The protection of classified information is headline news, but for many professionals, it’s just one aspect of every day on the job. There are a number of individuals at work in national security today with the express job of protecting the nation’s secrets, whether through personnel or physical security, protecting IT systems or ensuring the proper vetting of those supporting government jobs.

Last week’s NCMS Seminar highlighted key trends in the security business today. Here are five highlights:

1. Partnerships and Collaboration is Key

If you think the security clearance process is broken and you want to point a finger in a single direction – you’re probably going to have to pivot and point a few more fingers. The security clearance process consists of different elements setting policy, others implementing and enforcing that policy, and then the pour souls trying to interpret it. Beyond that, there are often different policies governing government and military and industry. Protecting national security and improving the security clearance process doesn’t happen when all of these elements operate as silos – they have to operate as partners. Perhaps more than ever, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) is working with industry to answer questions and provide clarity. And that’s important, because…

2. NBIS is Here

For years NBIS has been a four letter word that many in the security clearance process wondered if they should say out loud. But the National Background Investigation Services is no longer a multi-billion-dollar glimmer in the U.S. government’s eye, it’s the cornerstone of Trusted Workforce 2.0 and industry is going to have to get onboard the train. The good news is…

3. CV is working

In prior years CV implementation was touted as the key muscle movement that would improve personnel vetting and ensure greater workforce mobility. Whether it has accomplished everything it was set out to will probably always be a source of debate and change (improvements to CV are continual, and new data sources are constantly being added). But the fact is – it’s working. CV alerts are providing information to the government sooner, and typically before an applicant self-reports the issue. Why don’t more applicant’s know what to report?

4. Self-Reporting Is Confusing

Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 3 outlines what security clearance holders need to self report, but it’s still confusing. And it’s not just security clearance holders who are confused – security officers themselves often wonder if the information applicants report really needs to be provided back to the Vetting Risk Office (VRO). Whether it’s information about foreign travel (cruises, anyone?), or that marijuana smoking roommate, there are a number of issues that fall into hazy (get it?!) areas. The moral is…

5. It’s time to invest in security

Squishy security clearance policies or half-informed personnel really aren’t an option in this threat environment. Security cannot be an afterthought. Education is one of the best ways to improve the workforce – but that takes a financial commitment and the awareness of the c-suite. As Trusted Workforce 2.0 aims to improve personnel mobility, tracking those personnel requires something more than a filing cabinet of papers.

We’re in the midst of major changes and improvements in the security clearance process. Security isn’t a solo enterprise. From the applicant, to the FSO, to the CEO, everyone needs to keep a proactive security posture. Our national security depends on it.


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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