(DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force.)

DoD in Charge of Federal Background Investigations Now as OPM Transfer Completed

The Defense Department and Office of Personnel Management completed the planned transfer of the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) from OPM to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).

President Trump signed an executive order in April solidifying the expected shift in government-wide background investigation duties. The National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 established that the DoD would conduct backgrounds on its own staff and contractors during a phased transition coordinated with OPM.

The National Background Investigations Bureau was be able to perform background investigations on behalf of DoD during a transition period running through Sept. 30, though the date for DoD to become the “primary entity for conducting effective, efficient, and secure background investigations” for sensitive positions was June 24.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) was rebranded the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. Personnel were expected to be moved from NBIB to DCSA.

“Merging the components into one organization will allow us to execute our two core missions: personnel vetting and critical technology protection, underpinned by counterintelligence and training,” said Acting DCSA Director Charles Phalen Jr. on Tuesday.

The executive order directed that DCSA “shall serve as the primary federal entity for conducting background investigations for the federal government” and would, “as a continuation of the former DSS, serve as the primary Department of Defense component for the National Industrial Security Program and shall execute responsibilities relating to continuous vetting, insider threat programs, and any other responsibilities assigned to it by the Secretary of Defense consistent with law.”

Oversight for DCSA will be conducted by the Security Executive Agent at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“Transition teams from DCSA and NBIB have worked together closely to prepare for this merger. Their efforts have enabled the transfer of NBIB’s mission, personnel, resources, and assets to the DoD in a transparent and seamless way,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan. “This merger advances National Defense Strategy objectives to enhance our security environment and maintain lethality by protecting critical defense information from theft or disclosure.”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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