Do you have Double Top Secret Security Clearance? If so, you've likely been investigated by the Defense Security Service (DSS). A Department of Defense agency, the DSS provides the military services, Defense agencies, 23 federal agencies and approximately 12,000 cleared contractor facilities with security support services. Other DSS employees are National Industrial Security Program (NISP) representatives who manage classified contractor facilities. The DSS, established in 1972 as the Defense Investigative Service, employs more than 700 personnel and has an annual budget of $416 million.

The DSS also administers the Security Education, Training and Awareness (SETA) program that provides education and materials for DoD contractors, employees of other federal agencies, and selected foreign governments to ensure all classified information is treated accordingly.

The agency came under fire in 2007 for temporarily suspending the processing of clearance applications. The DSS blames overwhelming demand and a budget shortfall for the halt, which put thousands of applications on hold.

Kathleen Watson, formerly with the CIA, was promoted to permanent DSS director in 2007 after serving as interim for a year. Under her direction, the agency has received increased funding and made significant progress on its applications backlog

The Defense Department is responsible for about 2 million active personnel security clearances, about one-third of which are for industry working on defense contracts.

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27130 Telegraph Rd
Quantico, VA 22134-2253
Phone: 1 (571) 305-6751
Fax: 1 (202) 325-3916


  • Employer Type: Government Agency
  • Director Security Education, Training and Awareness (SETA): Kevin J. Jones
  • CFO: Barry E. Sterling
  • Director: Kathleen M. Watson

Major Office Locations

  • Quantico, VA

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