DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process

Definition of DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process

The DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) is a standardized methodology used by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to assess and authorize the security of its information systems. It focuses on identifying, managing, and mitigating cybersecurity risks to ensure the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the systems. The process involves evaluating and validating the system’s security controls, documenting the asserted compliance, and obtaining an accreditation decision from a designated approving authority.


D-O-D Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process Phonetics: /diː.oʊˈdiː/ /ˌɪnfərˈmeɪʃən/ /əˈʃʊərəns/ /ˌsɜrtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/ /ænd/ /əˈkrɛdɪˌteɪʃən/ /ˈprɒsɛs/

Key Takeaways

  1. DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) ensures that proper security measures are applied to Department of Defense (DoD) information systems, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and cyberattacks.
  2. DIACAP follows a standardized framework that involves identifying and categorizing information systems, implementing and assessing security controls, authorizing the system’s operation, and conducting continuous monitoring to maintain security levels.
  3. By adhering to the DIACAP framework, the DoD ensures that its information systems achieve a high level of information assurance, safeguarding sensitive and critical data while fostering efficient and resilient operations within the department.

Importance of DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process

The Department of Defense (DOD) Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) is important because it establishes a standardized and rigorous process for assessing, validating, and managing the security of the DOD’s information systems and networks.

This process ensures that information systems adhere to strict security guidelines, protecting critical information and assets from potential threats, and maintains confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

By implementing DIACAP, the DOD is able to minimize the risk of security breaches and cyber-attacks, enhance defense operations, and safeguard sensitive data, while promoting a strong security culture within the organization.


The Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and integrity of information systems used by the United States military and other government agencies. The primary purpose of DIACAP is to accurately identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities within these information systems, thereby offering a solid foundation for secure and reliable operations.

In essence, the process seeks to safeguard valuable information assets and provide the necessary level of assurance to decision-makers, enabling them to make well-informed choices regarding the risks associated with implementing, operating, and maintaining these systems. DIACAP achieves this purpose through a structured, systematic approach, which consists of various steps, such as defining system boundaries, identifying applicable security requirements, and conducting assessments to evaluate compliance.

This approach includes the implementation of technical, administrative, and physical controls that work in harmony to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information stored, processed, or transmitted by these systems. Moreover, DIACAP not only contributes to the security posture of individual systems but also enhances overall organizational resilience by promoting a culture of continuous improvement and awareness.

By actively engaging stakeholders and encouraging collaboration, the process establishes a robust, unified defense against potential cyber threats and ensures that the nation’s critical information infrastructure remains protected, functional, and responsive to the evolving security landscape.

Examples of DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process

U.S. Army Reserve – In 2018, the U.S. Army Reserve performed an extensive security accreditation process for its enterprise IT system. This accreditation was conducted under the guidance of the DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP). This process ensures that the information and systems within the U.S. Army Reserve are secured and maintained at the highest possible level. Through the DIACAP, the U.S. Army Reserve successfully analzyed potential risks and vulnerabilities in its IT system and implemented necessary security measures to safeguard sensitive data and protect against cyber-attacks.

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) – The Defense Logistics Agency, responsible for managing the global supply chain for the U.S. military, used the DIACAP to certify and accredit its information systems. In 2014, DLA pursued the Risk Management Framework (RMF) prescribed by the DOD to replace DIACAP, but the examples of implementing DIACAP principles and guidelines still hold value. The DIACAP process ensured that the agency’s systems had adequate security controls in place to protect the sensitive data and information required for effective supply chain management, as well as ensuring compliance with various federal regulations and DOD policies.

Missile Defense Agency (MDA) – The MDA is tasked with developing, testing, and fielding missile defense systems to protect the United States and its allies. Given the highly sensitive nature of their systems and data, MDA employed the DIACAP to ensure their information systems are secure and compliant with DOD cybersecurity requirements. By implementing the cybersecurity principles and best practices established by DIACAP, MDA was able to enhance the security and integrity of its critical systems that serve as the backbone of national defense strategy against potential missile threats.

DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) FAQ

What is the DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP)?

The DOD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) is a formal and structured process designed to ensure that Department of Defense (DoD) information systems abide by information assurance (IA) policies, standards, and procedures. The primary goal is to ensure the proper protection of all DoD information system assets used for military missions and administrative functions.

Why is DIACAP important?

DIACAP is crucial because it ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of DoD information systems. This validation of system security safeguards helps mitigate potential risks, protects critical information, and ultimately leads to greater trust between DoD information owners, operators, and users.

What are the key steps in the DIACAP process?

The DIACAP process consists of five phases: (1) Initiation, (2) Implementation, (3) Validation, (4) Accreditation, and (5) Monitoring. In the Initiation phase, the system owner establishes the system’s baseline security posture. During the Implementation phase, the owner implements security controls. In the Validation phase, an independent validator assesses the system’s security. The Accreditation phase involves the Designated Accrediting Authority (DAA) granting or denying accreditation. Finally, the Monitoring phase involves continuous security monitoring and risk management.

Who is involved in the DIACAP process?

Key stakeholders in the DIACAP process include the system owner, the Designated Accrediting Authority (DAA), the Information Assurance Manager (IAM), the Information Assurance Officer (IAO), and the Validators. Additionally, system users, support staff, and integrators all have a role in ensuring the success of the DIACAP process.

How long does the DIACAP process usually take?

The length of the DIACAP process can vary depending on the complexity, size, and nature of the information system undergoing accreditation. It can range from a few months to over a year; however, with proper planning and coordination between stakeholders, it is possible to streamline the process and complete it in a more timely manner.

Related Technology Terms

  • Information Assurance (IA)
  • Risk Management Framework (RMF)
  • Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs)
  • Continuous Monitoring (ConMon)
  • Authorization to Operate (ATO)

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