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Information Protection switches to new continuous evaluation method

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- With recent advancements in technology, the Department of Defense has rejuvenated the Continuous Evaluation program and enhanced the way individuals holding access to classified information are evaluated.

Continuous Evaluation is the on-going process of monitoring randomly selected Airmen who have current eligibility to classified material and are continuously evaluated to determine if they meet the requirements to have a security clearance. CE uses technology to conduct OPEN SOURCE/Public Record records checks to identify potential derogatory information that indicates a personnel security concern. Potential derogatory information or alerts discovered during the records check will be compiled into a report and sent to the individual’s commander through the Information Protection Office. The CE process is just one facet of the Personnel Security program and fills the gaps between periodic reinvestigations that are conducted at given intervals based on the types of duties performed and clearance level.

“The CE process allows the DoD Central Adjudication Facility using adjudicative guidelines to monitor open-source areas that include but aren’t limited to allegiance to the US, substance abuse, arrests, financial issues and protection of information to name a few,” said Scott Hopkins 22nd Air Refueling Wing Personnel Security Program manager. “If something pings and lets the DoD CAF know there’s an issue going on, that will require more information. From there, the DoD CAF can send a request for the Information Protection office to acquire more information about the activity in which a member has participated. This allows us to work with the individual and assist in mitigating the concerns before a member’s eligibility is jeopardized.”

Under the CE program, if a member does go up for adjudication, the results come back at a quicker rate than with the old program.

“This is quicker, more mainstream and we’re getting results through the adjudication program faster,” said Hopkins. “This is a culture change. The old program was local and included things that occurred at McConnell. Now, the system pulls things worldwide that are available through open-source methods including things that happened at a member’s previous base.”

Since the CE process is electronic, thus being easily available, it can provide information for future employers and commanders on the status of a member’s clearance.

“This isn’t just for their time in the military,” said Steven Eftink, 22nd ARW Information Protection chief. “Say an individual separates, this information can still be used by future employers to see how members mitigated a situation that called their clearance into question.”

If a situation did arise, a complete response from the member could help turn the adjudication process in their favor.

“In order for the Personnel Security program to be effective, it requires that all Airmen understand that a security clearance is a privilege and not a right,” said Eftink. “In some cases their actions have consequence. For the continuous evaluation program to be successful, there needs to be collaboration between Airmen and their leadership to report, as well as provide timely responses, through the IPO to the DOD CAF to explain any issues that have been discovered. The key to retaining a security clearance is loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability and honesty.”

If you have concerns about the Continuous Evaluation program, or want to know if something needs to be reported, contact your unit security manager.