“I will never be able to get a security clearance again after this denial.” That is a common thought that many people feel after having a clearance denied or revoked. However, as long as you take the necessary steps to ensure that the previous reasons for your security clearance denial or revocation have been resolved, there is a pathway to overcoming a previous denial or revocation.
Most government agencies allow an individual who has been denied a clearance or had their clearance revoked to reapply for a security clearance after 12 months from the date of the final decision. Some agencies require a wait of 24 months and others of 36 months. The most common length of time is 12 months. This may seem like an eternity, but if you use that time wisely, you will be able to set yourself up for success in the future.
You cannot simply submit a reapplication request once the required waiting period has elapsed. You must obtain sponsorship for a security clearance first, 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 person complete an updated security clearance application, typically done through the e-QIP system.
Once the security clearance application is processed, an agency will review the reasons an individual’s clearance was previously denied or revoked. In some cases, if you are an employee of a DOD government contractor, DOHA will notify the sponsoring company that the applicant’s previous clearance was denied or revoked, and the applicant will be required to supply mitigating evidence that the reasons that previously caused the applicant’s security clearance to be denied or revoked have been resolved or sufficiently mitigated. In other cases, individuals are not afforded the opportunity to submit an actual reapplication brief, and the mitigating evidence must be submitted with the new security clearance application. Either way, this means that you must submit evidence of successful mitigation for the previous reasons that caused your denial. If you are unsuccessful, then you are barred from reapplying for a security clearance for an additional period of time, usually 12 months but could be longer.
Many people who reapply for a security clearance simply submit a new security clearance application, but during the time they were waiting to reapply, they took no steps to mitigate the concerns that caused the denial or revocation in the first place. This is a poor strategy that will very likely result in the reapplication request being denied, further prolonging the advancement of one’s career. Additionally, some people also wait too long to begin taking action, and thus, by the time they are required to submit new and mitigating evidence, they have not gathered enough to be successful. One of the most common issues that prevents people from having their reapplication request accepted is procrastination.
The reapplication process is serious and can further delay your career if you have not taken the proper steps to mitigate the concerns that previously caused your clearance to be denied or revoked. Simply waiting until the opportunity arises to reapply for a security clearance will likely return negative results. Therefore, preparation immediately or even during a previous denial or revocation process can be the difference between being granted a security clearance and being forced to wait another year or longer to finally resolve the security clearance issues. Regardless of the actions you have taken, you should seek the assistance of an experienced security clearance attorney to assist you with drafting the reapplication brief. If you are unable to properly and fully advocate for yourself and provide the proper mitigation to overcome the reapplication process, then you face further delays and issues that could impede your career advancement.
Ryan C. Nerney, Esq. is a Managing Partner in the Ladera Ranch 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 the CIA, NSA, DIA, DOD, NRO, and DOE, among others. 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. Ryan currently serves as Secretary for the National Security Lawyers Association (NSLA) and was awarded the 2022 Security Clearance Lawyer of the Year award by the NSLA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (888)-529-4543.