Skip to content

delegate builder null when injecting authentication manager in spring security

I am in the process of converting an existing and working Spring Security (version 3.2.10) XML-configuration to a Java-based configuration. The XML-configuration I am replacing has an authentication manager configured:

<authentication-manager alias="authenticationManager">  
    <authentication-provider ref="kerberosServiceAuthenticationProvider"/>
    <authentication-provider ref="samlAuthenticationProvider"/>
    <authentication-provider ref="pkiAuthenticationProvider"/>
    <authentication-provider ref="openIdConnectAuthenticationProvider"/>

My Java configuration equivalent is:

public class SecurityConfiguration extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter
    public void configure(AuthenticationManagerBuilder auth) throws Exception

As the authentication manager is referred to by its alias in constructing other beans, I have overridden the authenticationmanagerbean like this:

@Bean(name = "authenticationManager")
public AuthenticationManager authenticationManagerBean() throws  Exception
        return super.authenticationManagerBean();

As suggested e.g. in How To Inject AuthenticationManager using Java Configuration in a Custom Filter However, on creating of this bean, the following exception is thrown:

Caused by: java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: delegateBuilder cannot be null
at org.springframework.util.Assert.notNull(

The delegate builder is the authentication builder that is being used as first argument when overriding the bean (snippet is the implementation of super.authenticationManagerBean()), which is null.

public AuthenticationManager authenticationManagerBean() throws Exception {
        return new AuthenticationManagerDelegator(authenticationBuilder,   context);

So it seems something is missing when this bean is created. This delegate builder is only set by this method in the WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter:

public void setObjectPostProcessor(ObjectPostProcessor<Object> objectPostProcessor) 

But it doesn’t get called (and does not seem to be meant to override). I also noticed the configure method has not been called yet. I am obviously missing something but have no idea what it is.



If you are having problems with AuthenticationManagerBuilder giving you an error that states IllegalArgumentException: delegateBuilder cannot be null you likely have a circular bean dependency that is not able to be resolved. This is easy to do with AuthenticationManagerBuilder. Instead, I’d recommend exposing an AuthenticationManager as a Bean and do not use AuthenticationManagerBuilder at all.

For example:

public ProviderManager authenticationManager() {
    return new ProviderManager(Arrays.asList(

If you are still having issues, you can also try making the methods defining Spring Security’s authentication (i.e. AuthenticationManager and AuthenticationProvider, PasswordEncoder, etc) static which allows the definition to be loaded without initializing the entire class. If problems persist, I’d recommend moving all of your AuthenticationManager and AuthenticationProvider configuration to a separate configuration class.