Security clearance in the U.S. armed services

Is the ability to obtain a security clearance a requirement for entry into the U.S. armed services? If this is not done before the recruit begins boot camp, what happens if the recruit is unable to obtain a clearance? Is s/he kicked out of the service? What level security clearance do recruits start out with?

No, and none, to answer your two main questions. The military is more concerned with your criminal record in the recruiting process.

Other than a tour with Diplomatic Security, I didn’t need a clearance during the other 19 years I served. Some specialties do require clearances, however, which will be granted after a background check is done. In the Navy, folks in the nuclear field may need one, people who are linguists, etc. But your run of the mill deck ape doesn’t. The same applies to other services, as well. Some positions are very sensitive, but most aren’t.

There’s no reason for an enlisted person to have a security clearance. They are not making decisions based upon classified information…they follow orders. They don’t ask why.

Many jobs in the military don’t expose the the enlisted person to classified material, so there’s no reason to spend the additional money to more fully investigate the person’s past. I had to have my clearance in place two months after I joined for tech school, so there are reasons for few people to need a clearance right away.

There are plenty of enlisted jobs that require clearances.

But they may ordered to handle or care for classified information or classified technology if their post requires it. As said in an earlier post by Chefguy, clearance goes with need goes with post and job specialty, so some junior enlisted can have security clearances IF their billet requires it. (PFC Manning, anyone?)

When my stepbrother-in-law was an active Marine (just as he was finishing his basic training, IIRC), he was selected to serve on the guard detail at Camp David. They ran an extensive background check on him (including requiring him to document every time he’d traveled outside of the U.S., and every job he’d had as a teenager), but I don’t know exactly what level (if any) of actual security clearance he received.

Already covered and not the question. Clearances are not required as a rule at the time of enlistment. I suppose there could be an exception if someone was recruited from a sensitive field to fill a sensitive billet right away, but that would be so rare as to not be worth this discussion.

Category 2 Yankee White.

I was a linguist in the Army. They did the investigation while I was at language school. We weren’t shown anything classified until the next school. Anyone who failed to get a clearance was assigned a job based on the needs of the Army.

The entire military is not run like the Navy. Most of us were guaranteed a particular MOS prior to signing our contracts. I was a navigator in a scout helicopter when I joined. My MOS required a Secret clearance, no exceptions. If I was unable to get a clearance then I would not have been able to enlist with that MOS. There are quite a few MOS in the Army that require a clearance. Many more that do not. That is MOS specific not assignment specific.

Similar to the AF. I was guaranteed a certain AFSC (AF for MOS) before I enlisted. However, I didn’t receive my clearance BEFORE I enlisted. In fact, I was through basic, tech school, and on to my first assignment before my clearance was granted. If my clearance were denied, I would have been downgraded to just “Secret” if I could, or a non-clearance job if I couldn’t and then separated out after my enlistment. Almost everyone in the AF has at least a Secret clearance and needs to maintain it to reenlist. Comm guys like me, needed to maintain a TS clearance that NEVER went away, regardless of duty station.

My SF86 was completed prior to going to Basic but I don’t know when the clearance was actually approved. It had to be before AIT since we learned some low level classified information there. By the time I went to my first assignment my orders had my clearance listed as Secret. Secret clearances are not that difficult to get.

I just learned recently that there are certain programs for enlistment of non-citizens that require a full background check, virtually identical to those done for security clearances, be completed prior to accession – but this does not lead to a security clearance for an enlistee. However, this process applies only to a very, very, very small percentage of enlistees.

Bullshit. I was an enlisted aerial photographer. A significant portion of my work was classified. I had a security clearance. It was not about “making decisions based upon classified information”, it was about having access to classified material necessary to perform my job. My mission would be to film certain weapons or other objects being deployed from certain aircraft. Sometimes the airplane itself was classified. Sometimes the munition was classified. Sometimes the other objects being deployed were classified. Had specific procedures I had to follow for handling classified film.

Note it’s possible to enter the military as a commissioned officer, e.g. enrolling at a Service Academy, in which case you will very much be rejected for failing to acquire security clearance.

I assume Army by the AIT. When I was in AF basic, everyone who would eventually need clearances all went together from my flight and started the SF86 in a room by ourselves. It was cool because we got out of dorm cleaning or some other such stuff. (Yes, the AF calls them dorms. Don’t hate!)

I didn’t mean to imply that getting a Secret clearance was hard, just that it would be an option if TS didn’t come through (although I had no worries, other then they didn’t believe I had no bad marks on my records at all :slight_smile: )

I agree. The first statement shows so little understanding of how the military functions that they should probably not post on the subject in GQ anymore.

Are you folks even bothering to read the OP? The questions are:

  1. Is the ability to obtain a security clearance a requirement for entry into the U.S. armed services?

  2. What level security clearance do recruits start out with?

The answer is clearly “no” and “none” (with some exceptions for officers).

Perhaps reading skills should be required in order to post. :dubious:

Are you bothering to read what people are replying to? Do you think this statement

is accurate?