It appears as though it’s getting tougher to gain and maintain security clearance, judging by the number of rejected applications and revoked clearances, according to a Federal Times article.

“The National Security Agency rejected the largest number of initial applications for security clearances, while the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency led the intelligence community in revoking already-issued clearances,” according to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released in April.

The NSA’s rejection rate for new applicants is 9.2 percent, while the National Reconnaissance Agency’s rejection rate is 7.4 percent, the CIA’s rate is 6.5 percent, and the NGA’s rate is 3.9 percent.

The number of United States government employees and contractors who have security clearance has dropped by nearly 636,000 — approximately 12 percent — in the last year.

The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was part of an effort to reduce the overall number of clearances and to review the process for awarding and administering them, according to the Federal Times article.

Part of the reason for a reduction in the overall number of security clearance holders is the result of a directive from the Director of National Intelligence in 2013 to review whether employees and contractors with access to classified information actually needed that access to perform their duties, the ODNI report states. Department and agency heads reviewed and validated that need and as a result, the number of security clearance holders dropped by 3.1 percent.

The report also listed statistics for significant delays in application approval. The leading reason for delays was due to foreign influence concerns, or Guideline B of the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information. Financial Considerations – Guideline F – were another common cause for delay.

Expediting the Clearance Process

The security clearance process can be tricky terrain for someone who has no experience, says Catie Young, a partner at Security Clearance Law Group. Hiring an attorney with experience in this area of law can help streamline the process.

“Although we can’t guarantee that we can speed up the approval process for you, we can work with you through the application process to ensure you have provided all of the pertinent information needed to enable the government to make a determination regarding your clearance eligibility,” Young says.

Having an attorney on board during the application process also can come in handy if the government issues you a Statement of Reasons that it intends to deny your clearance application.

“In these situations, having an attorney working with you equips you to prepare an argument in your defense,” Young says.

Please call our office for a consultation if you are applying for security clearance, or if you’ve received notice that your clearance will be revoked. We can assist you through the process.