Financial irresponsibility could lead to revocation, denial of security clearance

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE -- Many people think that criminal or illegal activity is what will revoke their security clearance. 

But today, the majority of revoked clearances are because of financial standing. 

Department of Defense regulations outline the personnel security standards that are applied in determining a security clearance. They include acts of espionage, untrustworthiness, criminal or dishonest behavior and indebtedness. Personnel are evaluated according to these guidelines to determine their eligibility for a clearance. 

"The number one reason for revoked or denied security clearances is financial irresponsibility," said Tech. Sgt. Brian Bibb, the wing information security program manager. 

According to numbers from an Air Education and Training Command report, there were 1,000 cases of revoked clearances because of finances in 2005, a number two times the size of the 2004 denials. 

Air Force-wide, a debt of $5,000 or more that isn't being paid on and is six months overdue will put up a flag during a check on someone's security and automatically creates a suitability case on the person in question to determine if they are fit to have a clearance. 

The flag can go up on first-time security checks and the routine reinvestigations that occur throughout a person's career. Either way, if the flag of financial irresponsibility shows up, the person will be investigated to determine if they can maintain their clearance. 

"This problem can affect the operational side of the Air Force," Tech. Sgt. Bibb said, "because deployments and assignments can be affected." 

Commanders may have to short-fall deployment commitments or utilize alternate personnel if a person does not have the clearance to fill a position. 

In addition, technical training squadron commanders are often affected by this issue more than the other commanders on base. Some of the technical training here at Sheppard is classified and requires trainees to have an adjudicated or interim security clearance; without it the trainees cannot complete their training. This can ultimately result in wasted manpower, time and funds. 

A person who is flagged for financial reasons can be eligible for a clearance as long as they start taking care of their finances. Air Force Headquarters would need documentation from the person showing they are working to correct their financial situation. Failing to provide that documentation would eliminate them for clearance eligibility. 

This is becoming an issue Air Force-wide, Tech. Sgt. Bibb said. It is the responsibility of all Air Force personnel, both civilian and military, to make sure their finances are in order because it can affect more than their pocketbook, it can affect their careers. 

For more information on this and other security clearance questions, see your unit security manager.