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    Security Clearances

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    Policy Summary

    This policy defines the requirements set forth in Department of Energy (DOE) Order (O) 472.2A, Personnel Security. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) provides an open and collaborative research framework with visitors, affiliates, contractors, and employees from all over the world. As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory, LBNL operates within a variety of DOE Safeguards and Security requirements, including those found in DOE Order 472.2A, Personnel Security. DOE O 472.2A outlines requirements enabling the DOE to operate a successful, efficient, and cost-effective personnel security program that will provide accurate, timely, and equitable determinations of individuals' eligibility for access to classified information. Though LBNL is an unclassified non-possessing facility, a limited number of Berkeley Lab staff require DOE security clearances and access authorizations in order to facilitate their work in support of Contract 31. Security clearances are not granted unless directly required to support Contract 31.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    Laboratory employees with a need for a DOE security clearance to support implementation of Contract 31.

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

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    Contact Information

    Security and Emergency Services Division, Personnel Security


    Security Clearances

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    A. Purpose

    Per DOE O. 472.2A Personnel Security, security clearances must only be requested and maintained at the minimum number necessary to ensure operational efficiency.

    B. Persons Affected

    This policy applies to all LBNL employees requiring a security clearance to perform tasks or services stipulated in Contract 31.

    C. Exceptions

    This policy does not apply to security clearances held by other departments or other DOE entities, though employees and affiliates at LBNL who hold a clearance at another entity are required to inform the Site Access Office.

    D. Policy Statement

    1. General
      1. The objective of the Personnel Security Program is to provide support to employees in obtaining a DOE security clearance and to ensure that clearances are maintained to the strict standards outlined in this policy and in applicable requirements documents. The Personnel Security Program is managed by the Security and Emergency Services Division (SES).
      2. Per the LBNL Facility Clearance, and as outlined in the Controlled and Prohibited Information Categories policy, LBNL and its employees, affiliates, contractors, and visitors are not permitted to create, access, or store classified information at the Laboratory. However, certain LBNL personnel, through performance of the duties of their position, may need access to classified information to inform their actions at LBNL in direct support of Contract 31.
      3. The need for a DOE security clearance must be documented in the holder's official position description.
      4. At LBNL, there are three categories of valid security clearance justifications:
    2. Category 1: Management — individuals in operations and management positions of the Laboratory who have a need to know when matters relating to classified topics impact LBNL operations;
    3. Category 2: DOE Program Support — individuals who have recurring participation in reviews of other national labs and DOE programs that require clearances, as mandated by DOE, and/or that support the larger DOE mission to include user facilities that fall under this category;
    4. Category 3: Technical — key scientific staff that have persistent funding from one or more national security agency (e.g., the DOE NNSA, DoD, DHS, intelligence community) where the sponsored unclassified research has links to classified applications.
    5. Requesting DOE Security Clearance
      1. A security clearance request will be submitted to the DOE only after LBNL determines that the security clearance is essential for the individual to perform tasks or services stipulated in Contract 31 (i.e., for threat awareness to effect role responsibilities in support of the contract). A security clearance needed to support the work of another entity (including other areas of the DOE), in any way, must be held by that entity.
      2. DOE security clearances managed by LBNL are provided only under strict circumstances and require Laboratory Deputy Director and DOE Berkeley Site Office (BSO) concurrence before authorizing documentation will be signed by BSO. To begin this process, an LBNL employee should submit a request to Personnel Security at [email protected]. Personnel Security will send the applicant a form requiring a detailed justification and demonstration of line management and senior management concurrence. Once complete, the form must be returned to the Senior Security Operations Manager who will review the request and justification with the Office of National and Homeland Security (ONHS). Laboratory Deputy Director concurrence is required before further action can be taken.
      3. For all Category 3 (Technical only) requests, the requestor and ONHS will assess the need for a clearance before submitting the request to Personnel Security.
      4. Per DOE O 472.2A, a security clearance must not be requested to:
        1. Avoid the use of access controls or physical barriers to distinguish perimeters among security areas or between security and open areas, or to alleviate responsibilities for escorting persons without security clearances within a controlled area;
        2. Alleviate individual or management responsibilities for properly protecting classified information or controlling dissemination of classified information on a need-to-know basis;
        3. Determine an individual's fitness for employment with the contractor;
        4. Establish a pool of contractor employees with pre-existing security clearances;
        5. Accommodate an individual's personal convenience, expedience, gain, or advantage; or
        6. Anticipate unspecified classified work.
      5. Once internal concurrence has been acquired, Personnel Security will coordinate completion of the clearance justification form.
      6. Security clearances average more than a year in approval time. Access to classified information will not be permitted until notification is received from the DOE that the security clearance has been granted.
    6. Basic Requirements
      1. Personnel requesting a DOE security clearance through LBNL are subject to requirements during the request phase and throughout the duration of the assigned clearance. Requesting a clearance through LBNL signifies that the assignee recognizes these requirements and agrees to comply with them explicitly. These requirements include, but are not limited to:
        1. Truthfully provide all information requested for personnel security purposes to the DOE, including verification of U.S. citizenship.
        2. Submit to a background check.
        3. Submit to initial and randomized drug testing.
        4. Submit to credit and financial reporting.
        5. Notify Personnel Security of all foreign travel (business and personal).
        6. Sign a nondisclosure agreement.
        7. Complete initial, annual, and travel-based security briefings as required by Personnel Security and Counterintelligence.
        8. Accept criminal liability for disclosure of any classified information in accordance with applicable laws.
      2. Note:  Information provided or obtained in connection with a request for a security clearance could potentially result in employment impacts.
    7. Reporting Requirements
      1. All personnel who hold a security clearance through LBNL must report to Personnel Security any of the following situations within 24 hours of occurrence. Personnel must report when they engage in such situations, as well as when they learn of such situations for anyone they know to possess a DOE security clearance or to be in the process of obtaining a DOE security clearance. Failure to report these circumstances may result in suspension or termination of the security clearance. These situations are:
        1. Legal action effected for a name change;
        2. Change in citizenship or application for change;
        3. Application for, possession, or use of a foreign passport or identity card for travel;
        4. Any use of an illegal drug, or use of a legal drug in a manner that deviates from approved medical direction (where state laws define illegal drugs differently than federal laws, it is the federal law definition that will prevail.);
        5. Any arrests, criminal charges (including charges that are dismissed), citations, tickets, summons, or detentions by federal, state, or other law enforcement authorities for violations of law within or outside of the U.S. Traffic violations for which a fine of up to $300 was imposed need not be reported. Note: If the violation was alcohol- or drug-related, it must be reported;
        6. An immediate family member assuming residence in a sensitive country;
        7. Immediate family members include an individual's spouse, father, mother, children, siblings, grandchildren, spousal family members (parents, siblings), or the spouses of an individual's children or siblings;
        8. Hospitalization for mental health reasons or treatment for drug or alcohol abuse;
        9. Employment by, representation of, or other business-related association with a foreign or foreign-owned interest or non-U.S. citizen or other individual who is both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of a foreign country;
        10. Approach by any individual seeking unauthorized access to classified information or Special Nuclear Material (SNM), or who experience any other potentially counterintelligence-related incidents;
        11. Unexpected foreign travel (business-related or personal);
        12. Personal or business-related filing for bankruptcy, or
        13. Garnishment of wages.
      2. Clearance holders must provide Personnel Security a completed DOE F 5631.34, Data Report on Spouse/Cohabitant, within forty-five (45) calendar days of marriage or cohabitation. Note: A cohabitant is a person who lives with the individual in a spouse-like relationship or with a similar bond of affection or obligation but is not the individual's legal spouse, child, or other relative (in-laws, mother, father, brother, sister, etc.).
      3. Clearance holders must submit an itinerary to Personnel Security and receive approval prior to foreign travel (excluding U.S. territories) whether the travel is official or unofficial. Deviations from the itinerary must be reported within five business days of return. Counterintelligence will provide a defensive security awareness briefing prior to any foreign travel. This approval requirement is in addition to routine approvals required by the DOE for foreign travel.
      4. Clearance holders must report the following foreign contacts:
        1. Contact with a known or suspected foreign intelligence agency.
        2. Following initial reporting of the contacts, updates regarding continuing unofficial association shall occur only for significant changes in the nature of the contact.
        3. Continuing association with known foreign nationals that involve bonds of affection, personal obligation, or intimate contact, or any contact that involves the exchange of personal information. This requirement applies regardless of where or how the contact was made (personal contact, Internet, etc.).
        4. Individuals are still responsible for reporting suspicious interactions, activity, or unexpected events when traveling or meeting foreign nationals for official business.
      5. Note: Foreign intelligence services often operate in countries other than their own, including those that are friendly to the United States. You do not have to travel to an adversarial country to be targeted by foreign intelligence services.
      6. Individuals (cleared or uncleared) shall alert Personnel Security should they become aware of the following activities that may be of potential security, insider threat, or counterintelligence concern of other covered individuals:
        1. An unwillingness to comply with rules, regulations, or security requirements.
        2. Unexplained affluence or excessive indebtedness.
        3. Alcohol abuse.
        4. Illegal use or misuse of drugs or drug activity.
        5. Apparent or suspected mental health issues where there is reason to believe it may impact the individual's ability to protect classified information or other information prohibited by law from disclosure.
        6. Criminal conduct.
        7. Any activity that raises doubts as to whether the individual's continued national security eligibility is clearly consistent with national security interests.
        8. Misuse of U.S. government property or information systems.
        9. Attempted elicitation, exploitation, blackmail, coercion, or enticement to obtain classified or other "protected" information.
        10. Media contacts, other than for official purposes, where the media seeks access to classified or otherwise "protected" information, whether or not the contact results in an unauthorized disclosure.
        11. Arrests.
        12. Bankruptcy or over 120 days delinquency in any debt.
        13. Alcohol or drug-related treatment.
        14. Foreign activities:
          1. Direct involvement in foreign business.
          2. Foreign bank accounts.
          3. Ownership of foreign property.
          4. Foreign citizenship.
          5. Application for and receipt of foreign citizenship.
          6. Application for, possession, or use of a foreign passport or identity card for travel.
          7. Voting in a foreign election.
          8. Adoption of non-U.S. citizen children.
        15. Financial anomalies.
        16. Foreign national roommate(s).
    8. Extensions and Transfers
      1. Security clearances may be extended for access or visits to other departmental facilities, or access to facilities and information held by other entities (e.g., Department of Defense). For the clearance to be extended for shared access, the clearance holder can request the necessary form from Personnel Security mailto:[email protected]. The requisite security federal/contractor security offices will coordinate the request.
      2. Transfers occur when a clearance holder or the security clearance will be moved to another security office (e.g., new job at another site or change of projects). Transfers will be coordinated between the federal/contractor security offices through a request to Personnel Security.
      3. Extension and transfer requests must be submitted to the Personnel Security Office at least 30 days in advance of the start date or visitation date.
    9. Suspension and Termination
      1. Security clearances may be suspended or terminated for a variety of reasons including:
        1. Failure to cooperate with security requirements.
        2.  Failure to report in accordance with section D.4, "Reporting Requirements."
        3. Termination of the employee.
        4. Determination that a clearance is no longer required.
        5. Circumstances temporarily eliminate the need to access classified material or SNM for 90 days or more. Note: This may be waived in certain circumstances.
      2. At the termination of the clearance, a Security Termination Statement must be completed and the individual's HSPD-12 badge must be surrendered to Protective Services. Failure to complete these steps may lead to legal consequences.
    10. Reinvestigations
      1. All DOE clearances have a five-year term and a reinvestigation must be initiated in advance of the end of that term to maintain that clearance. The LBNL Senior Security Operations Manager will track these reinvestigation dates and let the clearance holder know in advance that they need to initiate a reinvestigation. For Category 3 clearance holders, the Senior Security Operations Manager will check with ONHS to confirm this clearance is still needed. Reinvestigations may be initiated at any time by the Cognizant Personnel Security Officer (CPSO) if any security concerns are identified.
    11. Managing Clearances
      1. To minimize the number of active LBNL clearances, an annual review of clearance holders will be conducted. LBNL's Senior Security Operations Manager, along with ONHS (for Category 3 clearances), will go through the list of clearance holders and confirm that each person still needs to maintain their clearance. If a clearance has not been used for two consecutive years, the clearance holder will be asked to submit a justification for maintaining their clearance. If a clearance has not been used for four years, it will be terminated. Note that reinvestigation dates may be natural milestones for clearance termination.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Managers, supervisors, and employees have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy.



    Clearance Holder

    • Provide timely and accurate information to Personnel Security regarding background, citizenship, and identity.
    • Comply with all requirements set forth in this policy.
    Cognizant Personnel Security Office
    • Ensure the quality of the personnel security operations under their purview.
    • Ensure that adjudicators report quality of background investigations in accordance with Quality Assessment Standards via the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Quality Assessment Reporting Tool.

    Senior Security Operations Manager

    • Assure compliance with this policy and DOE O 472.2A is maintained at all times through application of applicable procedures and day-to-day operations.
    • Inform the SES Division Director of any discrepancies or issues as necessary.
    • Serve as the subject matter expert for the Personnel Security Program regarding DOE O 472.2A and associated requirements.

    Office of National and Homeland Security

    • Participate in the review process for internal concurrence, specifically for Category 3: Technical.

    Security and Emergency Services (SES) Division Director

    • Maintain this policy and conduct oversight activities to assure compliance with it and DOE O 472.2A.
    • Brief senior management on program compliance, updates, and issues.

    Human Resources Personnel

    • Inform the Senior Security Operations Manager of incidents/concerns involving clearance holders, required to be reported, pursuant to Section D.4.a above.

    Office of Laboratory Counsel Personnel

    • Inform the Senior Security Operations Manager of incidents/concerns involving clearance holders, required to be reported, pursuant to Section D.4.a above.

    Associate Laboratory Director

    • Serves as the divisional point-of-contact for the security clearance.

    Laboratory Deputy Director

    • Reviews, concurs, and approves all clearance requests and acts as the signature authority for all clearance justifications.

    F. Definitions/Acronyms


    CPSO Cognizant Personnel Security Officer


    United States


    Department of Energy

    LBNL Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    ONHS Office of National and Homeland Security
    SES Security and Emergency Services


    Special Nuclear Material

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements

    A personnel security file is required to be implemented and maintained for the duration of a security clearance in accordance with requirements. The personnel security file is maintained in hard copy by Site Access/ SES.

    H. Implementing Documents

    Document Number




    Site Security Plan

    Program Plan

    I. Related Policies

    Document Number






    J. Contact Information

    Security and Emergency Services, Personnel Security

    K. Revision History



    By Whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) Affected

    Change Type



    J. Harty

    Re-write for wiki





    N. Keller

    Program updates to bring the policy in line with current operating practices.



    3/31/2023 1.1 B. Edwards Periodic review: changed from 472.2 to 472.2A; Personnel Security Manager to Senior Security Operations Manager. Added Cognizant Personnel Security Office to R&R. Changed from BASO to BSO; Changed from Protective Services to SES. Updated acronyms list and document control number for Site Security Plan. All Minor



    Security Clearances

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