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Commander's Comments: Protect Your Security Clearance

  • Published
  • By Col. James Reagan
  • Vice Commander
One of the first things we all completed upon entering the Air Force, or Air National Guard, was an application for a security clearance. Security clearances are required for every position in the ANG. It is not something you automatically receive upon entry. It is a favorable action that is granted to you and it can be taken away!

To ensure you were eligible for a security clearance, your application was reviewed by the Air Force Central Adjudications Facility using the following Adjudicative Guidelines: allegiance to the U.S., Foreign Influence, foreign preference, sexual behavior, personnel conduct, financial considerations, alcohol consumption, drug use, psychological conditions, criminal conduct, handling of protected information and use of Information Technology systems.

Once you are determined eligible for access to sensitive information, you are expected to comply with the standards of conduct outlined by Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information. This presidential order directs that access to classified information shall be granted only to individuals "whose personal and professional history affirmatively indicates: loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion and sound judgment; freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion; and willingness to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of classified information."

To meet the standards of conduct listed above, you are required to self-report areas in your personal life that conflict with the executive order. You are expected to your keep your unit security manager informed of changes in your personal life and/or conduct. Some examples of changes are: marital status, foreign travel, foreign contacts, loss or compromise of information, financial problems, i.e. bankruptcy, garnishments or liens, arrests regardless of whether or not charges were filed and psychological or substance abuse counseling.

As you can see, the list can be quite extensive. Self-reporting of these activities is not optional, it is mandatory in accordance with DoD 5200.5-R. It does not mean informing your unit security manager only during a periodic investigation. It means informing them at the time these events occur. Failure to self-report is a personal integrity issue. Two of the most common issues that arise at the 180th FW during periodic investigations are financial issues, like indebtedness, and driving under the influence arrests. If these not self-reported, then they most certainly will be discovered during an investigation. Failure to report any of the areas listed above potentially jeopardizes your security clearance and ultimately your membership in the ANG. If in doubt, ask your unit security manager or supervisor.

Remember, maintaining eligibility for a security clearance in the ANG is a requirement for membership. It is entrusted only to personnel who remain reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the U.S. Along with eligibility comes responsibility, and ultimately the responsibility rests with you! It's up to you to make sure your security clearance does not become insecure.