USCGA and Security Clearance

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by summer1942, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. summer1942

    summer1942 Member

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    Since USCG is a part of Home Land Security Dept, Does USCGA graduate automatic receive the clearance security status ??
     
  2. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    All cadets will undergo a security clearance while at the academy, and US military officers from all branches of the armed forces usually have security clearances as well.

    As far as "automatic" I don't know - security clearances (including all the various levels) are usually reserved for those with a "need to know."
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Your clearance will not be "automatic." You will fill out some very in-depth forms electronically and the clearance will be granted or denied following an investigation by the Office of Personnel Management.

    That being said, almost no one is denied the secret level, as you really can't function in the military, as an officer, without one.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    In my humble opinion, we've diluted the meaning of "SECRET" now that almost everyone has it. If the entire military has clearance to SECRET, kind of kills the reason to even have it.


    Secret clearance will go back 5 years, Top Secret goes back 10 Years. Nothing is automatic, every, especially clearances. Once you meet a few people in DHS, you'll realize not everyone should have that clearance.


    So you'll typically see SECRET, TOP SECRET, and TOP SECRET-SCI.

    Once you have those clearances, and you start to handle classified material, especially TS material, you'll want no clearances. Classified material problems can quickly become the end of many an officer's career.
     
  5. BR2011

    BR2011 USAFA Cadet

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    Secret is given out pretty lightly, every cadet will have one because as mentioned before you can't really operate as an officer without a clearance. Alcohol incidents are a main reason why someone might be denied or have a Secret clearance revoked. They also are weary of relationships with foreigners, especially family members.

    Also, clearance and "need to know" are separate things. You are given a clearance because your job as a whole requires knowing classified material and the approval/denial of that clearance has nothing to do with your need to know any information. Once you have the clearance you get access to specific information at your clearance level if you have a "need to know."


    Edit: When i say lightly i mean that its pretty automatic for cadets because for the most part cadets are responsible people. Lightly may not apply when looking at the U.S. population as a whole
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Not at all. It's the first level where we can truly, effectively restrict information from public distribution. You don't see it as much stateside, but we are logged in on red side for forward comms. The secret level, when overseen by a good information security/distribution officer is very effective. The breakdowns happen when leadership and oversight is lax, e.g. somebody "SNIPRS" a gun tape onto YouTube.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I don't agree with this. The fact that nearly everyone (I realize that's a general statement) has secret means one of two things....either too much is classified secret and requires everyone in uniform to maintain that clearance OR too many people have the clearance and it needs to be cut back.

    I have 76 people on a ship and a classified space. Independent of "need to know", why have a space that's secured for classified material if all 76 people on board have the clearance to access it?

    We're either over-classifying information, or granting too much access. DOD already has a problem with over-classifying, for the reason, as it is often percieved, to keep it from the public's eyes "just because".
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Also may not apply to international cadets.

    Losing/mishandling classified material is a great way to lose a clearance. Once you've lost your clearance, it can be very hard to get it back, and it's very hard if not impossible to do your job without it.
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    You are free to disagree. However, I will say that when you operate long-term in fully hostile territory, the system is far less theoretical and is practical. Keeping everything above the UNCLASS//NO CAVEAT level locked away in your vault may work on a boat. And it works in garrison for ground units. But it doesn't work in the operational environment. That's why we implement other control measures as necessary.

    It's hard to maintain situational awareness when you can't tell a squad leader where a phase line is because he lacks a clearance. Nor can you keep operational graphics and pro-words from public knowledge unless they are classified. That's why a marked-up map is secret. It can't be taken out of country, and if it's lost then info has to be changed to protect certain operational facets.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    So you would seem to agree that we DO over-classify then, and I would agree.

    It's not that "hard" and I can assume if we're using secure comms for 6 months, that that might be "on par" with some field operations. I would also submit that the Army hasn't been as "close-hold" on that secret footage as you would have me believe. I won't got very far into that here.

    Shoot, make it Confidential, make it FOUO/NATO or FOUO/Allied....I don't really care, but if everyone has Secret....why have anything designated as anything but Secret or higher?

    A good chunk of the material cames from the same guys, whether you're on a Coast Guard cutter, Navy ship, or on the ground.

    The Washington Post had an interesting article about this not too long ago. Everyone has access, then anyone who wants to can access SIPR and fire off some videos to Wikileaks.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Actually not true. There are MANY MANY things exempt from FOIA because they may be operationally sensitive, LE sensative, pre-decisional, etc etc etc. You don't need to classify it to keep it from ending up on the front page of the New York Times.
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, using secure comms for 6 months is not even close to the mountain of sensitive data that is dealt with everyday and which, by it's nature, is something that each soldier in the battlespace needs to know. If you haven't seen it firsthand, you won't grasp it from this discussion.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    And I assume that's being done on secure computers, and not sodliers personal computers....correct?



    You may want to really consider that question before you answer it....there's a reason I'm asking.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Gee, really? I never imagined you'd be one to use your knowledge from cubicle-land to tilt a discussion. :wink:

    Not unless they feel like losing their clearance and facing disciplinary action. There are instances where a personal computer can be declared secret by the appropriate authorities. But that's not really germane to the discussion. Obviously you're waiting for me to give you a blanket "no" so you can trot out something you gleaned from the cubicle farm, so I'll play your silly game. Have at it.

    Though, at some point, we are going to get this closed. We both know that.
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Actually, it's something trotted out by operational Army land. But since you and I are both in Cubicle-Land, sure. I would assume those personal computers were scrubbed before and after having classified material loaded on them....and I would assume wrongly.

    So then I would follow up that question with....is the Army REALLY handling classified material correctly, or is it just being handled conviently in "the field". Since neither you nor I are currently "in the field" maybe someone who is could weigh in.


    Obviously the leaked information to WIKILEAKS is a glaring example...but my question would be, why did that soldier have access to all of that information, and does that mishandling put anyone else in "danger" or less secured comms?
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I am not even remotely sure where you got the idea the I'm in cubicle land, but that could not be farther from reality. With the exception of the career course, I've avoided the dreaded non-operational assignment. Though considering I spent the last 4 days running PMT in the hellhole of McGregor Range, a cubicle might be nice.

    Regardless, when you look at the sheer volume of classified info generated over the last seven years, all the services have a pretty admirable track record. It falls into the same category as car quality. The average car has 20,000 parts. A car that's 99.99% perfect has 2 problems. Does that make it a bad car? Should the design or manufacture process be junked?

    Obviously I cannot speak for every unit, but in a unit such as mine with an MID and verified SCIF, the information is exceptionally managed. Even with a TS-SCI I am not allowed in MID without an escort, and they sterilize screens before we enter.

    Are there problems? Sure. But anytime you introduce humans into a no-fail system you will have problems. But there is, thus far, no better way to handle the information. I'll grant you that more emphasis could be put on training information managers.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I assumed there weren't many SF missions on the Tennessee/Kentucky border...surely they have cubicles somewhere at Campbell.

    Concur, for the most part....more training, and less access. I'm sure you would agree, when it comes to classified material, we should generally stick on the "less access" side of the conversation instead of the "more access".

    I like the car analogy except for one thing. In the event that a car is 99% right, and that 1% creeps in....in a car, it's that 1% that is broken, replace that part and maybe it works. Maybe that part affects the performance of that single car, remove and replace and it's good to go.

    With classified material...99% may be working, however that 1%....that may not only damage that single part....or that single car.....but ANY car. One piece breaks and ALL of the cars, from that year forward, and all makes and models have to be recalled. I have a feeling our friends at a three-letter agency wouldn't appreciate that one bit.

    So, having managed classified material, maybe I'm bias when I believe less, as opposed to more, people should be granted clearances, and of my very personal opinion that we, the military, in general, over-classify stuff.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well we have to hang our hats somewhere, don't we? At least in the Army there is a difference between being at home station and having a cubicle job. I've happily avoided the latter.

    If we have to err, we should certainly err toward caution when circumstances allow. Regardless of our biases, I think we can agree that there the vast majority of operational knowledge is both need-to-know for soldiers (route names, phase lines, operation names, freqs/callsigns, unit boundaries, etc.) and that some information must also be protected. The base level of "secret" is the method we've chosen. The nuances of read-ons and further clearances provide us lots of tools to manage information well. I would personally not argue so much for less classification, but rather for better classification. I think there is a tangible difference there.


    In response to your second question, IIRC that particular soldier was an intel analyst with a TS-SCI and JIANT access. So in that case, he would have access to an awful lot. Though how he got his hands on the embassy traffic makes me wonder what State Dept officer left his information accessible. Even with my exceptional clearance level in country I could not have gotten to our attache's cables and other traffic.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    See, and we found some common ground....all without having the thread locked.



    What you will find (to the original poster), once you have clearances, and access....you often don't want that access or responsibility any more.

    Take my clearance away and give me basic stuff to play with...and I am a happy camper.
     

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