This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
Government contractors, federal employees and military personnel holding security clearances have a duty to self-report security issues that happen between investigations.
Not reporting timely security concerns can lead to a loss of one’s security clearance in itself. Unfortunately, there are often uncertain about self-reporting and when and how it applies to a clearance holder.
The Duty to Self Report
The duty to self-report was best defined by an administrative judge from the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) in a 2001 case: “[I]t is the responsibility of security clearance holders to report events which negatively affect the status of the security clearance holder or the facility. [A]ny information… [which] reflects adversely on the integrity or character of a security clearance holder should be reported to security personnel to avoid compromising situations that make the security clearance holder vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or duress.”
Examples of What Might be Reported
A reportable security concern is an incident that falls under one of the Adjudicative Guidelines contained in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4). In most cases legal counsel should be consulted to determine how to self-report an issue. The following are just a few of the more common examples of security issues that could trigger a duty to self-report:
- An individual uses illegal drugs (including the use of marijuana even in states or countries where legal locally). This can be a very complicated security concern given the intersection of criminal law and clearance law where legal advice will definitely be needed.
- An individual is arrested. The timing and substance of reporting this incident will be important so legal advice will be needed.
- An individual petitions for bankruptcy. Because filing for bankruptcy bears on financial considerations under SEAD 4, the individual should likely report the filing as soon as possible to his or her security officer.
- An individual marries a foreign citizen. Because marrying a foreign citizen can raise foreign influence issues under SEAD 4, it most likely will trigger a duty to self-report.
When Should a Security Concern be Reported?
When an individual who holds a security clearance determines that a security concern requires self-reporting, it is important to do so as soon as timely as possible. The typical procedure for doing so is to notify one’s security officer of the security concern. The security officer may simply take note of the situation, report it or take other action.
The individual almost always feels embarrassed to self-report a security concern. However, not reporting an incident can lead to the loss of an individual’s security clearance. If an individual has questions about what should be reported, he or she should seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in security clearance law as soon as possible. There are risks to self-reporting, so it is important to seek legal counsel prior to doing so where possible.
If you are in need of legal representation or advice on the reporting of security clearance issues or any other security clearance matters, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.
A look at the smallest and largest homes sold in Alexandria last month, January 2024.
The City of Alexandria wants federal help to make the stretch of Seminary Road northwest of I-395 safer. The City Council is slated to review a grant application to the…
Here’s your weekly look at the events, live music, and entertainment that are happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy! Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY…
While pro-Potomac Yard arena advocates and lobbyists are making the rounds in Richmond, a group of locals are also knocking on doors in the legislature fighting against the arena. Former…
Are you looking to work on health and fitness from the comfort of your own home?
Skip the big box gym and try out our in-home personal training service. We bring the gym to you so that you can save time and avoid the hassle of going the the crowded gym.
We bring all the equipment you need for a solid workout and if you have a community gym we can use that too.
We offer programs that will help with weight loss, strength, flexibility, more energy and overall feeling better.
Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM
Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.
Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.
Again this year, The Critical Mass, LLC, the Made in ALX store and local Ukrainian-American artists are throwing a Pysanky Party — and partnering on a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Razom for Ukraine.
The free event, from 5 –