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Diversity In Action

The DSS provides security to the U.S. military and more

Four major IT occupations are among the personnel needs of this DoD agency. Cybersecurity experience and certifications are among the desired skills


The Defense Security Service (DSS) is an agency of the Department of Defense (DoD), with field offices throughout the United States. DSS provides security support services to the U.S. military services, defense agencies, twenty-six federal agencies and approximately 13,500 cleared contractor facilities. DSS contributes to national security by serving as the primary interface between the government and cleared industry.

Four major IT occupations are important to the agency, says Antoe Allen, recruitment and outreach manager. “We hire information system security professionals to provide oversight of complex information assurance activities at cleared national industrial security program contractor sites across the country,” Allen explains. “Cybersecurity specialists provide support to cleared industrial contractors to protect Department of Defense information that moves through or resides on cleared contractor information systems and networks.

“The chief information officer and IT officer/specialists work on confidentiality, integrity, availability and authentication of the DSS network infrastructure.”

The fourth major job title, IT specialist for the Center for Development of Security Excellence, is somewhat different from the other three, Allen says. “This job helps DSS instructors and curriculum managers develop and maintain courseware that uses sophisticated delivery methods, and develops interactive learning simulations like gaming and other innovative tools to enhance learners’ experiences.”

Sought-after skills in tricky times
Due to sequestration and DoD budget cuts, hiring at the moment is limited and future hiring levels are uncertain, Allen says. However, those interested in available career opportunities should still visit the DSS job site, accessible via www.dss.mil.

Required experience levels vary. Typically, a bachelors degree in IT, information assurance, cybersecurity, information security, computer engineering or another IT-related field is preferred, but not always required, says Allen.

“Certifications like certified information systems security professionals (CISSP), Security+, Cisco security network, or any certification from the Committee on National Security Systems or Homeland Security are a plus, and may even be a requirement for some positions after six months on the job,” she notes.

There may be additional IT security-related opportunities at the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE), Allen reports. The CDSE (Linthicum, MD) provides security education and training to DoD and industry security professionals through formal classroom programs, as well as tele-training and computer and web-based offerings. Applicants with bachelors degrees in graphic design, visual communications, or similar fields are considered good candidates for careers as IT specialists there.

Rigorous recruitment
Recruitment is serious business for the DSS, Allen says, with outreach initiatives centered on attracting IT candidates through universities, conferences and the armed forces. “We have a cadre of well-trained subject matter experts who represent the agency, share the DSS story, answer questions and provide information about their career fields. These recruiters are the faces of DSS and have a great impact on how technical jobseekers view our agency.”

This year, the DSS participated in a number of conferences and college career fairs focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including those of the American Indian Science Engineering Society, the Society of Hispanic Engineers, Arizona State University, and the University of Texas-San Antonio, says Allen. “In addition, we participated in events targeting wounded service members of the armed forces, transitioning service members and veterans: Operation Warfighter, Hiring Heroes, and other military spouse and wounded warrior career fairs,” she adds.

“When choosing college recruiting events, we consider such factors as student demographics, STEM programs, and proximity to our field offices. College recruitment is accomplished by participation in career fairs, on-campus job postings, and on-campus interviews,” Allen says. “We’re planning information sessions at colleges to introduce students to our mission and our exciting career fields. We want them to be excited about who we are and what we do.”

New inclusion strategy
DSS produced its first diversity and inclusion strategic plan this January. Based on employment process results for women and minorities, the plan proposes objectives and action plans to address identified representation gaps.

The equal employment opportunity (EEO) office at DDS offers interactive programs and educational modules to all employees, says EEO manager Carolyn Lyle. “These programs are geared toward intercultural and interpersonal communication skill-building, as well as helping leaders demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she explains.

DSS convenes teams of employees to plan and carry out internal DSS cultural events for DSS employees and invites employees in the other DoD agencies that share space with DSS, says Lyle. “DSS recently chartered its first affinity group for Asian American and Pacific Islanders, with visible support from top leadership.”

D/C




Defense Security Service
www.dss.mil/index.html

Headquarters: Quantico, VA
Employees: 840 civilian
2013 budget: $458.2 million
Mission: Contributing to national security by serving as the primary interface between the government and cleared industry

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