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How to Reapply for a Security Clearance After a Denial or Revocation as a DOD Government Contractor

If your clearance is denied or revoked after a lengthy adjudication process, you are probably asking yourself, “will I ever be able to obtain a security clearance again?” The answer is yes, on the assumption that you take the necessary steps to ensure that the previous reasons for your security clearance denial or revocation have been sufficiently resolved.

Under the Department of Defense Directive 5220.6, Enclosure 3, Paragraph E3.1.37, applicants who have had a security clearance denied or revoked by the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) are unable to reapply for a security clearance until one year from the date of the initial unfavorable clearance decision. This means that if you are issued a Statement of Reasons and respond through either a written response or a hearing in front of a DOHA Administrative Judge, and have your clearance finally denied or revoked, the one-year time frame begins from the date of the Judge’s decision. If you elect not to respond to the Statement of Reasons, then the one-year time frame begins from the date your clearance was officially revoked or denied by the Defense Counterintelligence & Security Agency (DCSA).

However, an applicant cannot simply submit a reapplication request. An applicant must obtain sponsorship for a security clearance, and the reapplication request for a security clearance must be made initially by that sponsoring company or organization. This step typically begins with the sponsoring company requesting the applicant complete an updated security clearance application.

Once the security clearance application is processed, DOHA will notify the sponsoring company that the applicant’s previous clearance was denied or revoked, and the applicant will be required to supply evidence, typically within 60 days from the date of notification by DOHA, that the circumstances or conditions that previously caused the applicant’s security clearance to be denied or revoked have been resolved or sufficiently mitigated. See Department of Defense Directive 5220.6, Enclosure 3, Paragraph E3.1.38. This means that you must address and successfully mitigate the allegations that previously caused your clearance to be denied or revoked. If you are successful in mitigating the previous concerns, then you will be granted permission by DOHA to proceed with the normal security clearance investigative and adjudicative process. If you are unsuccessful, you will be barred from reapplying for a security clearance for an additional 12-month period, and risk further setbacks to your career.

The reapplication process can be complicated, especially if you have not taken the necessary steps to mitigate the concerns that previously caused your clearance to be denied or revoked in the first place. A simple written statement may not be enough to prove the necessary mitigation, and in certain circumstances, a more detailed response is required. If you are unable to advocate for yourself properly, then you face further delays in obtaining a security clearance and continuing your career.

Ryan C. Nerney, Esq. is a Senior Associate in the San Diego office of Tully Rinckey PLLC, where he focuses his practice primarily on national security law, with experience in federal employment and military matters. Ryan represents clients who have security clearance issues against agencies such as DHS, NSA, DIA, DOD, NRO, and DOE. He has represented numerous clients in security clearance revocation proceedings and has a proven record of saving clients’ jobs, as well as anticipating and resolving potential future issues with their security clearances. He can be reached at or at (619)-357-7600.

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