Why the change is happening, what will be different, and how to get your NBIS login credentials
The DCSA announced that the industry would be transitioning from the Defense Information System for Security (DISS) to the National Background Investigation Services (NBIS) system in early 2022, and at the time said this transition would begin on April 1 of that year. Currently, the NBIS rollout has been focused on U.S. government users, while a select few contractors chosen by DCSA are being onboarded. As we learn to set up and navigate this new system, it’s important to understand why the change is happening and how it may affect your work in the near and distant future.
An Overview of the Change
This is the second time in recent years that DCSA has changed the system they use for Personnel Clearance (PCL) management. The Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) was in use for decades before being sunsetted and fully replaced by DISS about two years ago. No deadline for sunsetting DISS has been communicated yet, so right now users can expect to have to manage both their DISS and NBIS accounts. The National Industrial Security System (NISS), which is used for managing Facility Clearances (FCL), will remain in place.
This change is largely an attempt to create a system that is more of a one-stop shop for any services users would need. For industry users, most of their services were already housed in DISS, so this will aggregate fewer services for them than for federal users. The term “services” refers to the work in the system processed by different organizations. For instance, when initiating an investigation for a new clearance, the Office of Personnel Management and Vetting Risk Office both perform services for the FSO such as processing fingerprints.
At time of publication, users can log in to their NBIS account, but the only action you need to take in there is to initiate investigations, so there is still little work that can be done within the platform. Your account will eventually require configuring to obtain the services you need, but it’s unclear at this time when that process will begin, as DCSA hasn’t specified.
Getting into Your NBIS Account
Unfortunately, logging into your NBIS account for the first time is a multi-step process that involves locating a login to a platform you likely haven’t used before and may not realize you have a login for. DCSA sent an email on Jan. 9 to the Facility Security Officer (FSO) of record for your organization, who is the only one who needs to log into NBIS for now.
To begin, you need to log in to your ServiceNow account. ServiceNow is a platform where you can upload documents without having to encrypt them. Your account would have been automatically created with your DISS account, but if you don’t have your login credentials, you need to request a password reset.
When you request a password reset, you will be sent a multi-factor authentication code. When entering the code, make sure to just enter the six digits without the dashes, or the code won’t work. Once you’re into ServiceNow, you need to upload two documents: your STEPP training certificate and a Personnel Security System Access Request (PSSAR). For your training certificate, be aware that the completion date doesn’t automatically apply. You will have to manually add that to your form or DCSA will not accept it.
Once all your information has been submitted, DCSA will send you an email with a link to log in to your NBIS account. Be aware that this email could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days to be sent to your inbox.
Once you’ve successfully logged into NBIS, you have to log in every 25 days or your account will go into deactivation mode. Since you don’t have work to do in NBIS currently, set a calendar reminder for yourself to log in every few weeks so you don’t forget.
Investigations in NBIS
As of Oct. 1, you must now initiate both initial and periodic investigations in NBIS. You will still monitor the investigation in DISS, and at this time you will still need to use all the same services as you have previously, like Secure Web Fingerprint Transmission (SWFT) throughout.
This was also the first step in the transition from JPAS to DISS, with users initiating investigations in DISS but monitoring them in JPAS.
When it comes to initiating the investigations, be aware that the vernacular is different in NBIS than it is in DISS, so you will need to read up on the knowledge articles that can be found in your STEPP account on the process in order to make sure you’re doing it right. These can be found under NBIS in the training section. If you run into any problems, be sure the have the NBIS help desk number handy. They will be able to walk you through solving any issues as everyone learns how to navigate this new system. Be aware this process will probably take you longer than it did in DISS, at least while you’re still learning to navigate the new platform, so give yourself extra time when you need to do any work in NBIS.
At the time of publication, DCSA has not given a deadline for when DISS will be completely sunsetted.
If you’re struggling to get into your NBIS account or don’t have the time to invest in figuring out how to work in it, Adamo can help. Our FSO support team will walk you through each step as DCSA rolls out the new NBIS services. Don’t let an intimidating new service keep you from your important work; contact us today and let us figure it out for you.
Originally published Feb. 23, 2023. Updated to add information about initiating investigations in NBIS.