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CEO Corner: Three Pronged Approach to CMMC


Data Intelligence is an "All Things Big Data" shop specializing in Data Engineering, Data Clouds, Data Science, Data Security, Data Visualizations, Data Analytics, and Data Search & Discovery with a forward leaning focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning supporting our Department of Defense customers.


Our work has taught us the importance of cybersecurity so we immediately signed on as both a CMMC-AB licensed trainer and publisher.


There is considerable discussion of the loss of intellectual property due to stolen Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). The new Chinese fighter jet sure looks a lot like our United States F-35. Ultimately, stolen CUI means the loss of American lives.


An unacceptable outcome.


The maturation model of CMMC motivated us to form our CyberDI division. As a nation we must move beyond minimal compliance and to observable evidence of growth. While everyone freaks out over the DFARS Interim rule (relax people only new or amended contracts after 2020-11-30 need to submit scores not everyone) we think long term with CMMC.


I think too many people have agile on the mind and now can only consider one move ahead. Here at Data Intelligence Technologies we have a rule, "Think three games ahead."


For us we see CMMC as a chance to strengthen American defenses while also helping to address long term recruitment issues our community faces. So to fill our role as a trusted partner of the CMMC-AB we have launched a three prong approach to CMMC.


  1. Establish Higher Education partnerships in top 20 Defense Awarded states

  2. Seek State support to increase CMMC penetration

  3. Create Stackable XP degrees with our Higher Education partners

Higher Education Partners


CyberDI wants CMMC to scale and we believe we can achieve mission most efficiently by teaming up with one university in the top 20 Department of Defense dollar winning states. Universities have the enrollment, classroom space, and marketing resources. CyberDI brings licensed curriculum, courses, and instructors.


We offer our CMMC courses as part of continuing education. COVID-19 has universities rethinking the traditional business model. The non credit bearing revenue our CMMC training may provide could save academic programs around the country.


Meanwhile CyberDI works with the university to integrate CMMC trainings into their cybersecurity programs. We envision our track of Certified Professional, Certified Assessor Level 1, and Certified Level 3 to fall between 130-150 learning hours total. This works out to a silly rule in Higher Education called the Carnegie hour which has three credit courses equaling about the same amount of time


States Should Support CMMC Roll-Out


Once CyberDI has 20 higher education partners in place we will turn to state legislators and statewide industry trade groups to help onboard Department of Defense contractors into the model.


The Department of Defense nor the CMMC-AB requires contractors to have a certified professional on staff. Here at CyberDI we recommend all contractors from machine shop to landscaper to have a minimum of two Certified Professionals on staff. If you want staff on the assessment team, such as the person preparing for the assessment then you need certified professionals.


More importantly maturation needs culture and culture feeds maturation. We need to protect the entire Defense Industrial Base. Getting everyone who touches FCI and CUI as certified professionals is first step. We believe we can not stop there. All senior management, including the manager of the landscaper or plumber serving bases needs to be a certified professional.


Some small businesses may not have the capacity to absorb this cost. Sure the cost of assessment can flow up to the DoD award but what about everyone else? We need as many certified professionals as possible. State leaders will need to step up to defend their defense economy.


Pathways for Veterans


At each partner university we set up a scholarship fund that first prioritizes children who lost a parent in CIA/DIA duty. If no one from the foundations we support applies for a Data Intelligence Technologies Fellowship we open applications to veterans.


Over time Data Intelligence Technologies, though our CyberDI program will have a network of 20-40 top tier candidates completing CMMC and advanced degrees. What I mean when I say, "Think three games ahead."


We also want to collaborate with our higher education partners so veterans can use military or intelligence cybersecurity work as cost free transferable credit. So much experience in cyber exists in our Armed Forces veterans but a lack of a degree can cut off opportunities.


In fact in our third phase (third because higher education moves slow and we will work through Shared Governance channels) we want to rethink the college pathway all together and create degrees through stackable credentials unchained from the Carnegie credit hour. We want our veterans service recognized as value. After all the CyberDefense battlefield is the best classroom.


CMMC and Recruitment


While we engage in Cybersecurity Maturation Model Certification trainings we also want to use our three pronged approach to solve larger problems across the CIA/DIA space.


Not enough SMEs exist. As companies fill a variety of needs for award sponsors we risk stealing from mission. Our three pronged approach long term will create a network across both Higher Education and veteran recruitment.


The need for more data science and network security experts will only grow, not shrink. CMMC fulfills our mission of protecting our great nation today but we also see it as an integral part of our strategy for protecting tomorrow.


"All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the U.S. Government. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or endorsement of the author's views."


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