Understanding the Role of a Security Clearance Adjudicator

It has been a while since I last posted on the adjudicator role in the background investigation process. Although much has changed as far as the agency in charge (NBIB), types of investigations, timelines and who is conducting them, adjudication has pretty much remained standard. There has been a push within DoD and the Intelligence Community for all of their adjudicators to get professional certification through the Center for Development of Security Excellence, and many job announcements now make it a requirement to obtain certification within 24 months.  Here are some of the requirements to attain Adjudicator Professional Certification:

  • Must have a favorable background investigation and eligibility for access to classified information (Top Secret).
  • Must be employed as an adjudicator by the DoD/IC CAF or another federal agency and accepted into the certification program.
  • Have completed introductory and Level 1 DoD Personnel Adjudications courses.
  • Have completed and documented on-the-job experience requirements (this means having reviewed and made decisions on background investigations that cover the full scope of issues in the Adjudicative Guidelines).
  • Take and pass the Adjudicator Professional Certification assessment.

There is another level of certification for adjudicators who handle due process functions (issuing SORs/LOIs and testifying at hearings). They are required to meet additional experience requirements and undergo supplemental testing and assessment. As you can see, it is a complicated and arduous road to becoming an adjudicator and they have to have a stable temperament, calm disposition, and the ability to remain objective and impersonal when making determinations that impact national security or affect an applicant’ s career and livelihood.