@Ramza All Departments and Agencies adjudicate clearances in accordance with EO 12968. While all have their quirks, I wouldn't say that one agency is more or less "stringent" than another. I won't speculate, for example, as to whether a DoS or DHS clearance holder has a higher likelihood of success v. DoD or CIA with a similar fact pattern. But as Marko said, your position, agency, etc. may impact things as well. If there are issues that raise concerns, and if those issues put you on the adjudicator's radar, I would prepare accordingly.
Thanks. Last question: Do you happen to know why adjudications take so long in making a decision? I find it hard to grapple with that saying either Yes or No takes weeks or months. I guess I am being figgidy here.
This question is on everybody's minds. I suspect it does not take all that long to make a decision for the majority of cases (those with very few issues or no issues at all). But it takes time for the cases to make their way to the adjudicator's desk. I expect there is a lot more pressure on adjudicators now so I'll bet stuff that used to be more or less ignored is now given more careful scrutiny.
And for those cases which are more complicated, then it does take time. Given the increased scrutiny, I'll bet more cases qualify as "complicated" these days.
Part of it is case load, part of it is the internal review process. Saying yes or no is based on investigation that can take time, and it's not a simple task. Remember, the process is in place to prevent the Robert Hansens and Aaron Alexis of the world from getting in or staying in.
Update: The adjudicator asked me if I had reported the January 2014 incident that I listed above. My response was No. The reason being, my agency's security reporting requirements are very vague and not specific. In fact, after the incident, I researched these policies and found that my agency only requires that security clearance holders report criminal [arrests] and no guidance on civil or criminal cases that involved no arrests. None of the above incidents involved criminal arrests, just court cases: 2/3 which were dropped, and the January 2014 incident was a PBJ where I completed probation and the remaining second-degree assault charge will be dropped and expunged next year.
Was it a major issue that I did not report it even though the policies for my agency do not require it? At the time of the incident in Jan '14, I was not a TS/SCI holder but only TS. I upgraded my SCI in April 2014.
Also, as @amberbunny mention above, my agency may issue me an "eyes only" letter as a warning but still grant my clearance. Is that possible considering these issues?
Despite your agency "not specifically" spelling out each and every type of incident that shall be reported, the fact remains is that self-reporting demonstrates personal integrity and is preferable to the incident or potentially adverse information being discovered and reported by others. Most briefings contain this standard verbiage:
Any arrest, regardless of whether or not charges were filed, or other involvement with the legal system (such as being sued), any circumstance where you were sworn under oath to testify about your association or involvement in questionable activities.
You still don't seem to understand that adjudication is predicated on the actual conduct, not the outcome as dictated by police charges or court pleadings/dispositions.That pretty much covers it!
I do understand that point. But as subjective as these adjudications are, how much emphasis is placed on mitigation over [the actual] conduct? As you pointed out, the issues I faced can be seen as a pattern. To what extent does mitigation--in my case-- (eg. rehabilitation, passage of time, good employment record, etc) produce a favorable outcome? I know you can't answer that, but that's what is going on in my mind at this point, whilst wondering if I would be allotted a pass with a "warning"? Are warnings even utilized in some agencies?
The adjudicators do have to exercise judgment but to call it 'subjective' might not be quite the right term. In this case, you have the issue of the behavior/incident itself, the possibility of it being part of a pattern, and the fact that although it was correctly listed on the SF-86, it was not reported promptly to security. The only "subjective" part in evaluating this fact pattern is whether the rest of the individual's personal history would allow the adjudicator to grant a clearance. I don't know for sure but I'll bet there is a lot of scrutiny these days and an adjudicator needs to provide some clear cut reasons for any determination and not just "well he seems like a good guy to me."
True on the scrutiny, but bona fide mitigation, I would assume, should also fit into the equation right? Despite the patterns?
Probation should have been reported. I train all cleared employees, even those cleared secret to report all court or police contact. I provide a log to my government contact and they periodically question if there is one of interest. They don't; care about routine jury duty for anyone. But any criminal charges or civil charges are required to be indicated on the SF 86. So the long answer is, yes it should have been reported. Any attempt to rationalize not reporting will look like just that...rationalizing. At best get written copies of your indoc brief, follow on training on reporting, and company policies regarding reporting. I do come across people who fall between the two worlds of TS TS SCI. Recently I assisted a TS employee with reporting close personal contact with a foreign national. They assured me he had no reporting requirement. But we all felt better knowing we reported it anyway. When in doubt, report even if you think it might get reduced or dismissed. Over report instead of under report.
Yes but...if you have too many "yes but" issues...the pattern is a death spiral. Time does mitigate much. If the conduct in question is 7 plus years old it is quickly aging out of the system. But enough of these situations over time tells a different story. I have seen clearances revoked amazingly fast for some. I have seen situations go on and on for years before clearance takes an action. Each story is unique. Getting clean (arrest events) is one thing. Staying clean is another. The longer you continue to be arrest free the better. If you were clearly in a stressful period of life with little chance of repeating...in and of itself...that is a mitigation. I know as I personally benefited from that mitigation (Divorce). I have had no negative issues over 8 plus years and they made the right call re-clearing me. Regardless, I would look up acceptable mitigation steps and craft an appeal letter now in a few paragraphs. The better prepared you are now to respond with acceptable argument in your favor, the better off you will be. But only argue points lining up with acceptable mitigation. Anything else is blowing smoke and comes across as such.
Quick question if one incident happen 5 1/2 years ago would a passage of time be considered. At 3 years?
It certainly qualifies in my book. I can tell you divorce, loss of job, death of a child (as I consider an intended pregnancy with desire to carry to term to be) death of a parent,etc are extreme periods of anxiety, stress, tragedy and not likely to repeat again. Obviously we understand there will be deaths but losing those close to you can certainly be looked at as a period of high emotional stress. All that said, "it depends." It depends on how strong a mitigation case you can make, how severe the negative behavior was, how long it lasted, and were you honest. If you were not initially honest, and this is key, reach out to your investigator and tell them you need clarify a few points. Your integrity speaks volumes. By you introducing the information as opposed to it being uncovered during a Poly or further investigation you are doing the right thing. In and of itself that speaks to your ethics. If you are hoping to not have it discovered and think of only dealing with it if it presents itself...you risk a denial. You cannot apply for a clearance for a year and then have a lack of candor issue, and a misbehavior issue.
You will need to put this to rest on this site as members of the community cannot offer any further advice then already given. Please refrain from posting any more on this subject and consult with a legal professional on your own.
just got word that my PR was adjudicated after 15 months!