On October 1, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) became the single largest security agency in the federal government with the merger of the Defense Security Service (DSS), DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (DoD CAF) and National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB).  With this ‘Transfer,’ DCSA: 
       • Conducts background investigations for more than 100 departments and agencies, to include adjudicating three quarters of background investigations for the federal government;
       • Provides industrial security oversight services to 12,500 contractor facilities and 14,000 contractor information systems on behalf of 33 government agencies; 
       • Identifies and thwarts counterintelligence threats to U.S. technologies and programs in cleared industry;
       • Provides comprehensive education, professionalization, and training services for security professionals across the federal government and in industry. 

Now that we are past October 1, the next phase for DCSA will be ‘Transition’ and I expect to be in this phase for the next year.  DCSA is organized around two main mission sets — Personnel Vetting and Critical Technology Protection.  There is a natural connection and synergy of these mission sets: ensuring a trusted workforce and trusted workspaces (real and virtual) that produce trusted work. While we will continue to perform these fundamental missions, we must also look to the future and how we will ensure synergy occurs.

My priorities during the ‘Transition’ phase include: 

       • Following Trusted Workforce 2.0. DCSA will play a role in developing TW 2.0 processes and policies to include the true introduction of Continuous Vetting (CV);
       • Understanding the full threat landscape with our Critical Technology Protection mission and more tightly aligning acquisitions in the process.  This includes partnering with industry to ensure cleared industry is postured to handle unique threats and vulnerabilities on a continuous basis;
       • Evaluation of our processes and policies – operational and administrative – to ensure that we’re operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. Both NBIB and DSS were implementing transition initiatives before the DSCA merger became a reality. We need to continue with these and incorporate growth efforts that have been proven to be most successful;
       • The continued development and implementation of the National Background Investigative Service (NBIS).  NBIS will be an end-to-end, national-level information technology that will support trusted workforce activities; 
       • Listening to our workforce, customers, and consumers to validate and verify that we in fact did not break anything along the way. 

All of these priorities are designed toward an end result of continuous monitoring of our trusted workforce and industry.

Our final phase will be ‘Transformation’.  We are transforming operationally and we want to do business smarter. For instance, in the Critical Technology Protection mission, we want to apply the lessons learned from improving the personnel security process to the facility clearance process. This may involve establishing adjudicative criteria for companies so we can adjudicate a facility clearance much as we do a personnel security clearance. We also need to gain a deeper understanding of foreign influence in the National Industrial Security Program and turn our focus to a secure supply chain. 

In the Personnel Vetting mission, we are poised to begin implementing minimum standards for CV. We are also looking at the 1.4 million people already enrolled in Continuous Evaluation and how this will evolve and move to CV.  

Finally, we will seek to leverage technology.  We believe the proper use of technology can lead to improved access to individuals and sources, easier issue resolution and reduced travel time.

Our success in all of these efforts will depend on our partnerships and collaboration with our customers and stakeholders who strengthen our progress and ensure our national security.  DCSA is committed to finding additional opportunities for more engagement with industry. We are optimistic about our future and pleased to have industry with us on this journey.

This article was published October 30, 2019 in the Fall 2019 edition of PSC's Service Contractor Magazine. Click here to view a PDF of this release.