The Defense Security Service (DSS) is looking to create a new enterprise system to help all DSS stakeholders, dubbed the National Industrial Security System (NISS).

The NISS will help to reduce reliance on cumbersome data entry processes, provide analytics and improve the speed and quality of decision making, as reported by FCW. It will also provide an easier way to coordinate clearance monitoring, process facility clearances and subsequent inspections, detect possible insider threats and help with incident response.

Processing Challenges

There is an existing “gap” between DSS agency capacity and national security requirements driven by three primary challenges: processing facility clearances, conducting proactive monitoring and managing incident response, according to a recently issued request for information (RFP) for the NISS.

The current legacy system, based on the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), was established in 1993 and helps to safeguard classified information held by contractors at cleared facilities. Yet it is now “hampering the agency’s ability to provide timely support to NISP stakeholders,” the RFP states. “The lack of an enterprise IT solution results in cumbersome, inefficient and exceedingly manual processes that jeopardize the success of DSS missions.”

The NISS is expected to include a directory of cleared facilities, with links to corporate information, content management and search functionality and analytics that can help interpret data about facilities and contractors cleared to handle classified information. The system will feature a user-friendly graphical dashboard and be accessible through mobile devices.

“(The NISS) will use available technology to drive smooth user workflow, enhance decision-making through stronger and timelier synthesis of information, and improve transparency pertaining to Industry’s NISP participation,” the RFP states.

The DSS held an industry day for vendors interested in the RFI for the NISS on Nov. 20. Responses are due Dec. 8.

The DSS oversees the protection of U.S. and foreign classified information and technologies in the hands of industry under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). It helps to ensure the safe and secure operations of approximately 13,300 cleared contractor facilities, 40,000 classified information systems and more than 10,000 industrial security professionals.

The primary objects for the NISS are:

  • Expedited performance against classified contract
  • Enhanced data linkages to provide full risk profile
  • Improved ability to make metrics-based decisions
  • Improved vulnerability management from identification through mitigation
  • Improved threat management from identification through mitigation
  • Increased technology effectiveness and mobility

The DISS strategic plan for 2012 to 2016 outlines five strategic goals it wishes to achieve, including:

Goal 1: Identify and reduce vulnerabilities and threats to the defense industrial base to support secure operations of our nation’s critical assets.

Goal 2: Furnish unrivaled development, delivery and management of security knowledge.

Goal 3: Ensure DSS information technologies are responsive to DSS customers, employees and stakeholders; and incorporate shared lessons in meeting DSS goals.

Goal 4: Foster a caring, innovative and collaborate environment that attracts and retains diverse and highly motivated officials.

Goal 5: Make metrics-based decisions that improve efficiency and performance and allocate and manage resources effectively.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.