In Adjudication

The security background check has entered the phase known as “adjudication.” The plethora of investigators has submitted its collective information to the office of Diplomatic Security, and now an adjudicator is evaluating the information that has been gathered about me.

At this point, my case can go in one of three directions. The first possibility, and the outcome that I am hoping for, is that the adjudicator could decide that I am eligible for a top secret security clearance, and will pass my case on to the Final Review Board. The second possibility is that the adjudicator could determine, based on the investigation, that I am a security risk. That would end my candidacy for the Foreign Service.

The third possibility is that the adjudicator could decide that more information is needed, and dispatch investigators to gather it. That would start another loop of investigation and report back to the adjudicator.

The adjudication phase is an infamous black box. Some candidates are in adjudication for 24 hours, some languish for 15 months. The process is opaque. If your adjudication is taking a long time, you can not know the reason. There is a phone number that you can call to ask the status, but all that you will be told is that your application is still in adjudication. This phase is frustrating for a lot of FS candidates, because, I think, many candidates have Type-A personalities, and want to be in control of their lives. While in adjudication, you can’t facilitate the process, and you have zero control over the outcome.

I am choosing to take a more Zen attitude toward the process, and am focusing on things that I can control, like self-mutilation and eating disorders. Just kidding. I’m enjoying the arrival of spring by running outside instead of going to the gym, and am dieting to try to lose a few pounds.

The Department of State takes this background check very seriously because Foreign Service officers need to have a top secret security clearance. It makes sense that the government has to trust the people who have access to sensitive material.

Thanks to everyone who was interviewed by Diplomatic Security. I appreciate you taking time to talk with the investigator and put in some good words for me.

One Comment

  1. PMc

    I would think that anyone with overseas connections like you have and have had would be under special scrutiny. A fabulously rewarding and rich life, which occasionally and in certain circumstances may have its downsides, i.e. a delay in processing.

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