Transitioning from DISS to NBIS: Everything You Need to Know

The National Background Investigation Services (NBIS) is the federal government’s central database system (still in development) for running background checks, vetting personnel, adjudicating cases, and providing ongoing screening for cleared employees. Once fully complete, it’ll act as the single source of truth for background investigations and case management by integrating all data into one system — replacing systems from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC).  

As of October 1st, 2020, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) obtained control over the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) for overseeing the final development and management of NBIS. As part of the change, the Defense Information System for Security (DISS), which previously acted as the primary source of industry hierarchy data, will be phased out — a process that has already begun as of April 1st, 2022. 

The legacy systems that went into DISS expect to be fully decommissioned by 2023, in which NBIS will hold the authority. So what does this mean for defense contractors, and what are some notable benefits of transitioning from DISS to NBIS? 

What the Transition Means for Defense Contractors

The main implication of moving everything into NBIS is the data overhaul and user onboarding that will come with it. Defense contractors will need to learn how to use a brand new system and undergo some preparation steps in advance. For example, the DCSA advises that Facility Security Officers (FSOs) and others that hold facility clearances review their DISS data to correct and consolidate to ensure a smooth data transition into NBIS.

There’s also an entire NBIS readiness checklist published by the DCSA that covers other prerequisites. To name some, they’ll need to select two cleared onboarding managers to complete the checklist tasks, update web browsers to the most recent versions, and confirm their users have a T3 investigation requirement fulfilled.

Additionally, specific security preparation tasks require completion, such as completing cybersecurity and personally identifiable information (PII) training within the past year and having the proper hardware and devices ready for identity authentication. 

Benefits of the DISS to NBIS Move 

Though many FSOs, defense contractors, those who fall under personnel security program requirements, and other stakeholders in the Department of Defense (DoD) might be overwhelmed by the change, some critical underlying benefits will come from it:

  • System Centralization: NBIS will allow all functions from its legacy software systems to be completed in one interface.   
  • Better Security: NBIS is built using a layered security approach with top-of-the-line cybersecurity technology that includes end-to-end data encryption and network segmentation to isolate potential incidents into one “walled” area, similar to the zero trust security model.  
  •  Efficient Updates: The development team for NBIS is using the Agile methodology — ensuring collaboration with users and incremental changes for quick system updates with minimal downtime or bug issues. 
  • Faster Processing: NBIS will take advantage of contextual automation technology, which will auto-approve checks if there are no flags of concern and allow for multiple subject investigations at once to streamline adjudication cases. 
  • Improved User Experience: The system will be noticeably easier to use and navigate and allow subjects real-time process tracking of their case statuses.   

On top of these benefits, DCSA and other federal agencies plan to use NBIS as a framework for other system and online service developments down the line. NBIS has set a new expectation of utilizing top-tier technology and strategies for data security and taking advantage of automation features to create more efficient processes. 

Maintain Your Secure Vetting Process with MathCraft 

Despite some likely setbacks and typical headaches with adopting a new IT system, the DISS to NBIS transition is a much-needed investment that will be a game changer for the entire vetting process. Once up and running, NBIS will pay off with more robust data security, a more collaborative system for software updates, and a faster and simpler process for conducting background checks and requesting investigations. 

Contact us today to learn more about how our suite of access, visitor, and portal management software helps FSOs automate and organize their industrial-security compliance needs to support personnel vetting and other NISPOM and DoD requirements.