The Department of Defense and its military departments are moving all security clearances for military members, civilian employees, and contractors to a continuous evaluation (CE) investigative process.
This means that the DoD will be doing continuous vetting – that is searching commercial and government records databases – for adverse information about security holders. No longer will such record checks only be done at the time of a security clearance investigation.
How does CE work?
CE involves frequent, automated checks of security-relevant databases for adverse information. The CE System (CES) generates electronic alerts that are delivered to agency personnel security officials when potentially adverse information is identified. The goal of CE is to identify information that may raise security clearance concerns earlier and more frequently than occurs through manual record checks. CE data sources fall into seven categories: (1) clearance eligibility, (2) terrorism, (3) foreign travel, (4) suspicious financial activity, (5) criminal activity, (6) credit reports, and (7) commercial public records.
Did I consent to CE monitoring?
Yes. In signing the Standard Form 86 (or equivalent forms) for release of information and submission to either an initial or periodic background investigation for the purpose of attaining a security clearance or hold a sensitive position, you have authorized the government to conduct background investigations, reinvestigations, and continuous evaluation.
What happens if adverse information is identified through the CE System?
Derogatory information identified during CE automated record checks is used for investigative lead purposes only. SecEA Directive 6, Continuous Evaluation, stipulates that “[i]information gathered by CE shall be forwarded to the sponsoring agency for analysis of adjudicative relevance and a determination if the information meets thresholds for further investigation and/or adjudication.
If further investigation is warranted, the Central Adjudications Facility could send an investigator to collect records and/or conduct an interview of the clearance holder. In the alternative, the CAF will generate a Continuous Evaluation Incident Report (CEIR) that is sent to the Security Management Official (SMO) for the security clearance holder. The SMO will then normally notify the chain of command for a determination if an immediate clearance suspension is warranted. The SMO is also required to respond to the CEIR. This often involves presenting the CEIR to the security clearance holder and giving them 14 days to respond to the allegation in the CEIR and provide supporting documentation. Once the CAF has the necessary information involving the CEIR, the security clearance adjudicators make a determination to continue the individual’s eligibility to access classified information or take an adverse action, such as issuing a Statement of Reasons.
How do I respond to a CEIR?
First, it’s important to respond to the CEIR within the provided time period. Therefore, if you receive a CEIR, it’s imperative to start working the response immediately. The CEIR should be supported by documentation. For example, if the CEIR states that a domestic violence injunction was issued by a state court against the clearance holder, and assuming this is an accurate statement, the clearance holder should respond with: a statement in mitigation and extenuation regarding the basis for the injunction; a copy of the injunction; documentation relating to efforts to address the behavior such as counseling or anger management; and any other documentation showing the underlying incident was isolated and unlikely to recur and any rehabilitation efforts taken to address the behavior.
Will the CE process replace periodic investigations?
No; however, some periodic reinvestigations will be deferred if no security relevant issues exist and the individual is enrolled in CE. The DoD is considering shifting to an event- or risk-driven model for reinvestigations rather than a calendar-driven model.
How can Korody Law help if I receive a CEIR?
Korody Law has more than 12 years security clearance law experience and has successfully advised hundreds of clients facing clearance concerns. We can assist those who receive a CEIR or other notice of derogatory information such as interrogatories or a Statement of Reasons with drafting the response; obtaining court documents and other records; obtaining witness statements; and making referrals for counseling or other resources to mitigate security clearance concerns.
Korody Law is Florida’s top security clearance law firm. We understand your security clearance means your career and reputation. We more than a decade of proven security clearance defense experience, earning a national reputation for success, particularly in winning security clearance cases before DOHA judges. No matter the severity of the Statement of Reasons you face, our security clearance lawyers have the skill, tenacity, and matchless insight to help you. We have helped our clients obtain security clearances even in the most difficult cases.