CMMC Accreditation Body sees more board members depart

(DOD / Lisa Ferdinando)

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The third-party accreditation body working to implement the Department of Defense‘s new contractor cybersecurity standards announced the forthcoming loss of two key board members recently, the organization announced Tuesday.

The departures of Ben Tchoubineh and Nicole Dean came as a normal part of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body’s development, leaders of the board said. Both were founding board members, volunteering since the CMMC-AB was incorporated in January 2020 to oversee the accreditation, education and certification process for assessors enforcing DOD’s new CMMC standards.

No new members have been announced to replace the departing members, but both will remain on board to train their replacements.

“Their efforts leave us well-positioned to move forward with a world-class training program,”  Karlton Johnson, CMMC-AB board chair, said in a statement about the two departures.

Tchoubineh, the president of several cyber-training companies, led efforts to stand up training oversight for the Accreditation Body. His departure comes as those training policies are being revamped after an initial round of feedback from industry, including making training compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I’m exceedingly proud of the work that the CMMC-AB Board has accomplished to stand up a world-class Accreditation and Certification body in just 15 months and with few resources,” Tchoubineh said in a statement. “I’m humbled and grateful to have worked with so many incredibly selfless and accomplished patriotic volunteers who stepped up to do what’s needed to secure our nation.”

Tchoubineh’s companies could become eligible for contracts and partnerships with the AB to deliver training services once he fully transitions off the AB. While a board member, he has been forbidden by the AB’s code of ethics from any self-dealing. But once gone, those restrictions are lifted on his businesses pursuing work in the CMMC ecosystem.

“As Board members transition, they will be expected to adhere to the Conflict of Interest documents they signed and conduct themselves accordingly. The board remains diligent towards employing strong ethics in all of the organization’s actions and activities,” the AB said in a statement to FedScoop regarding conflicts of interest.

Dean, who is chief information security officer of Accenture Federal Services, has been one of the few women to serve on the AB. In the first months of the AB’s development in 2020, she often led webinars and public communications about the AB’s progress.

“During my time on the CMMC-AB Board, we’ve accomplished many things, and I look forward to building on our successes as a member of the CMMC-AB’s Industry Advisory Council,” Dean said in a statement. “The relationships we’ve forged with the DoD over the last year will ensure the CMMC-AB is able to deliver critical cybersecurity standards for the defense industrial base.”

The board is in the process of trying to recruit full-time professional staff to transition from its current focus on minute details to becoming more of a strategic adviser, a goal it has been trying to achieve for months. 

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CMMC Accreditation Body, Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), Department of Defense (DOD)
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