Case Study: Benchmark Testing at the U.S. Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command

Background

The Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) is responsible for protecting the Navy’s networks and data from cyberattacks. NCDOC enables global power projection through proactive network defense of Navy networks and systems. The Command reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. 

Scenario

NCDOC trains and assesses approximately 200 participants annually. Training includes sending participants to off-site certification programs as well as in-house boot camps. The Cybersecurity Workforce Program training team creates assessments to measure participants’ knowledge, skills and abilities at three points in time: 1) when personnel arrive for command; 2) when they’re halfway through their tour of duty; and 3) when they exit command. These benchmarks are used to assess future training initiatives.


NCDOC is focused on fulfilling their mission to protect their networks and data from cyber-attacks, so assessments are key to ensuring that solid learning took place during training. Did participants understand what was taught, and can they implement what they have learned? Individual questions (items) are analyzed frequently to determine trends and are updated accordingly. Course surveys are also used for end-of-course feedback to make sure each participant was engaged and enjoyed the learning experience.

Solution

NCDOC uses Questionmark OnDemand cloud-based assessment technology for pre-scores, exams, post-scores and benchmark exams. They deliver assessments to NCDOC military and civilian personnel. The Cybersecurity Workforce Program Training Team creates these assessments using OnDemand item authoring, reporting and analytics. Subject Matter Experts all have permission-based access to create and edit test questions. Some question types include multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and essay format. Assessments are conducted on-site within the training department.

Moving to the Cloud

Having previously used Questionmark Perception in-house, NCDOC has switched to Questionmark OnDemand within the last two years, freeing NCDOC staff to focus on learning and performance while software experts from Questionmark manage all the technology. This means there is no longer a need for a system administrator to manage the server. NCDOC never needs to perform system maintenance — and system uptime is nearly 100 percent.