Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Experiencing Immense Backlog of Cases, Highlighting Need for Thorough and Effective Preparation of Clearance Applications
In the past few years, the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals ("DOHA") has experienced a significant uptick in the number of clearance applications referred from DISCO. This can primarily be attributed to the economic climate, which has led to an increase in the number of applications presenting finance-related issues. While the number of Statement of Reasons DOHA issues per year has remained relatively constant—approximately 2,000 per year—the number of referrals to DOHA has increased from 7,000 in 2009, to 10,000 in 2010, to more than 14,000 in 2011. As a result, applicants can currently expect that DOHA will not adjudicate a case for up to 2 years from the time it first receives the referral from DISCO.
In order to avoid this backlog in appropriate cases, it is important to identify and address all potential security concerns proactively and comprehensively in the SF 86. It may also be beneficial to supplement the SF 86 with additional mitigating documentation to aid DISCO and DOHA in their evaluation.