DCSA’s Personnel Security mission consists of three distinct processes: Background Investigations, Adjudications and Continuous Vetting. As a result, DCSA has responsibility for the end-to-end personnel security process.
Background investigations are the first step in the personnel vetting process. As the primary Investigative Service Provider (ISP) for the Federal Government, DCSA conducts over two million background investigations per year on civilian and military applicants and Federal employees or employees of Government contractors and consultants to Federal programs.
DCSA maintains the largest adjudication capability across the U.S. government and supports all three branches of the federal government, the main elements being the Military Departments, National Industrial Security Program (NISP), and the DOD Fourth Estate.
Continuous Vetting involves regularly reviewing a cleared individual’s background to ensure they continue to meet security clearance requirements and should continue to hold positions of trust. Continuous Vetting helps DCSA mitigate personnel security situations before they become larger problems.
Background investigations are conducted in order to determine:
- Suitability for government employment
- Fitness for appointment to an excepted service position
- Fitness to perform work under a government contract
- Eligibility to serve in a national security sensitive position
- Acceptance or retention in the armed forces
- Eligibility for access to classified information, and/or
- Eligibility for logical or physical access to a federally controlled facility or information technology systems
DCSA’s background investigations gather information on the applicant through various methods to provide a holistic picture of the applicant and provide the information needed for an adjudicator to make a determination whether to grant or deny an individual’s eligibility to occupy national security sensitive positions, eligibility to access classified information, or suitability for civilian employment, fitness for selected positions, and/or credentials for access to DOD systems and facilities.
Depending on the sensitivity of the position, these investigative methods can include in-depth interviews with the applicant and individuals such as the applicant’s current and former supervisors and co-workers, their neighbors, and their friends, as well as reviewing records pertaining to the subject, such as employment records, educational history, law enforcement and court actions, alcohol and drug counseling records, and financial records. These investigative methods are used to verify and develop information regarding the applicant’s character, conduct, trustworthiness, integrity, and loyalty to the United States.