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National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence: A Promising Fortress

It is one thing to recognize cyber threats and their potential to disrupt entire companies, agencies and institutions. It is another thing to do something about it. In light of recent threats we cannot sit still and wait for the next one.

On February 18, I was honored to join Governor O’Malley, Senator Mikulski, NIST director Pat Gallagher, and Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett in the partnership agreement signing ceremony to expand the National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence in Montgomery County.  Federal and Maryland officials signed the agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg to develop new cybersecurity technology and educational opportunities.

This partnership pools public- and private-sector resources to protect America’s ideas and innovations. Now more than ever, these public-private partnerships are imperative in recognizing and thwarting common enemies who can wreak havoc by compromising sensitive information. The facility will be the epicenter of cybersecurity education, strategy and technology, and will evolve into a hub for cyber solutions derived from government- and private-sector tools.

While focusing on research and technology solutions, the center will also offer educational programs for students who wish to pursue cybersecurity training. Education is the foundation in addressing any new challenge. And therefore, we must empower the next generation with that knowledge. With existing academic centers, including Johns Hopkins University and Maryland’s public university system, the center will contribute by offering resources and new technological tools for cybersecurity education.

The National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence in Maryland is another example of how we have bolstered our commitment to combating cyber threats. After attending the statehouse ceremony for the center on February 18th, I am even more encouraged that we will succeed in further protecting our critical networks and infrastructure from cyber criminals and threats.

Staying ahead of the game by anticipating vulnerabilities, strengthening IT infrastructure and educating future generations of cybersecurity professionals, are key steps. This center will allow the top thinkers, practitioners, IT professionals and educators to collaborate and develop strategies to keep our sensitive information protected. Our battlefields have transcended physical limits and entered the realm of cyberspace; now, we must look to these centers as our fortresses.

How do you see public-private partnerships benefitting your state or agency?

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