Clearance Appeals Process
DOD CAF-Industry Division
Personnel Security Management Office-Industry (PSMO-I), formerly DISCO, adjudicators will either grant your security clearance or refer your case to PSMO-II for a decision. When your case gets “referred” to PSMO-II, that means your case is going to DOHA. PSMO-II are the DOHA adjudicators. It means that PSMO-I cannot “affirm” or grant your security clearance. It means that you have too many negative issues in your background. In reality, it’s the first denial/rejection of your security clearance application but PSMO-I forwards your case to PSMO-II and lets them make the final determination on your clearance application. Adjudicators have a serious responsibility. It’s a hell of a thing to deny or revoke someone’s security clearance; You’ve basically just destroyed or adversely impacted that person’s life and the lives of their family members.
PSMO-I adjudicators transfer cases with significant derogatory information to PSMO-II adjudicators. If PSMO-II decides to deny your clearance, they will mail an SOR (Statement of Reasons) to you. You need to respond to the SOR with information that eliminates, or at least mitigates, the issues that PSMO-II cited in the SOR for the denial of your security clearance. PSMO-II will then review your responses to the SOR. If PSMO-II still denies your security clearance, you have the right to appeal in one of two ways: Personal Appearance or Written Appeal. A DOHA AJ (Administrative Judge) will either grant or deny/revoke your security clearance. If still denied, you can appeal to the DOHA Appeal Board (3 DOHA lawyers/AJs.) The DOHA Appeal Board will Affirm, Remand or Reverse the AJ’s decision. The Appeal Board, however, rarely reverses the AJ’s decision.
Three Decision Levels
- PSMO-I & PSMO-II Adjudicators
- DOHA AJ
- DOHA Appeal Board
Military and Civilian
Adjudicator at CAF will send you an SOR. You respond to the SOR. The adjudicator will review your responses to the SOR. If CAF still denies, they will send you a LOD (Letter of Denial.) You appeal LOD to DOHA. The DOHA AJ makes a recommendation to the Component PSAB (Personnel Security Appeals Board.) The PSAB (3-member board) will decide to Grant or Deny/Revoke your security clearance. One member of the PSAB is from the personnel security field. The other two members are from non-security occupational specialty fields. These two members ensure due process, consistency and fairness to the appellant outside of the personnel security environment or sphere of influence.
Two Decision Levels
- CAF Adjudicator
- DOHA AJ recommendation to PSAB