Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!

When we first got into helping FSOs manage their day-to-day FSO tasks, administration, and goals, I used to worry and say “If the government ever de-regulates this industry, I guess we will have to go into a different business. “ Ah…that was cute.

For those of you who haven’t seen the VRO message from the government, it appears that SF86s must be submitted for all clearances every 5 years! Since DISS doesn’t have a report feature for that yet, we will need to check on this manually by running a subject report and check- ing investigation and CE enrollment dates, then initiating their eQIPs. You are going to want to give your company a few “heads up” rounds before hitting them with this!

Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!BUT WAIT! Check with YOUR DCSA Rep first! Some reps are saying “don’t do anything until you get guidance from me”, so make sure you check in with your rep before moving forward. My rep said “effectively immediately”.

DON’T PANIC—You Got This

With a little planning once a month or week, and a few dedicated minutes each day, you can manage this while dealing with all the usual headaches you have in your job (“What do you mean you don’t see the VAR in DISS – I am looking at it!”)

Your 5 Step Action Plan for Making this a Great Fall Security Season!

1) Refocus your Focus – What is it that you actually want to achieve? Inspection Prep readiness at any moment? To be an FSO subject matter expert? To help other FSOs? To have more suspicious con- tacts than last year? To get security certifications? To just complete all the baseline standards? Get clear on your organization’s security goals and mission so you know where you are heading!

2) Plan to Succeed – As I type this, DCSA has been restarting in-person reviews and sharing the changes for Security Reviews, Self-Inspections, new ratings systems and changes with VROC. We work to keep you in the loop but checking in with your rep is also essential. Proper Planning is essential with any goal and there are times when your usual planning methods need to be upgraded!

Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!Shameless plug:
With our FSO Pro Membership, we offer monthly resources for these changes like new foreign travel cheat-sheets, answer questions (such as “what does the deferred date in CE mean?”), and things to help for CM calls (see page 1) or prep for any meeting with DCSA. We provide to-do templates, planners, and checklists so you can take a few moments each month and map out your success. To join the “FSO Super-Hero” club go to: the FSO Pro Shop.

We also recommend planning tools and apps such as Trello, Google tools, Outlook calendars, and project schedulers. From a real FSO: “For me, what works best is planning out the month at the beginning but looking at the next month too, in case I need to task out items the last week.

I put both the due dates and the dates that I need to work on it. I start an hour or two ahead of the day (this doesn’t work for everyone) and knock out the “worst first” (usually courtesy reminders or research for a new security pro- cess) then close out my day with an updated priority list for the next morning. That’s just me.”

Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!3) Get Educated! It would be nice if someone could just tell us exactly what to do each day. That worked really well in grade school. FSO work is not a one-size-fits-all situation, so you will, as an FSO, have to take a few moments each day to educate yourself.

  • DCSA offers workshops, “Industry” events, and Summits to get a ton of information and resources in one day.
  • CDSE offers all sorts of web training, study guides, and job aids.
  • NCMS offers brown bags and annual conferences.
  • FSO PRO offers newsletters, video training, one-on-one training, Security Review and Self Inspection Prep, and booklets.

The problem is not the material – it is out there.
The problem is making it a real priority. Give yourself 10 minutes a day to learn a bit about the FSO work you do. If you have read this far— you already nailed it for today!

“Education is the most powerful weapon you have to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!
4) Clean House – “If you have a moment, I would like to talk with you about our Government – Required Training.”
That is how I feel each year when I send out the Annual Refresher Briefings – like some sort of un- wanted sales rep! Folks are busy, they have done this before, they just did a training with someone else, blah, blah, blah.

I can promise you this: when you are sitting with an auditor (DCSA, ISO if you have that, Contracting…) and they say “show me Janet’s Annual Refresher from last year” or “why is Eric’s PR still pending?” and you can- not locate it – it is a VERY un- comfortable feeling. (One job, Janet!) We know from experience, you have to stay on top of personnel record keeping!


Autumn Colors, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and more DCSA changes! It must be September!Here are some tips for how you can ensure your training is complete for your cleared personnel:

  • Make a chart with all your cleared personnel and all their required training. We are updating this now for our Members!
  • Review the training in the NEW Federal Rule and SEAD ISL
    • Initial Overview
    • Annual Refresher
    • Annual Insider Threat
    • CUI
    • SEAD 3
    • Debriefing
  • Now locate Special Briefings, if any, on your DD254 and in the contract Statement of Work (SOW).
    • NATO
    • COMSEC
    • SCI
    • OPSEC
    • Cyber Challenge, etc.
  • Combine the Federal requirements as much as you can. We blend the initial, annual training, Insider Threat into one with a very extensive acknowledgement sheet to ensure we cover all required topics.
  • Audit your personnel records to make sure you are not missing anything! (JANET!!!)
  • Send “courtesy reminders”, send notes to their supervisors – keep at them until you get 100% of all the required training. (I will come to your house, Janet!)

5) Make October a Security “Event” Month!
Over the next few weeks, people will begin to feel festive. Take advantage of that (and National Cyber Security Awareness Month) to get some security events going!

Ideas to make training fun and creative.

  • Competition – get your groups (Programs, departments, etc.) to see who can get it done first. I will tell you right now – HR and Finance take that seriously!
  • Have an “event” training. Do it all at once with a company pot-luck or barbecue.
  • Give it a theme and promote it for weeks with posters, candy, and reminders.
  • Have prizes! Yes, you should not have to bribe anyone to do their job but if it cuts down on your reminders, it may be worth a Starbucks card or two.
  • Go to CDSE for ways to update your training or use the posters, handouts, and video shorts to add to your education program.

Need more explanation or assistance with any items mentioned this month? Contact FSO PRO!

COMING SOON— Opportunity announcements:
“Hey—can you guys let your readers know that we are looking for a new FSO?” “Hey—our organization would like to buy a company that is already cleared to merge with our current work? Is anyone selling?”
“Hey—I am looking to rent SCIF space—is any available?” “Hey—how do I set up fingerprints for someone working in Alaska?”
These are all REAL questions we get and now that we have over 3,000 subscribers to this newsletter, we thought we could help you out! Send any information to:

FSO PRO thanks all the FSOs out there for everything you do to keep the warfighter safe. Even the smallest task is designed to keep our nation’s information out of the hands of those who would do harm. We, as FSOs, are doing our part to stay vigilant and determined to protect those who protect us, even in our own small way.

That is why we say how awesome you are. And thank you.

Need help remembering your FSO requirements? Sign up for monthly text reminders for JPAS login and other DSS due-outs!