What is DOHA (Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals)

More information on what DOHA does in the security clearance process.

The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals is a component of the Defense Legal Services Agency. DOHA is comprised primarily of attorneys (Department Counsel), Administrative Judges, and administrative support personnel. DOHA previously had Personnel Security Specialists (staff adjudicators), but when DOD CAF was created, these personnel transferred to DOD CAF. In 2015 DOHA added Personnel Security Specialists to their staff to perform some functions related to HSPD-12 credentialing and federal employment suitability cases that were not done by DOD CAF.

DOHA receives a few thousand of the most problematic cases each year from the Industry Division of DOD Consolidated Adjudication Services, which the agency was renamed in 2022. The renaming of the DOD CAF did not change any internal or external reporting functions. DOHA cases are decided by Administrative Judges. Most of these decisions are based on evidence presented at a hearing requested by the applicant. DOHA Administrative Judges also preside over “Personal Appearances” (similar to hearings) of clearance applicants appealing clearance denials or revocations by other divisions of the CAS.