Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DoD Security Professionals and Certification

Happy New Year DoD security and risk management professionals.

A new year, a new beginning; a great motto and motivational phrase. As such, this is the time of year to reflect upon your accomplishments and develop goals. Some of these goals impact only you, but may actually impact your organization. If your goals include professional certification and education, then use this article as a roadmap to get you there.

You may be aware of the many available certifications and this article addresses two prominent ones; Industrial Security Professional (ISP) ® and the Security Professional Education Development (SPeD) certifications. Both certifications are great ways to demonstrate professional competence that brings credit to the certified professional and the organization they support.

The ISP ® certification

The ISP ® certification is sponsored by NCMS and is based on the DoD, 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), 2006, With Change 1. It is an open book exam available online. Those wishing to take the exam should coordinate with NCMS for the taking the test. This coordination will include addressing pre-requisites, applying for, determining a test date, finding a proctor, and taking the exam. NCMS also has a study program and mentors to help you through the process.

Security Professional Education Development (SPeD)

SPeD certification is a Department of Defense that is available to those working in the NISP. This includes contractors directly supporting DoD organizations. There are three core certifications available. They are Security Fundamentals, Professional Certification, Security Asset Protection Professional Certification, and Security Program Integration Professional Certification. You can find more information at

Certification Preparation

Fortunately both certifications require planning and coordination. In other words, it’s impossible to show up unannounced and take the exams. The level of test coordination requires months of advance planning to become vetted by the certification organizations. The vetting simply determines whether or not candidates possess the experience, skill level, and education stated as pre-requisites. The lead time from initial coordination to actual test execution can take up to a year. For procrastinators, this testing coordination process can be the trigger necessary to begin an intensive studying effort to prepare for the tests. So, coordinating a test date can propel a candidate to begin their study prep.

There are many ways to prepare for certification. Each certification has its own internal study program. The NCMS offers ISP ® certification as well as for incorporating into the SPeD certification preparation. Defense Security Services has an education program complete with online courses that focus on the NISPOM topics for ISP ® certification and other DoD level security topics appropriate for the SPeD certification.

There are also books and training appropriate for both certifications available at Red Bike Publishing. In addition to print versions of the NISPOM and ITAR. DoD Security Clearance and Contracts Guide Book is covers protecting classified information as addressed in the NISPOM. It takes the NISPOM and applies it to notional contract requirements and is a great resource for DoD and contractor security professionals. Additionally, Red Bike Publishing’s Unofficial Guide for ISP Certification has 440 NISPOM based questions.

Red Bike Publishing also has NISP security training that can be used to prepare for ISP ® and SPeD certification. These include Annual Security Awareness Training for Possessing and Non-Possessing Facilities, Derivative Classifier Training, SF 312 Training, and more.  These training programs review most National Industrial Security Program (NISP) topics.

Happy New Year and best of success developing and meeting all of your personal and professional goals.

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