Security Clearance

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All NAVSEA employees are required to hold a security clearance. Contrary to popular belief, the security clearance process does not have to be scary or intimidating. It is simply a process designed to make sure you will be a trustworthy employee who does not pose a risk to national security.

How do I get a security clearance?

If you are offered a position at NAVSEA and do not already hold a suitable clearance, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire. The questionnaire includes questions on where you have lived and worked, attended school and traveled overseas. It will also include questions on whether you have been convicted of any crimes.

In the Department of Defense, there are three basic clearance levels: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. Depending on the clearance level required for your job, questions may also include information about your finances, mental health, unauthorized or illegal use of computer information systems, as well as drug and alcohol use.

When the questionnaire is complete, a background investigator will look into the information you provided to assess the truthfulness and completeness of your answers. If your job requires you to hold the highest clearance level, you will also be asked to take a polygraph exam. Very few NAVSEA positions require a polygraph exam.

The results of that investigation will then be used to determine your eligibility for a security clearance.

What will disqualify me from getting a security clearance?

You must be a U.S. citizen to obtain a security clearance. Beyond that, this is not an easy question to answer. You should not assume that something in your past will disqualify you from getting a security clearance. We all make mistakes. The investigation and adjudication process will look at your entire record, the good and bad, to make a determination on your eligibility.

The best piece of advice we can give is this: Be honest. False or misleading information on the questionnaire or patterns of dishonesty in your background are certain red flags.

What are the advantages of having a security clearance?

Most importantly, a security clearance makes you eligible for NAVSEA employment, which is why you are reading this page in the first place. In addition, holding a security clearance makes you eligible for a larger number of federal government jobs, and some surveys indicate that people with security clearances earn a higher income than people who do similar jobs in the private sector without a security clearance. If you intend to make a career in the federal government, holding a security clearance is a major advantage.

How long does the security clearance process take?

The answer depends on the clearance level required for your job and the complexity of your circumstances. Most NAVSEA employees require a Secret clearance, which is not as involved as a Top Secret clearance. Other factors that will extend the length of the process include extensive foreign travel, drug or alcohol abuse, a criminal record and personal behavior that appears to advocate on behalf of foreign governments or extremist ideology.

In general, the NAVSEA security process should take 30 days or less, although complicating factors may result in a longer process.

What do I do while my clearance is being processed?

Relax. Read a good book. Have fun with family and friends. Obtaining a security clearance is a credential that is well worth the wait.

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The Department of Navy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor. The Department of the Navy provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicant who believe they require reasonable accommodation should contact us at for assistance.