Financial Hardships and Security Clearances

  • Published
  • By Maj. Brian C, Bowman
  • 132FW/JA
It goes without saying that members of the Guard are not immune to the financial turmoil that many in society are facing. This issue may cause members to worry that the financial trouble they are experiencing may have ramifications for their service in the Guard.

The area where this would be of the most concern would be with the criteria for obtaining and renewing a security clearance. All of us have had to apply for a clearance and know that one of the areas scrutinized is our financial situation. So if you are one of the ones unfortunate enough to be hit with a financial emergency through no fault of your own caused by you or your spouse losing their civilian job, you are likely concerned about consequences in the Guard.

Thankfully, if you are doing all you can under the circumstances, this will not affect your security clearance. The Air Force Central Adjudication Facility (AFCAF), the organization charges with managing this mission area, evaluates security clearances applying adjudicative guidelines outlined in DoD Regulation 5200.2-R. Under this regulation, a condition that could mitigate security concerns is a scenario where conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the person's control and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances.

In other words, the adjudicators apply the "whole-person" concept and look for patterns of financial irresponsibility. For example, standing alone, a bankruptcy or foreclosure is not a "bad" indicator. If the individual had not prior financial problems, yet was forced into foreclosure due to the housing turndown or an inability to sell a home, this would be mitigated by the condition above. However, if the subject has a history of not meeting financial obligations documented from previous investigations and now forecloses on a home, there is a pattern of financial irresponsibility that cannot be easily mitigated. In all cases, prior to taking a final adverse adjudicative action the subject will receive an opportunity to provide the AFCAF with information that can mitigate the potentially disqualifying information.

In short, what the AFCAF is looking for is a "good faith effort" and proof of honest and diligent attempts to resolve financial issues. While there is much anxiety when it comes to financial hardships, if you can do this you don't have to have anxiety about your security clearance.