The Defense Information Systems Agency’s National Background Investigation Service (NBIS) will soon fall under the authority, direction, and control of the Director of Defense Security Service (DSS), according to a memorandum issued by David L. Norquist, who is performing the duties of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Jan. 28.
The memorandum directs the transition of the NBIS Program Executive Office and subordinate elements, the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DoD CAF), as well as Joint Service Provider (JSP) personnel providing direct support to the DoD CAF.
The realignment further strengthens the department’s personnel vetting enterprise and supports the transfer of DoD CAF functions, personnel, and associated resources to the DSS, which was mandated by Subsection 925(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year (FY) 2018.
Approximately 40 NBIS personnel and 12 JSP personnel are affected. This realignment has been in the works for a few months, so personnel are aware of the transition, said Terry Carpenter, NBIS program executive officer.
The directors of DSS and DISA, the memorandum states, will promulgate and execute plans for the phased transfers of the aforementioned elements with associated functions, personnel, and resources to DSS within 180 days of the memorandum, and will include these transfers in the FY 2021 President's Budget submission.
The DoD CAF transfer to DSS will be completed no later than Oct. 1, 2019, while transfer of the DISA elements will be completed by Oct. 1, 2020.
DISA personnel moving to DSS will shift to the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS), giving them additional opportunity to advance their careers, Carpenter said. DCIPS is the human resources management system for the DoD intelligence components and other intelligence positions as designated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD[I]).
DISA will hold meetings with affected personnel and human resource experts to work out the details and ensure a smooth transition for personnel, said Carpenter.
Navy Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, DISA director and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters - DoD Information Network, expressed a sense of pride in all the hard work the DISA NBIS team put into the program and appreciation for the JSP resources dedicated to the DoD CAF.
“DSS gains a tremendous brain trust with these individuals,” she said. “I want all the personnel who are transferring to know that they will always be a part of the DISA family and we look forward to working with them in their new DSS roles. The entire DISA workforce takes great pride in how professionally they advanced the security vetting program for the nation and the DoD.”
Although the transfer is driven by mission requirements, and follows the department’s priority to improve the security, suitability, and credentialing (SSC) vetting program for the whole of government, this is a foundation for a consolidation of SSC vetting enterprise systems in support of the USD(I) and DSS missions, Carpenter said.
In 2016, DISA was tasked to design, develop, test, field, operate, maintain, and secure an information technology system, or suite, to conduct background investigations for civilian employees, military service members, and government contractors. Since then, DISA has led the effort in collaboration with the Office of Personnel Management National Background Investigations Bureau, the Defense Manpower Data Center, and other DoD agencies.
Carpenter said the NBIS team leveraged intellectual capital and experience from throughout DISA and the DoD as they pushed the program forward. Partnerships will continue to remain a key component of the projects success, he said.
“The continuing partnership between DISA, the Army Analytics Group, and the Defense Personnel and Security Research Center to develop artificial intelligence algorithms for analyzing big data will further improve the overall investigative and adjudicative quality while reducing processing time,” Carpenter said.
Background investigations are conducted on more than 512,000 people annually supporting the federal government, with the DoD representing roughly 75 percent of the investigations. The purpose of NBIS is to design, develop, deploy, and operate a modern mission-capable information technology system that facilitates and secures the processes that ensure a workforce that reliably protects federal government people, property, systems, and information.