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National Security Cyber Assistance Program

Latest News

  • An announcement calling for applications to the CIRA Accreditation program is now posted here and on the ARC website.
  • IAD Announces First Accredited Companies in National Security Cyber Assistance Program (NSCAP) [Read More]


The growing sophistication and number of cyber attacks necessitates an equally vigorous and rapid response. In exploring available approaches, the NSA developed a strategy to leverage the cyber expertise of industry. This newly formed strategic initiative is called the National Security Cyber Assistance Program or NSCAP. NSCAP was designed around four pillars:

  • Intrusion Detection
  • Incident Response
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Penetration Testing

Each pillar will be incorporated into an accreditation framework for evaluating the capability of commercial cyber assistance service providers against industry best practices and NSA-developed criteria.

National Security Cyber Assistance Program (Industry Accreditation)
Designed to meet the growing cyber defense needs of the U.S. government. Accreditation is issued to qualified Cyber Incident Response Providers capable of providing comprehensive cyber assistance services to owners/operators of National Security Systems.
Accredited Cyber Incident Service Providers National Security System Owners/Users
  • Undergo a thorough review of their ability to deliver 21 focused areas of Incident Response Assistance services derived from industry best practices.
  • Deliver consistent services using repeatable processes/procedures.
  • Assign highly skilled and qualified staff to follow approved processes and procedures to deliver state-of-the-art services.
  • Improve quality of delivered services through training, lessons learned and shared situational awareness.
  • Use of an accredited cyber assistance provider instills confidence that highly capable resources are available when needed.
  • Pre-established agreements with accredited providers fosters rapid engagement while minimizing response times and incident impact.
  • Accredited Providers augment existing resources with specialized capabilities and tools as part of a comprehensive IA risk management program.
  • Receive state-of-the-art Cyber Incident Response Assistance.

Cyber Incident Response Assistance (CIRA) is the first accreditation of this strategic initiative. CIRA accreditation will be granted to qualified providers that are capable of consistently delivering CIR assistance to owners and operators of National Security Systems (NSS) as characterized by the 21 critical focus areas of CIRA.

Objectives of the NSCAP accreditation include:

  • Develop a list of "accredited" cyber service providers from which the NSS community can draw upon for timely cyber assistance.
  • Promote public-private collaboration
  • Leverage industry expertise to protect national interests and,
  • Address this growing concern across government.

In order to apply, the applicant / candidate organization must be eligible to receive a US Government Security Clearance.

Complete information on the accreditation process and application requirements is provided within the Cyber Incident Response Assistance Accreditation Instruction Manual (V3).
The manual may be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the NSCAP Program Office:

Date Posted: Feb 12, 2014 | Last Modified: Jul 30, 2014 | Last Reviewed: Ju1 30, 2014