Mission, Vision & Objectives

Two of the Nation's leading research entities – the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, – have joined with Cisco Systems, CNS, Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, the East Tennessee Economic Council and other private corporations to form the Cyber & Information Security Consortium, LLC (CISC).

CISC Mission

To enable our members to effectively operate and protect their enterprises
amid the reality of growing and persistent cyber-attacks.

CISC Vision

  • Position our state as a nationally recognized center of competency in cybersecurity, building on existing private and government investments.
  • Position our members as world-class subject matter experts and innovators in cybersecurity.
  • Produce a mature pipeline of talented cybersecurity professionals from a broad and coordinated workforce development strategy employing universities, community colleges, high schools, and private occupational schools.
  • Maintain a mature entrepreneurial ecosystem focused on cybersecurity, producing a consistent stream of new commercial products and companies through intellectual property produced by our research institutions.
  • Serve as a national model, partner, and mentor for other regions in our nation to enable collaboration between different centers of competency in the cybersecurity effort.

To seed the creation of this community, it is imperative that the effort has broad support from key industry partners who are interested in securing their products, services, and data. Service providers are an integral resource as well.

CISC Objectives

1. Peer Level Communication Network/Information Sharing - Build an environment of trust for consortium members to enable effective communication and quality peer-to-peer relationships.

  • Develop a secure web-based forum for CISC members to collaborate on technologies, share best practices, and gather resources.
  • Host two, full-day events per year focused on cybersecurity.
  • Design, develop, and facilitate an Executive Peer Forum for c-level security professionals.

2. Workforce Development/Education - Develop a pipeline of qualified and talented cybersecurity professionals to meet industry needs.

  • Establish and grow the graduate level cyber expertise in our research and education institutions.
  • Establish, customize, and grow the cybersecurity specific degree programs in our universities, community colleges, and high schools.
  • Facilitate a pipeline for adjunct instructors.
  • Identify/develop course material for educators that could be shared.
  • Recruit and/or establish private cybersecurity occupational training companies.
  • Identify state and federal sources of scholarship funding for education in cybersecurity. 
  • Develop partnership with TN Department of Homeland Security to provide hands-on training for security employees on the “front lines”.
  • Host cybersecurity seminars for practitioners.

3. Policy/Public Awareness - Create a program to educate lawmakers, business leaders, students, consumers, and policymakers.

  • Meet with state and federal representatives to educate them on the cyber challenge.
  • Develop educational and best practices brochures for distribution to consortium member constituents/customers.
  • Assist our member CIOs/CISOs in raising executive and board awareness of the realities and risks to their enterprises regarding likely and persistent cyber-attack.
  • Speak at various business forums on the cyber challenge and the consortium.
  • Partner with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to host brown bag lunch lecture series focusing on cybersecurity.

4. Research, Development, and Entrepreneurship- Support the R&D efforts of member companies and leverage that intellectual property into new products and companies.

  • Assist our research institutions in promoting state and federal support for cybersecurity specific investments.
  • Facilitate input from private sector member companies to inform the specific research conducted by member institutions.
  • Facilitate joint public/private sector grant applications among members.
  • Hold public and consortium member events designed to highlight available technologies, research, and commercialization opportunities.
  • Develop the elements of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable the transition of new capabilities to industry by growing new cybersecurity-focused companies.
  • Educate and recruit institutional, angel, and community development investors to provide cybersecurity companies the necessary access to capital and strategic relationships needed to grow new companies.


For more information and to view the Membership Levels click here to open the Join Us page.

Board Members

Joe Gipson
Senior Manager
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Shaun Gleason
Director, Computational Sciences & Engineering Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

John McNeely

President & CEO
Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc.

Will Overstreet
Director, Product Management
GRIDSMART Technologies

Leon Tolbert
Department Head Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/ Min H. Kao Professor
University of Tennessee



Dennis Corley, Director - EMAIL - Linked In