The Defense Information Systems Agency is resigning control of its in-development IT system for governmentwide background investigations to the director of the Defense Security Service, according to a memorandum announced to the public March 7.

The National Background Investigation Service, created in 2016 to develop a security clearance IT system that would keep the information of those it processes safe from potential hackers, has thus far released two versions of capabilities and is currently capable of supporting investigations for positions classified as non-sensitive.

Weaknesses in the current security clearance IT system managed by the Office of Personnel Management were part of the reason that the background investigation process was placed on the Government Accountability Office “High Risk” list in January 2018.

According to the official High Risk Report released March 6, 2019, “security concerns posed by DoD regarding OPM legacy IT systems may delay planned milestones for the new system.”

The Defense Security Service, which will now be responsible for the NBIS’s progress, was founded in 1972 and provides security support services for the military services, defense agencies, 31 federal agencies and cleared contractor facilities.

The move from DISA to DSS is in support of a National Defense Authorization Act-mandated transfer of the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility to DDS and impacts just over 50 personnel.

“DSS gains a tremendous brain trust with these individuals,” Navy Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, DISA director and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters — DOD Information Network said in a news release.

“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.”

According to Terry Carpenter, NBIS program executive officer, DISA will be holding meetings with those employees impacted to work out the details of the transition.

In June 2018, DISA awarded a nearly $50 million other transaction agreement to Enterprise Services LLC to develop a prototype for the NBIS’s investigation management system, a central interface for users.

According to the news release, NBIS will continue to rely on many of the partnerships that were a mainstay of its time at DISA.

“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.

The White House is expected to soon order the transfer of all background investigation processes from OPM’s National Background Investigation Bureau to the DoD, as part of a effort to keep defense and civilian investigations under the same roof.

According to the news release, the transfer from DISA to DSS will be completed by October 1, 2020.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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