COVID-19, Your Clearance, and Your Finance

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

COVID-19 Emergency Financial Relief Program

The COVID-19 Emergency Financial Relief Program was created to provide financial assistance to all Veterans, Active Duty, Reserves and National Guard who are experiencing a financial setback due to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant amount will support 1 month of payment up to $1500 in the following areas:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Auto Loan/Lease
  • Utilities (Electric, Water, Heat)

All checks will be sent directly to the creditor or landlord after the grant is approved. The Foundation can only support one emergency financial request per household.

To apply for emergency assistance go to theirwebsite.

The Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

About: With the cost of higher education rising each year, the Board of the Chief Petty Scholarship Fund (CPOSF) has made it our mission to generate and distribute funds for educational opportunities for qualified family members of the Chief Petty Officer community.

Eligibility: Candidates eligible for scholarship awards must be:

  • A dependent child, step-child, or a non-uniformed spouse of the US Navy Active Duty, Honorably Retired, Reserve, or Deceased Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief Petty Officer.
  • In the year of their request, possess a GED, be a graduating high school senior or high school graduate intending to enter, or an undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited and degree granting institution of higher learning.

How we can help? The CPOSF relies on fundraisers, donations, allotments and investments in order to provide financial assistance to those who are qualified. Below is a few of the ways we make dreams come true:

  • National Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): which is the main source of revenue via PayPal donations (Member #11549).
  • Other Donations: generous support comes from Navy Chief Petty Officer community, individuals, book royalties, and from our corporate sponsors.
  • Fundraisers: “Best of the Mess” – a culinary showdown for Navy Chiefs that is open to the public (Tidewater).
    • Tournaments – Golf, Pool, Darts (All regions)
    • MCPON Walker Legacy Ride (Tidewater)
    • Coin Auctions – online
    • Shop smile.amazon.com
  • CPO Initiation Season – an opportunity to encourage new Chief Petty Officers to contribute through their own fundraisers and donations of unused Mess Funds.

The Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund is a non-profit and dependent upon Tax-Deductible Donations to support its educational “Gift of Knowledge.” More information can be found via their website.

My Last Reenlistment into Navy

On August 3, 2019 I reenlisted back into the Navy Reserves after successfully reaching 20 years of Naval service. I intend to retire from Naval service in 2023 to pursue a new career. Here are the the pictures that capture my moment during and after ceremony.

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How to Talk About the Military in a Job Interview

A military spouse resume typically looks different than the norm. An astute hiring manager may quickly notice 1) your geographical location changed frequently, and apparently randomly, 2) diversity in job type or industry and 3) there are sometimes time gaps between jobs. I typically recommend that you be prepared to answer the following questions in a succinct and confident manner:

  • Why did you move so much? This is the inevitable question we all dread, and connects back to the age old mil-spouse question of “to tell or not to tell” that your spouse is in the military. That is your personal decision, but regardless of what you decide, you need to have a clear answer and stick to it.
  • How long will you be here? Again, how you answer this question is up to you, but be clear, concise, and stick to your answer in the interview and once you’re hired. Like most of us, you may not know the answer! Don’t feel like you must overshare, volunteer extra information about the military, or educate them on how the detailing process works. You don’t want to talk yourself out of the job. They don’t need to know that the military could change your orders tomorrow if they really wanted to!
  • Watch your body language. People usually obsess over what they’re going to wear to an interview but then overlook their body language. Make sure your body language exudes confidence, from when you walk in the door, shake their hand, and as you sit at the table. Also, note what you do with your hands when you’re talking. Do a mock interview with a friend or spouse and have them pay special attention to your hands.
  • Demonstrate you did research — but don’t be a creep! Be prepared with questions to ask at the close of the interview that demonstrate your understanding of the organization, its products, and the industry. However, do not ask questions that demonstrate that you researched the actual person interviewing you — even if you did! I recently interviewed a candidate that was qualified for the role but made comments and asked questions that so obviously demonstrated he had researched me that I felt like I needed to go close the shades to my office! In a nutshell: researching the company = good. Researching the interviewer = creepy.
  • Avoid words like “fault” or “blame.” I am sure most hiring managers could fill a small dictionary with words that make them cringe during interviews. Personally, my biggest pet peeve is when individuals use words like “fault” or “blame,” which give the impression that they lack personal responsibility. Hiring managers don’t want finger pointers on their team, but rather people that work through challenges and find creative solutions to them. This also goes hand in hand with the next recommendation which is….
  • Don’t talk bad about your boss or prior coworkers. Nobody wants drama on their team! Even if you left your old job because your boss was a total jerk, that’s not a good thing to share in your interview! Find a kind and respectful way to share that you and your peers had creative differences, or you were looking for a more collaborative or positive work culture, but again, don’t point fingers. Consider the old saying, “Every time you point a finger at someone, remember that 3 are point back at you!”
  • Ask for contact information to send thank you email. Written thank you notes may be old-fashioned, but politeness never goes out of style. While I don’t snail-mail a thank you anymore, I do send a thank you email to any person who interviews me 12-16 hours post-conversation. As the interviewer, I also appreciate receiving a thank you email as it demonstrates attention to detail and gives me a glimpse into how they will interact with our customers. However, in order to do so, you must remember to ask them for their business card or contact information at the close of the interview.

For more information check out Military Spouse website.