Shutdown puts airmen’s security clearances at risk

Air Force leadership is encouraging staff to keep communication lines open during the government shutdown, especially in the event of financial hardships, something it says could affect security clearance.

If airmen allow their debt to build up for whatever reason — in this case, lack of income due to furlough — it could hurt their security clearance, according to Maj. Neil Whelden, security and special programs oversight officer.

Leaders in the Air Force are there to help with these types of issues, Whelden said. If a financial issue is caught early enough, Air Force teammates are able to help and avoid potential damage to security clearance.

“With such a large number of civilians possessing security clearances, including many workers in the space and cyber theaters, leaders want the civilian force to know the steps to take if financial hardships are incurred during the current furloughs,” Staff Sgt. David Salantiri of the Air Force public affairs office, said in a release.


To avoid debt to pile up, Whelden recommends members and financial institutions proactively communicate with each other. Any bankruptcy, inability to pay taxes, repossessions of property, etc., should be reported to the unit’s security officer.

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