Pentagon names next director of DCSA

By Justin Doubleday / March 17, 2020 at 1:13 PM

The Pentagon has named William Lietzau as the next director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.

The Defense Department announced Lietzau's appointment in a statement released yesterday. He currently serves as director of the Pentagon's Personnel Vetting Transformation Office, which is leading DOD's efforts to revamp security clearance and background investigation processes.

"Bill's leadership experience within the military, government, and industry, combined with his role leading DCSA transformation efforts, make him the ideal candidate to hit the ground running and lead the DCSA," Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan said in the statement. "Bill understands the criticality of the background investigation and security mission, and the necessity to ensure a trusted workforce and protect critical defense information from theft or disclosure."

A DOD spokesman said Lietzau is expected to assume the DCSA director role "on or about" March 30.

Lietzau will take over for acting director Charles Phalen, who assumed the DCSA role last July. Phalen was appointed director of the Office of Personnel Management's National Background Investigation Bureau under the Obama administration. He continued in that role until NBIB officially merged into DCSA last October as part of the background investigations transfer to the Pentagon.

"I want to thank Charlie for his dedication and commitment to the DCSA mission, and for his willingness to lead the DCSA workforce through one of the largest organizational transfers in the Executive Branch and positioning the Agency for transformation while maintaining uninterrupted support for all of DOD and its government agency customers," Kernan said.

Background investigations are close to a "steady state" caseload after the backlog peaked in recent years. Officials are now trying to speed up the investigative process while they move to more automation and constant monitoring of cleared personnel through "continuous evaluation."

DCSA, which was formerly called the Defense Security Service, is charged with vetting personnel for clearances and protecting classified information. It is also taking on an increasing role in protecting U.S. intellectual property and supply chains.