Acquiring highly skilled resources can be a challenge, especially in Top Secret environments. Quick and easy access to TS/SCI-cleared Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can make all the difference.

NITAAC has 137 Labor Categories for a range of professional services at a variety of levels. One of those categories allows agencies to quickly access the knowledge of Subject Matter Experts.

Strategic Operational Solutions, Inc. (STOPSO), a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business and Contract Holder on the CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC, provided SME support for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) Enhanced Vetting and Discovery Element (EVADE) requirement.

STOPSO SMEs at the TS/SCI level are currently providing support for three major tasks: open source research, threat assessments for credentialed subjects, and completion of other deliverables as assigned. They leverage information technology and advanced research methods to increase use of newly implemented tools and initiatives, while also helping to improve the pre-existing vetting and security threat assessment processes. After gathering data through a technology driven process, the SMEs aggregate and analyze the data on individuals and provide analyses of trends and patterns to TSA.

When STOPSO was initially engaged to provide support to TSA’s EVADE requirement, the STOPSO team assessed various aspects of TSA’s current vetting and security threat assessment processes. This assessment identified that some areas were working well, while others presented opportunities for improvement.

Opportunities for improvement were primarily in the areas of communication and training. STOPSO then addressed these opportunities with TSA and then implemented new information technology processes to increase data collection, improve communication and implement a formal training program. As it realized benefits, TSA began to recognize additional opportunities for modernizing their processes as well.

The implementation of information technology helped to advance newly implemented tools and initiatives and improved the vetting and security threat assessment processes already in place. The onsite vetting support provided by STOPSO had staff conducting big data searches of credentialed subjects using both government-provided and publicly-available information. STOPSO's SMEs perform work at the TS/SCI level and continually review information via open source searches, focusing on identity resolution, counterterrorism threats, and the dark web.

STOPSO SMEs are trained and prepared to provide written assessments on the open source presence of certain individuals. Information is gathered via a technology driven process to analyze and aggregate data on an individual and analyze data trends and patterns. This research includes unclassified, publicly available information, and other databases.

STOPSO is also providing research to support threat assessments on credentialed subjects of interest. The data provided by this research helps the TSA analyst when making a recommendation on the threat or risk of a subject of interest holding a credential. During these investigations, mitigating, or derogatory information may be discovered, which can be a determining factor on whether or not to revoke, deny, grant, or add the credential to a monitored state.

With STOPSO’s SME support and more effective communication, data and information are now collected at a faster rate. This led to increased workloads for the agency’s contracting staff and TSA as a whole. STOPSO recommended a new standard operating procedure (SOP) that was ultimately approved and put into practice to help the agency standardize and effectively manage the increased workload. A training program was also established for incoming government and contracting employees. 

“Our client has measured the success of the EVADE program based on the increased workload, standardization, ideas being organized, and communication improvement,” says Derrell Qualls, Subject Matter Expert for the EVADE Program. “Our work doesn’t just impact our section; it impacts other sections of our branch. And because of the foundation that we laid that helped build our process and the amount of work we are able to produce, it increased work for everyone else and I feel has made the branch at TSA that we work for a better branch altogether.”

NITAAC provides any Department of Defense or civilian agency with three Best in Class GWACs to meet virtually every IT need. CIO-SP3 Small Business is one of three Best in Class Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) that NITAAC offers. The NITAAC pool of pre-qualified Contract Holders have assisted over 64 federal departments with their information technology efforts. To learn more view our Contract Holder Capabilities (/about/contract-holders-capabilities) page.