Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA)
If your job requires you to obtain a national security clearance to gain access to sensitive information, the first thing you will need to do is submit a Security Clearance Application. The majority of security clearances in the U.S. are obtained via the Department of Defense (DoD). We will discuss the DoD process here.
Once an individual submits an application to the DoD, the initial investigation will begin. A decision to grant or deny security clearance will be based on several factors, including the applicant’s loyalty to the U.S., past conduct, trustworthiness, history or drug or alcohol abuse, criminal conduct and financial responsibility.
Security Clearance Denials and DOHA
If an individual is seen as a risk, the request for security clearance will be denied. The applicant will receive a detailed list of the reasons for the denial (called Statement of Reasons). If the individual wishes to appeal the denial, he or she can do so through the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA).
The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals is in charge of conducting industrial security clearance reviews for people who would like to appeal a security clearance denial.
Once an individual receives a Statement of Reasons, he or she will be given 20 days to respond. An extension for response may be granted upon request. At this point, an individual may wish to request a hearing to appeal the decision.
If you would like to appeal a security clearance denial, you should consult with an attorney experienced in these specific issues. Security clearance matters are complicated and take a certain knowledge and skill level.
The Edmunds Law Firm has extensive experience with a complete range of security clearance matters, including denials and appeals, and can help guide you through what can be a confusing and daunting process. We can help you at any stage of the process. If you already received the Statement of Reasons and are trying to decide whether to request a hearing, contact The Edmunds Law Firm for guidance.
After a hearing is requested, the applicant will need to exchange all the documents they wish to present at the hearing with the government before it takes place. Hearings are usually conducted like federal district court bench trials and will require testimonies from the applicant in addition to possible character witnesses.
A decision can take several months. Once a decision is reached, either side can appeal within 15 days. This appeal will be handled by the Appeals Board, and will be based solely on the written record from the hearing. Once the decision is made, there can be no further appeal.
How an Attorney Can Help
Because the hearing is so important, hiring an attorney who has experience with security clearance appeals is vital to the outcome of the case. The Edmunds Law Firm has the experience, the knowledge and the resources to successfully handle security clearance matters nationwide.