason I send stuff back to the employee to fix is due to them not having employment info right. New employees always seem to fail to put us as their current employer even though we say in massive bold letters to do so. Also once had a guy list his supervisor as his employer.

  3. Avatar

    It still amazes me that military recruiters continue to get away with major discrepancies and omissions.

  4. Avatar

    Recruiters are by far the biggest problems. In an effort to make their quotas they “help” their recruits fill out the paperwork. Recruits enlist and, around the time they are in basic training, have to talk to one of us. Now they may not be eligible for a clearance based on the true information that they had previously disclosed to their recruiters so they may have to switch MOS’. But at least the recruiter made their quotas.

    On another note, people don’t take the time to read instructions. I’m actually shocked that OPM rejects any case papers, given what I see in the field…

  5. Avatar

    OPM/DISCO may send back some of the SF-86 forms with out the above information but I have done many interviews where the above mentioned items have not been on the form.

    I also agree with everyone with regards to recruiters. My favorite is getting to the listed references and my Subject has never heard of any of them and has never heard of the address, phone number or e-mail address listed for the listed references. Usually by the time I get to the listed reference’s section I am expecting this since everything else on the form has been filled out wrong.

    We got notification we are suppose to fill out some form regarding recruiter falsification when we find out a Subject’s case papers and were filled out by a recruiter and not the Subject. Not sure what they do with this form though. If the Subject tells me their recruiter filled out their SF-86, I get the recruiter’s name and as much contact info about the recruiter and the first line of my report I say something to the effect “Subject did not fill out their own case papers, their recruiter so and so located at this address with this phone number filled them out for the Subject.” Probably doesn’t do anything but at least it is out there

  6. Avatar

    Pretty sure the DoD could care less.

  7. Avatar

    Nothing like having a subject get uppity with you when they listed where their spouse has been living while they are off on deployment, special assignment, or extended tdy elsewhere….”but it’s my home of record for that time”. Yeah I would say just not reading the instructions is the biggest offense

  8. Avatar

    Since we’re piling on, yeah recruitiers are terrible about putting incorrect stuff on the 86. I will say, though, that when a 17-18 year old recruit won’t call you back to schedule an interview because it scares the crap out of them when a Special Investigator leaves them a voicemail, the recruiters are usually awesome at scheduling an interview time, giving you a room, and making sure the kid shows up.

  9. Avatar

    So what is everyone up to? It’s quiet around this forum lately.

    Had a six hour ESI today, I think my subject has done every drug known to man.

    Typing this report is going to be the suck.

  10. Avatar


    Fun times! We’re they required to be listed or did he decide to volunteer his way past history? Always loved the ones who’d say “well, no drugs in the last SEVEN years…” then go on to tell their lifetime drug history…

  11. Avatar

    Listed the basic stuff, marijuana, ecstasy, etc. Got all shady when it came to the presciption stuff, with what do you know, no prescription just knew he needed it.

    So glad tomorrow is Friday, probably typing all weekend anyway but I can only take so much human interaction.

  12. Avatar

    Well we got an e-mail about “Directed PTO”. Basically furloughs in low work load areas. No specific details have been released yet we would be able to use PTO,SCA for LWOP if it does affect us.

  13. Avatar

    I work for the other “big” company. We received an email this morning thanking us for our hard work this month as we have had higher than normal workload because we are starting to clear the PR backlog. We’ve been told to expect this until the end of the next quarter and that OPM continues to schedule high levels of work to us. We were told that this is happening despite “other companies operating under furlough” conditions. Is USIS so financially bad that they’re furloughing investigators? Good to know the reorganization from early 2012 worked so well.

  14. Avatar

    I heard a rumor there was little work to be had at USIS…

  15. Avatar

    I never get to hear any cool rumors.


  16. Avatar

    Interesting little thing someone recently sent me. How far behind is OPM in the Fayetteville area?

  17. Avatar


    How bad are we all doing that they won’t assign us the work (Ha, Ha,Ha,Ha.

    Even worse, the Fed Govt won’t even assign the work to their own people. Fed, what gives? 🙂

  18. Avatar

    Investigator-WOW! I’ve never seen an OPM presolicitation focusing on one area of the country. Especially when the current contract still has several years left and is nationwide. I wonder if someone’s nephew or cousin in Fayetteville recently started their own background investigation company…

    • Avatar

      No idea what you mean BW, the West Coast is slammed and we’re heading out TDY.

  19. Avatar

    I think that area just has a hard time finding people to work and to stay if they do find them. It seems to be one part of the country that is always behind. A lot has to do with new trainees and the high OPS Tempo; folks are hard to track down.

    It should be easy to work there–you never have to get any high school transcripts for people raised there 🙂

  20. Avatar

    Honestly, I love working military bases. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe I should put in for the solicitation and move. Eliminate the middleman. We could all start our own company!

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      I will never understand this business. Fed said they are TDY to the west coast. Our company is bring people in from CA to NC because of low work in CA. There are also rumors of lay offs in CA because of no work.

  21. Avatar

    Is it even possible for a local ISP to do OPM work without special accommodations? What do they do if the case requires an extension in California?

  22. Avatar

    Mr. H,

    They will probably pay for any work completed and anything that has to get scheduled out would go back into OPM’s pot? I’m not sure. And I’m not sure how someone would even coordinate that. But the solicitation looks like fieldwork only- no peripheral work. Not sure how that would go. Maybe they’d only assign individual items in the Fayetteville area while still maintaining control of the whole case. I guess we’ll know more once the RFP comes out.

  23. Avatar

    Bad BW, no doughnut.

  24. Avatar

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