If you are applying for federal government employment, everything about you and your life will be examined. Part of this examination will entail a security clearance and suitability review – but what exactly are these processes and how are they different?
The Security Clearance
When you undergo a security clearance, the federal government is evaluating you as an employee or contractor and whether or not you should be granted access to sensitive or classified national security information. Generally speaking, a security clearance can only be granted by the federal agency under which you would be employed, and only after you successfully complete a background investigation.
Your security clearance relies upon the determination the agency makes regarding your trustworthiness and character. If these are deemed satisfactory, you can become eligible to access classified information during your employment but after you’ve demonstrated a “need to know” the information.
The Suitability Review
Whereas the security clearance is primarily concerned with whether or not you should be trusted with government secrets, the suitability review is mostly about whether or not you would protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the position or job for which you’re applying.
In other words, the suitability review is an evaluation of a variety of factors that include your job qualifications, character, conflicts of interests, and other such factors. A suitability review can look and feel like a security clearance in many ways, but access to classified information is not conferred. The entire purpose is to determine whether or not you are “the right person” for the job.
Do You Have a Security Clearance Question?
If you are applying for federal employment or are facing an action that puts your security clearance at risk, reach out to Claery & Hammond, LLP for help. Our firm’s attorneys are highly experienced when it comes to advocating for clients who need help obtaining and defending their employment with the federal government.