The long wait for those who want to be certified assessors for the Department of Defense‘s new contractor cybersecurity standards might be over this summer, according to the CEO of the organization overseeing training.
In a public letter and attached FAQ signed by Matt Travis, which was issued on Wednesday, training for assessors will begin in “mid-to-late summer 2021.”
Travis is the new CEO of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB), which is the organization responsible for implementing new CMMC standards. Assessors are a critical part of the procurement ecosystem, and for implementing sweeping new cyber standards for all of DOD’s 300,000 contractors.
“I know many of you are eager to learn of when the CMMC ecosystem will kick into full operational gear. I will say this―we are getting close,” Travis said. “We are on the cusp of reaching some exciting milestones in the coming weeks.”
It’s been a long-promised start for a scheme that the AB has previously delayed. In April 2020 the then-board chair, Ty Schieber, said the AB was in the “final stages” of putting the training together. The AB has a group of randomly selected “provisional assessors” that will give feedback on the process, but no fully accredited assessors will be appointed until all testing and accrediting is complete.
Without trained and certified assessors, there will be no one to inspect the networks of contractors that will need third-party approval that they are meeting one of the cybersecurity levels in the five-tear CMMC model. By fiscal year 2026, all contracts will have CMMC requirements that will mandate contractors get an assessment to continue working with DOD, with minimal exceptions.
It is one of the many parts of the ecosystem that must move forward if a timeline dictated by DOD is to be kept. It’s separate from the training and certification of Certified Third Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAOs) which has also faced some delays. Certified assessors are individuals that will be hired with C3PAOs to assess DOD contractors.
The AB, which oversee the ecosystem and implementation of the CMMC program, also recently hired a new member of its professional staff to oversee training. Melanie Kyle Gingrich will be vice president for training and development and oversee the AB’s initial training course, as well as organizations licensed by the AB to conduct the future training of assessors.