The government isn’t known as a key agent of change. When you think of improvement, innovation and reform, thoughts probably first go to Silicon Valley, or maybe academia. What doesn’t come to mind is the federal government. A part of that is by design – the three branches exist to balance each other. All too often that looks like gridlock.

One area of government symbiosis in the past several years, however, has been the security clearance process. Birthed by significant challenges and a nearly 750,000 case backlog, today clearance processing times are near goal, and the backlog has been busted.

Reforms that began under the newly formed National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) continued when the agency’s mission rolled under the Department of Defense as the Defense Counterintelligence Agency – a newly formed agency that took on the personnel, industrial, and critical infrastructure protection missions. recently sat down to discuss these changes with DCSA Director William Lietzau, who has been at the helm of the new agency just shy of a year. He highlighted how his workforce has taken on not just a new mission, but a global pandemic, and still managed to be successful.



“This is dead center in a current, ongoing fight with adversaries that – a lot of people in the United States don’t realize how much is going on right now,” said Lietzau. “It puts me in a position where I can’t imagine a job I would want more than this one, quite honestly. I’ve come to recognize how important what our employees do every day is.”

The integration and reorganization that has taken place – while improving mission performance – has been notable, Lietzau said. And that mission improvement, transition, and transformation has all taken place while the DCSA workforce deals with keeping the process move forward during a global pandemic.

The DCSA mission – which includes a trusted workforce, a trusted contract workforce, including facilities and entitles, and trusted systems – “those are missions that are much more complicated and sophisticated than in days gone by,” he notes.

Implementing Trusted Workforce 2.0 represents a major change in the personnel security program, and draws together a number of elements together, including the National Background Investigations System, which DCSA is getting online as it implements new continuous vetting requirements.


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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer