A loss of jurisdiction in the security clearance adjudication process can be a major red flag for employers and potential sponsors for a security clearance. According to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), a loss of jurisdiction is a designation reflected in the Defense Information System for Security (DISS) that is placed on an individual’s eligibility for access to classified information when they have lost affiliation with the Department of Defense as a military member, federal employee, or employee with a cleared government contractor. In more simplistic terms, if you lose sponsorship for your clearance, whether through voluntary or involuntary separation, the Consolidated Adjudication Services are no longer able to make an eligibility determination on your security clearance.
Typically, a loss of jurisdiction occurs when there is something that needs to be adjudicated, such as a pending Statement of Reasons or an incident report placed in DISS, and a separation of sponsorship occurs before those issues can be adjudicated. Since the loss of sponsorship indicates that you no longer require a security clearance, DCSA Consolidated Adjudication Services would no longer have jurisdiction to make an eligibility determination on a person’s security clearance (i.e., DCSA “lost jurisdiction” to make a determination because you don’t have a need for a security clearance). This is commonly referred to as a “flag” or “red flag” in your DISS to potential employers due to the unresolved nature of the potential security concerns that notifies a potential employer that there could be delays in you obtaining security clearance eligibility. These “flags” can make it difficult to obtain employment in the future unless the loss of jurisdiction is resolved.
The most common way to “resolve” a loss of jurisdiction is to obtain new sponsorship and for the security manager or facility security officer to submit a Customer Service Request (CSR) in DISS for a new action to request adjudication of a person’s security clearance eligibility. This can occur once they have taken over sponsorship of that person’s security clearance. Essentially, once you obtain sponsorship for your security clearance, your new organization can notify DOD to continue or begin a new adjudication of your security clearance.
Another, more complicated way to “resolve” a loss of jurisdiction is to file a Request to Amend one’s DISS records sent directly to DISS in the event there is any false and/or derogatory information in your record. You will still need to obtain sponsorship for your security clearance in order to actively use it, however, this would resolve any pending incident reports contained in your file and thus make it significantly easier to obtain sponsorship by removing the “flag” in your DISS that employers typically shy away from. This is a complicated way to resolve a loss of jurisdiction, as DCSA will only remove an incident report if it can be unequivocally proven through sufficient and solid evidence that the information contained in the incident report is false or incorrect. Absent this specific evidence, DCSA will not remove the incident report.
The resolution of a loss of jurisdiction process can be complicated, especially if you have not taken the necessary steps to mitigate the concerns that previously caused your clearance to be flagged via an incident report and/or statement of reasons. If you are unable to properly navigate this process, then you face further delays in the adjudication of your security clearance and potential future career.
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. 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 by the NSLA. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (888)-529-4543.