The New Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA)

Written by Thomas Langer


With the launch of the new Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), the agency once known as Defense Security Service (DSS) is reimagined with a shift from its core industrial security mission and reacquisition of its previous mission of personnel vetting. These are exciting and challenging times for DCSA, and for all of the industry, but we can’t lose sight of the mission we, as industrial security professionals, must accomplish. If history tells us anything, there will be a period of adjustment for the new DCSA and the distractions will come from both Congress, the Administration, and industry. Clearances will be requested faster-better-cheaper, reports and testimony will be required, and merging two distinct agencies into one will be as demanding as anyone can imagine.

As industrial security professionals, now more than ever, we have to step-up our programs to meet the holistic threats coming from all directions. The counterintelligence portion of the DCSA mission will become paramount to the success of the Nation’s ‘deliver uncompromised’ objective, but as professionals, we need to partner with our functional colleagues to accomplish that mission. Be it Human Resources, Legal, IT, Contracts, etc., we need to be partnering to accomplish that effective safeguarding across the spectrum of all of the assets we protect – and we cannot wait for direction from DCSA. Delivering uncompromised means we know the entire design spectrum of our products and services and have an understanding of the who, where, what and how of the access, storage and transmission of that information. Additionally, with the partnerships we create within our companies or institutions, we create a force multiplier that drives the compliance mantra deep into our organizations. Experience shows that when you have that culture of compliance within an organization, people catch errors quicker and bad actors stand out more clearly. When it’s your adopted culture to safeguard your assets; new hires and teammates quickly adapt to that culture.

If your facility has not been visited by DCSA in a while, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of compliance. Chances are the personnel shortages faced by DCSA and the pace of the agency redesign requires attention. All the more reason to develop the discipline now to upgrade your security program organically by involving your colleagues. We never get all the resources we ask for in our organizations, so why not leverage the resources our colleagues have to accomplish the security mission? It takes personality and determination to get that done, so lock your device and go have a conversation with someone whose support you need. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised how easy that support comes your way.

The pace of global change makes this an exciting time to be in our industry, but the threats and risks are many. Use your colleagues and professional network to adopt and create best practices and know that you are not alone in the challenges you face. DCSA will be there for us in cleared industry, but as a resource and guide, not a designer. The design is up to us.

About the Author

Mr. Thomas Langer has a 30-year track record as an industry security executive, including 20 years with BAE Systems, and will be periodically sharing his knowledge on crucial, relevant topics here on this Blog page.  Learn more about Thomas here.