The Department of Defense announced today that David M. Cattler will take over as the director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). DCSA runs personnel and industrial security across the Department of Defense and in support of more than 100 federal agencies. It also plays a critical role in counterintelligence, insider threat, and supply chain risk management.

Cattler’s most recent position was as Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security at NATO. He’s also served in multiple enterprise-level roles across the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and has extensive joint service experience serving in advisory roles to the executive branch, civilian, and miliary agencies. The fact that he has spent the years since DCSA was first formed in 2019 overseas with a first-hand seat to the international threat landscape signals a key – and perhaps necessary – emphasis on the counterintelligence and foreign control and influence (FOCI) aspects of DCSA’s mission field.

Personnel security remains a highly visible and integrally important part of the DCSA mission. But the importance of the agency to broader efforts to strengthen and solidify the U.S. security posture should not be underscored.

The new DCSA director will hit the ground running March 24, and already faces a significant programmatic mission on the personnel security front – the need to get the National Background Investigation Services (NBIS) fully operational in order to move the next steps of the Trusted Workforce 2.0 effort forward. Cattler’s prior interagency experience may help him to move the right parts and involve the right players – including partners in industry – in order to see NBIS come to fruition.

DCSA is the largest security agency in the federal government, working in support of more than 100 federal entities and 10,000 cleared companies. The National Industrial Security Program (NISP) supports approximately 12,500 contractor facilities.

Cattler replaces Acting Director Daniel Lecce, who has been serving in an acting capacity since September 2023 and who will return to the position of deputy director.

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