National security: A propositional study to develop resilience indicators as an aid to personnel vetting

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Information Science




Brooks, D., Corkill, J., Pooley, J., Cohen, L., Ferguson, C., & Harms, C. (2010). National security: A propositional study to develop resilience indicators as an aid to personnel vetting. In the Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 30th November 2010 (pp.35-43). Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University School of Computer and Information Science. Available here


Within the National Security domain there is a convergence of security responsibility across the national security agencies, law enforcement and private security sectors. The sensitivity of this environment requires individuals operating in the domain to be honest, trustworthy and loyal. Personnel vetting is a formal process used to determine an individual’s suitability for access to this domain. Notwithstanding this process, significant breaches of trust, security, and corruption still occur.

In psychology, resilience is a well researched phenomenon that is considered a multidimensional construct where individual attributes, family aspects and social environment interact in aiding individuals to deal with vulnerability. There are many understandings and definitions of resilience based on theorists’ different perspectives; however, most agree that resilience is represented by a minimum of two aspects. The first is adversity and second, how the individual deals with adversity that demonstrates situational adaptation in a positive manner.

The study is a work in progress and proposes the use of a recently developed Lifespan Resilience Scale. This scale will use resilience markers as an aid to National Security by providing vetting agencies with an additional tool for proactive intervention. The Lifespan Resilience Scale is currently undergoing reliability and validity testing within a student population. Once validated within this population, the scale will be adjusted and tested within the vetting environment using cross validated cohorts and expert opinion. Such a tool will assist National Security through better personnel risk management.



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