Depending on what their responsibilities are, a pilot may require a security clearance. For example, from the US Air Force Reserve website the requirements to pilot a B-52 include:
- Bachelor's degree; an undergraduate degree specializing in physical
sciences, mathematics, administration, or management is desirable
- Commission as an officer in the Air Force Reserve
- Current aeronautical rating and qualification for aviation service as
- Eligibility for Top Secret security clearance *
Security clearances are for keeping sensitive information out of enemy hands, but they also serve to protect the public and the country from harmful or erratic behavior. In order to get a security clearance one must pass background checks and answer psychological questions. Sometimes they also require a polygraph.
When someone has a security clearance it is the responsibility of their superior officer to monitor for signs of mental problems. The officers are given guidelines and lists of clinical indicators to watch for.
In general, clinical indicators of the greatest concern are those that
are disruptive to an individual's work or social functioning and/or
activities of daily living. These indicators are sometimes identified
during investigative interviews with supervisors, coworkers, friends,
Depending on the type of clearance they hold, they will also be subject to periodic reinvestigation for their security clearance.
A periodic reinvestigation (PR) is when a currently cleared individual
is required to review, update and resubmit his or her security
clearance application for a reinvestigation. Periodic Reinvestigations
are routinely required every 5 years for those with Top Secret
security clearances, every 10 years for those with Secret security
clearances and every 15 years for those with Confidential security
clearances. A PR is done to ensure that a candidate should still have
access to classified information. Random PRs are also administered at
the discretion of the granting federal agency.
If problems are suspected there are different ways that can be chosen to deal with them. There's always a possibility of someone not exhibiting signs or managing to hide their behavior. But there are certainly protocols in place in the military to make sure that an unstable person is not put behind the controls of a weapon with deadly capabilities, not to mention the huge financial cost of the aircraft and systems.