What is Security Clearance?

Not just anybody can gain access to secure information. Before someone can access information that can impact national security, he or she must pass a detailed background check and receive what is called “security clearance.”

Our federal government gives certain individuals security clearance as a way of saying, “This person has passed our background investigation and can now access classified information for this period of time.” In the United States, the three levels of security clearance include the following:

  1. Confidential
  2. Secret
  3. Top Secret

The Department of Defense (DOD) is the government agency responsible for processing and dolling out security clearances throughout the nation. A Confidential security clearance typically lasts no longer than 15 years. Secret lasts no longer than 10 years, and Top Secret does not last more than 5 years. If the clearance has expired or if the person has had a two or more-year break in service, he or she will have to reapply for security clearance – this is a new application.

How Long Does It Take to Apply?

As a general rule, it takes about 200 days from start to finish to process a security clearance application, whether it’s for Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret clearance. “What if my application is denied, or I get clearance but it’s later revoked? What is my recourse?”

Whether a security clearance is denied or revoked because of alleged criminal behavior or misconduct, you can contact our firm for assistance filing an appeal due to the adverse decision. This will involve a written brief, which will be reviewed by the Appeal Board at Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). However, to file an appeal, the Administrative Judge must have made an error, which the appeal will be based off of.

Related: Security Clearance: Will Investigators Ask Around About Me?

To learn more about security clearances or security clearance appeals, contact our security clearance firm for professional legal assistance.