The Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), William Evanina, released a statement advising agencies and directorates and reassuring security clearance holders and applicants that coronavirus related financial issues will not result in an adverse security clearance determination. While financial issues are an adjudicative criteria, security clearance denials have always been based on the ‘whole person’ concept – that means that a single issue (even a financial one), should not tank your chances of getting a security clearance. Financial issues beyond your control (like a global pandemic) are a mitigating factor in a final clearance determination.
Evanina stresses, “we are aware of the potential for economic hardship on security clearance holders.”
The Trusted Workforce 2.0 with the attendant Continuous Vetting (CV) highlights how one would normally see a negative adjudication decision for an individual who was found to be financial insolvent. Evanina emphasized how he has directed departments and agencies to consider as a mitigating factor financial hardship for those directly affected by COVID-19.
Given the number one adjudicative guideline resulting in security clearance denial for the Department of Defense is Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4) Guideline F; Financial Considerations,Evanina pointed to the exact portion of the guideline which discusses events beyond an individual’s control.
(b) the conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the person’s control (e.g., loss of employment, a business downturn, unexpected medical emergency, a death, divorce or separation, clear victimization by predatory lending practices, or identity theft), and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances.
The guidance from the NCSC doesn’t negate the weight of other factors which may tip the scales toward a negative adjudication. In 2019, well ahead of the arrival of COVID-19, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, saw 522 cases which resulted in denial of appeals associated with one’s personal financial responsibility.
All cleared individual must continue to notify their FSO when they encounter financial hardship, regardless of mitigating circumstances resulting in the downturn in a clearance holder’s fiscal situation in accordance with the continuous vetting process.
Source: Clearance Jobs website