Potomac Officers Club hosted its 2019 Security Vetting Process Modernization Update on August 14th. The forum brought together GovCon leaders from the public and private sector to discuss the initial implementation of National Security Presidential Memorandum-9 and how future plans will continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of vetting through a series of enhancements.
Following the opening keynote address from Monte Hawkins, director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Vetting Center, the panel’s moderator Gator Harvey of Northrop Grumman Technology Services introduced Casie Antalis and Eric Peters of CBP, Lori Vislocky of the Department of Homeland Security and Sam Robinson of the FBI.
Lori Vislocky, technical director for the NVC, led off the discussion by highlighting that the vetting mission is driving DHS to change the way it does business. She stressed the importance of positioning the agency to carry out the execution of the process and build for long term success. Vislocky also noted that the intent is to be data agnostic when developing technical solutions so they can be flexible and agile as they grow instead of needing to “reinvent the wheel” over and over again.
Eric Peters, an assistant director at the National Targeting Center, argued that the more data and information that’s available in one place, the more we can do with it. In a nutshell, we should be disrupting potential threats instead of being disrupted and forced to learn from our mistakes. “We can’t wait for problems to create themselves,” Peters said. “We need to look as far in advance as possible.”
Casie Antalis, NVC’s chief of staff, elaborated that the new center is still at a very early stage, but there’s a strong foundation and their roles are beginning to expand. Antalis notes that they project to bring on two projects a year and that to achieve that goal requires a deeper understanding of how NVC can become more agile.
In addition, she stressed the organizational changes in Phase 2 will be another big challenge and the NVC’s commitment to civil rights and privacy puts a unique focus on policy development as well. Antalis also explained that there wasn’t a budget for NVC when it started up so they are behind the budget curve and the question becomes how to align budgets and plans for the future.
Sam Robinson, deputy director with the Department of Justice for NVC, agreed with Peters and explained that we don’t have the luxury of time. He stressed that our previous stance has been mostly reactive so any chance we have to get ahead of the curve is a good thing. Robinson elaborated that Phase One of the National Security Presidential Memorandum-9 plan allowed agencies to take action, better collaborate between law enforcement and the intelligence community and deepen our portfolio. “The better our collaboration and the deeper our portfolio, the better our options are.”
Potomac Officers Club will host the 4th Annual Army Forum on October 2nd at the 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, Va. Thus far, Dr. Bruce Jette of the U.S. Army will be featured as a keynote speaker for the forum. Over the coming weeks, Potomac Officers Club will announce the panelists for another expert panel to discuss the Army’s current initiatives and future plans.