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New bill would let departing service members take clearances with them

Kentucky National Guard troops depart Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, KY (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Damon)

Federal legislators have introduced a bill that, if passed, would allow service members to take security clearances with them into certain civilian jobs on leaving the military.

The “Security Clearance Portability for Departing Servicemembers” Act aims to expand employment opportunities for departing servicemembers to transition into civilian national security contractor jobs by making it easier to transfer Department of Defense (DoD) clearances, according to the bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and two fellow House members, Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., and Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich.

In an interview, Turner said the bill would provide a “bridge” from military work to civilian employment in the national security realm.

“We need to encourage ways for their security clearances to be preserved,” he said. Applications for new clearances are “backlogged in the system,” he added.

Such an ability would save time and may have a big impact in the Dayton area, home to dozens of private defense-oriented contractors serving the Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base certainly has a huge amount of individuals who are working in the classified space,” Turner said. “This asset really is a national asset.”

Wright-Patterson is the employment home to more than 32,000 uniformed and civilian employees. Many of the civilian employees are retired military and current contractors working to support the base in a variety of ways.

“American businesses of all sizes are still facing workforce shortages, and that certainly includes defense and intelligence contractors,” Bice said in a release.

She said the bill would “allow those departing military service to transition smoothly and effectively into the private sector.

“At a time when we are seeing increased military aggression from our adversaries, we must take every step to maintain our military advantage and preparedness,” she said.


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