The nation’s first director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), William Lietzau, announced his retirement from federal service in an announcement to staff issued today. Lietzau emphasized that when he took the reigns of the newly formed agency, following interim director Charles Phalen, his initial intention was to remain in the post to work the organization’s merger and transfer process, as the elements inherited from the Office of Personnel Management, and those within the Department of Defense, consolidated and joined forces.

Lietzau went on to remain in the agency for more than three years, helping it grow in both size and scope and ushering in the largest transformation in the personnel security process to date, core elements of Trusted Workforce 2.0 and the National Background Investigation Services (NBIS).

Prior to leading DCSA, Lietzau was the Director of the Personnel Vetting Transformation Office. In addition, he spent a 27-year career in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer and then judge advocate. His expertise in international law led him into a role as a Deputy General Counsel then Vice President for a government services contractor.

Throughout his time at DCSA, Lietzau was quick to emphasize his support of and appreciation for the workforce, which was brought together from disparate elements (combining email addresses and payroll systems, mission statements and organizations). The role of personnel vetting is unglamorous – and you often only hear about it when the process goes wrong. But Lietzau was committed to the organization’s role, and to saving cost and creating efficiencies for the taxpayer-funded programs.

“There’s no question our personnel security mission has improved, both in speed and quality,” said Lietzau, speaking to an audience of security professionals at the annual NCMS Seminar in Minneapolis in 2022. “We just lowered prices for the third time. We’re saving the taxpayer money. We’re faster, we’re better quality, and we’re cheaper…I don’t think there’s anything I’m prouder of than what we’re doing in this area now.”

Over the past year, the emphasis has been on NBIS – and the need for a robust technological solution to power Continuous Vetting and other key reforms of Trusted Workforce 2.0. eApp, the new security clearance application has been in the midst of a full rollout, and NBIS is set to take the stage, and take over from JPAS, by the end of the fiscal year.

Maintaining the stability and ensuring the success of the workforce is key, and will remain a driving factor moving forward. It is unclear who will succeed Lietzau as the next director of DCSA, but the role remains of critical importance, and finding the right candidate for the job is likely behind Lietzau’s decision to announce his retirement to the workforce today, as the agency works to onboard the right candidate for the vital job in the months to come.

Lietzau’s departure note to his workforce emphasized his appreciation for and commitment to the organization. Over the past several months the agency has created a new seal, published a new vision statement, and created a roadmap for the many acquisition capabilities and new IT systems. Lietzau emphasized that the agency kept the plane flying – and converted it into a jet – while in flight.

“Serving as the Director of DCSA has been the highlight of my career,” Lietzau wrote in his departing letter.  “As I depart, I do so knowing that the nation’s premier provider of integrated security services is in the hands of the most dedicated and patriotic Americans serving anywhere in the Federal Government. Not everyone can be a Gatekeeper. Some chase money; some power; some glamour. But DCSA employees are driven by a love for country, a dedication to mission, and a commitment to people. That is why I end where I started; I will always be proud to have served among you—America’s Gatekeepers.”

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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