Legal Insider: Senate Committee Approves Security Clearance Changes


This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Reston Town Center that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced the Security Clearance Accountability, Reform, and Enhancement Act of 2015 (S.434) on Feb. 10, 2015. If passed, the new bill would modify the existing security clearance process for both federal employees and government contractors.

Federal agencies would also be required to terminate or place on administrative leave any federal employee who is involved in certain types of misconduct related to security clearance investigations. The new bill would also prohibit government contractors involved in similar conduct from performing background investigations. In addition, government contractors would be required to report violations by their employees to government agencies.

There are other provisions in the new bill, but the ones listed above seem to be the most significant provisions. The new bill was recently approved this month by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and will move to the full Senate.  A summary of the changes that would be enacted if S.434 is passed are provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

If such changes to the security clearance system are enacted, we will likely see an increase in the number of disciplinary actions taken against cleared federal employees. The new bill essentially enables the federal government to terminate federal employees who have been found to have been dishonest in the security clearance process.

We represent federal employees and government contracts in security clearance matters.  If you need assistance with an employment law issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at to schedule a consultation.  Please also visit and like us on Facebook at

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