Top Seven DCSA Training Requirements for FSOs

Because of the magnitude involved in working with classified information about our national security, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), in conjunction with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), has set numerous submission and sponsorship standards to acquire and maintain a Facility Security Clearance (FCL).

Arguably, one of the most tedious is the DCSA training requirements for new and existing staff in a cleared facility as well as those overseeing the operation — Facility Security Officers (FSOs). There are a variety of courses FSOs operating under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) must take to certify their awareness and fulfill NISPOM section 117.12 section d —FSO training.  

While all of this may seem complicated, it becomes more simplified when the DCSA training requirements can be centralized and administered by the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE). This education provider offers courses and certifiable training for cleared contractors under NISP. 

Even though there are tons of courses on industrial security, insider threats, cybersecurity, and so much more, we’ve identified the top seven major DCSA training categories specifically for FSOs. Accessible through the Security Training, Education and Professionalization Portal (STEPP) on the CDSE website, approximately 40 hours of training is required on the following subjects: 

1. Facility Security Clearance Training

FSOs must understand the requirements of facility and FSO clearances — and the processes for acquiring them. They also need to grasp the various statuses for each clearance and which actions or conditions can impact those statuses. Additionally, procedures regarding visitors to and from a contractor facility are covered during this training.

2. Personnel Security Clearance Training

Personnel Security Clearance (PCL) Training focuses on the management side of administering the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Personnel Security Program (PSP) in terms of officers’ duties and the practices for designating responsibilities. There’s also further guidance for an FSO’s role in the NISP and how it relates to DOD requirements.

3. Safeguarding and Handling Classified Information

FSOs must learn the major components for protecting and processing sensitive information. This category emphasizes physical security and how it might impact data or other assets owned by the DOD. There are also courses on managing Operations Security (OPSEC), transmitting classified information, and practices for using security containers to store classified information.

4. Self-Inspections

The self-inspection course dives into how FSOs should prepare for, conduct, and follow up on an evaluation of their security program. This course primarily focuses on self-inspection concerning the NISPOM, ensuring that classified information or critical assets are adequately protected, and which actions to take if there are security gaps. 

5. Reporting Requirements

These courses detail all reporting requirements for NISP contractors, due dates, submission recipients, report generation, and how to submit them safely. There are also guidelines on counterintelligence awareness and reporting and how to respond to insider threats — specifically in reporting personal information per the Privacy Act of 1974.

6. International Training

This single-course module details concepts, policies, and requirements for those in international programs. With a particular emphasis on DCSA responsibilities, FSOs and other cleared contractors must understand the international program’s purpose and scope.

7. Risk Management

The risk management curriculum focuses on the basics of mitigating potential loss. FSOs must understand and apply the steps in the risk management process and analyze risk adequately to protect assets such as data or technology systems. If a risk is identified, they must know how to allocate resources to address it adequately.

Supplement Your Training with MathCraft Security Technologies 

Knowledge and training paired with the right technology are critical to safeguarding our nation’s sensitive information. Our industrial security, employee self-service, and visitor management platforms offer streamlined capabilities for maintaining NISPOM compliance and facility security.  

Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions assist FSOs throughout the defense contracting industry and how we can help you with industrial-security compliance, automation, and oversight.