National security clearance denials can occur for a variety of reasons – we have actually discussed many of them in a multipart blog series. A military discharge, however, is one reason that nearly guarantees your security clearance application getting denied. This is especially true if you are seeking military security clearance, as opposed to another government agent or employee working elsewhere.

However, a denial based on a military discharge is by no means the end-all, say-all on the topic. With some preparation and knowledge, you can actually file a security clearance appeal to set things right.

Appealing After a Military Discharge

No reason to sugarcoat it – being discharged from the military does not look great when you are trying to obtain security clearance. The government will only grant clearance to people that it trusts, and a military discharge would suggest that someone in the United States Armed Forces, arguably one of the most important branches of the government, had reason not to trust you. At the least, that person did not trust you with the duties of your position or rank. How can this be countered in an appeal?

While formulating your appeal, the following could be useful:

  • Honor: To be clear, a dishonorable discharge is what might worry someone reviewing your national security clearance application. If your discharge was honorable – which can occur if you are wounded and cannot serve, are desperately needed to care for another, etc. – point this out to the administrators present at your appeal. It might have been overlooked the first time through.
  • Testimony from superior officer: A dishonorable discharge might be damaging to your reputation but it is not all that defines you or your military career. Consider talking to a superior officer that knows you provided a great service to your country, despite how it ended, and get a helpful testimony.
  • Clean history: If your military discharge was due to some sort of criminal conviction or distasteful activity, you might be able to reference your recent history to your advantage. Showing you no longer exhibit those unwanted behaviors can turn the appeal in your favor.

In many security clearance appeals cases, the petitioner has one chance to get the denial overturned. There is typically no higher court to which another appeal can be filed if it is unsuccessful the first time. Rather than risking everything on uncertainty, craft your appeal with The Edmunds Law Firm and our national security clearance attorneys. We are backed by more than 40 years of security clearance case experience and dozens of testimonials from satisfied clients.

Learn more about your options and our legal services by contacting us now.