Tag Archives: OSC

Making ‘cents’ of financial implications on a security clearance

By: Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte

Obtaining and maintaining a security clearance is vital to the Mission Readiness and Success equation of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Department of Defense Central Adjudication Facility (DODCAF) determines who is eligible to hold a security clearance by referencing certain standards and a list of thirteen (13) adjudicative guidelines. One such guideline, “financial consideration,” examines an individual’s credit report to determine if the person is financially trustworthy. If derogatory items, such as monetary court judgments, bankruptcy or large amounts of debts in collections, are found, individuals who encounter security clearance issues based on “financial considerations” have the opportunity to present a justified argument with evidence to support any claims to DODCAF.

Much like a recent TV commercial that talks about key behaviors that can help people work through financial problems as a homeowner, the critical points in working through credit issues are being open and honest, taking early and prudent action, and then developing and executing an agreeable plan with your creditors (with documentation). Key points of contact when dealing with security clearance issues related to your finances are:

– Your Command security manager will communicate information to the adjudicating agency, the Command, and inform you of response deadlines to help make sure you meet the deadlines. If additional time is needed, ask for it promptly. Be clear and up front about each item that the security manager discusses with you.

– A Command Financial Specialist, Fleet and Family Support Center Financial Specialist or other qualified financial counselors can help you develop a good faith financial plan, provide general information and assist in your responses to any financial issues requiring your response.

If DODCAF initially denies you a security clearance or has revoked it, you will be given information about the appeals process. The Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) can overturn DODCAF’s decision. To appeal, prepare a written response and submit it through your Command security manager or present your argument before a Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Judge who can submit a recommendation to the PSAB.

The key to a successful appeal is proof and honesty! For example, provide proof of payment in the case of delinquent debts, not just a promise to pay or note about payment arrangements.

Freedom from financial stressors can be accomplished by making plans, setting goals, making reasonable and sensible choices, charting your progress, sticking to your budget, planning for contingencies and securing an emergency fund. Additionally, to prevent fraud and identity theft, review your credit report several times a year. . You can find out information on where to get free credit reports and other information on these reports at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports. These reports are key in addressing and limiting financial concerns. All these steps lead to peace of mind and help to ensure a favorable security determination.

For more on Navy security clearance issues, forms, briefs and training material visit: http://www.ncis.navy.mil/securitypolicy.

About the Author:

Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, AFC® is an experienced Financial Counselor who has worked extensively with U.S. Armed Forces members and families. She is a recent volunteer blogger for Navynavstress.com but contributed previously while serving at the Fleet and Family Support Center, Millington, TN. Prior to government service she worked as a Financial Services Representative for several brokerage and insurance firms. As a military spouse, Ms. Livingstone-Hoyte knows firsthand of the financial challenges and opportunities that face Military families across the globe. To that end, she embraces a steadfast belief that financial success can be simple, just not easy.

Poor Leader Communication: An Increasing Source of Stress for Everyone

Copyright 2013 Jeff Bacon“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Pubilius Syrus

Since 2009, the Operational Stress Control program has been looking at the causes of stress in our Fleet. Some of the usual ones pop up: time away from family; not enough trained people to do the job; long work hours pre- and post deployment. But one that seems to be on the rise is “poor leader communication.”

From discussions across the Fleet (and just like the CO in the cartoon), it seems like the majority of leaders at all levels—from commanding officers to deckplate leaders—want to communicate with their troops and think they’re doing so effectively. Yet their message may not come through as clearly to those on the receiving end. For some leaders, time can be a factor. With a constant high op-tempo, the right moment to communicate can be elusive. Rushed communications don’t always get the intended message across. Sailors feel the force of high op-tempo and unpredictability in their careers too, making it harder to figure out what part of all the information thrown their way to pay attention to. Although leaders may feel like Sailors aren’t listening, and Sailors feel like their leaders don’t hear them, both sides have something in common: the desire for communication during times of high stress.

From E1 to O10, there’s one thing we should all remember: communication is a two-way street. Putting out information with the expectation that people will automatically “get it” because you said it just isn’t realistic. Effective communication must be received and fed back to the sender in order for the full communication cycle to be complete. And how often in our fast-paced world does that happen?

Communication specialists tell us that a person needs to hear a piece of information a minimum of eight times in order to retain it. With information changing at such a rapid pace in our lives as well as within our Navy, that may just not be possible, so what is a leader to do? What is a Sailor to do?

We’ll explore these topics in the coming weeks, and offer some tips for not only communicating a message, but absorbing it as well. Until then, just like the cartoon shows, the first principle is that the word has to get out!

A Balanced Shopping Cart = Balanced Meals

What ends up on your plate starts with what you put into your shopping cart, says Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, a dietitian with the Navy Physical Readiness Office in her article Balance Your Shopping Cart, Plate. She suggests a shopping strategy will help you get the best food for your money. “Shopping the perimeter of the store is where you will find the least processed food,” said Wallinger, “That’s where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and lean protein.” Wallinger stressed focusing on a balanced plate rather than a diet plan. She recommended that half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Some shopping tips:

  •   In-season vegetables will generally have more flavor and are usually less expensive
  • Save money and calories by eating before you go shopping to lessen temptations for snack foods
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables without added salt and sugar can help you meet your daily requirements.
  • Compare food labels and choose foods with fewer ingredients and lower sodium.

Fill one quarter of your plate with grains. Choosing at least 50% of your grains as whole grains increasesthe nutritional value of your foods and keeps you more satisfied. The final quarter is for a serving of lean protein such as poultry, meat, eggs, beans, or seafood. “Perhaps the most important thing to do before you shop,” Wallinger says, “is to plan ahead. Make a list from your menu and stick to it. As much as 50 percent of most shopping carts are filled with impulse buys.” Be mindful of what goes onto your plate! For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com

What’s in a Word? How we Talk About Suicide

At some point as a child, an adult probably told you “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” or “actions speak louder than words.” Those phrases take on new meaning when we’re discussing the topic of suicide.

Openly discussing suicide is beneficial for prevention, intervention and postvention. It sends the message that it’s not only acceptable to discuss this sensitive subject, but encouraged as a way to show support to Sailors having difficulty navigating stress on their own. But, the way we discuss it and the words we use can actually have the opposite effect if we’re not aware of best practices. Word choice can make the difference between encouraging help-seeking behavior or contributing to a Sailor’s dwindling perception of his or her life. Sometimes, our actions (being supportive, ACTing) and our words are equally important.

To support the concept of “reducing barriers,” the theme of the final week of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, fact sheets on best practices for talking about suicide are available on www.suicide.navy.mil. The information sheet, “What’s In a Word? How We Talk About Suicide,” provides guidance on responsibly discussing suicide and what to avoid: judgmental language, glamorizing deaths by suicide, oversimplifying causes, etc. Sailors, Suicide Prevention Coordinators, leaders, families and friends should become familiar with these practices to help change the culture and reduce barriers when it comes to seeking help. A version of the document will also be available for the Public Affairs and broadcast media community, to ensure responsible reporting and mitigate risk of suicide contagion (subsequent suicides following certain reporting styles).

A simple change in words, like calling an attempt non-fatal instead of “unsuccessful,” can make a difference. By knowing how to talk about suicide, and knowing when to ACT, we can continue to encourage our shipmates that “it’s okay to speak up when you’re down!”

For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month details, reference NAVADMIN 259/12, visit www.suicide.navy.mil or email caroline.miles.ctr@navy.mil

It’s Okay to Speak Up When You’re Down

The Navy’s Operational Stress Control and Suicide Prevention programs aim to build psychological strength and resilience. With training and practical tools the programs will help Sailors and leaders better navigate operational stress and increase their capacity to withstand, recover, grow and adapt in the face of stressors and changing demands.

While September is nationally recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the effort to build resilience and emphasize that Life Counts is ongoing.  We work year-round to promote a Navy that rewards help seeking behaviors and encourages the honest discussion of concerns and challenges faced by Sailors and their families – an important first step to help mitigate operational stress and prevent suicide. We want everyone in the Navy to know “It’s Okay to Speak Up When You’re Down.”

This cartoon is by Mike Jones a Senior Chief Petty Officer who knows that stress is a part of everyday life in the Navy.  Not everyone reacts this visibly to stress so we all need to be on the watch for more subtle indicators of negative stress reactions.  If someone reacts like PR3 Smith, know how to ACT (Ask Care Treat) and to get him the appropriate and necessary help.

To view more of the OSC cartoons click here.

For more information on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month visit www.suicide.navy.mil.