O'Malley: State to be cybersecurity leader
Initiative could add up to 28,000 jobs in IT and homeland security
As Internet crime evolves beyond computer viruses and identity theft, Maryland is working to become the national and even global leader in cybersecurity with the hopes of adding thousands of jobs to the state while protecting the nation against threats, said business and political leaders at a conference Monday in Gaithersburg.
The commercial market for cybersecurity products is estimated to surpass the government market as financial services companies, online retailers and others seek protection products, according to a 32-page report by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development released Monday.
Maryland, with its highly skilled work force and large number of federal agencies and research institutions that are developing such technologies, is best poised to become the nation's, if not the world's, "epicenter" of cybersecurity, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said during the conference at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Worldwide information technology spending was estimated at $796 billion last year, with cybersecurity accounting for as much as 20 percent of the average IT budget in most industries, according to the state report.
"This leadership means jobs" in IT, homeland security and other areas, O'Malley told business and political leaders, NIST employees and others. O'Malley later told reporters that the cybersecurity program could add from 24,000 to 28,000 direct and indirect jobs in Maryland.
The state's efforts are also fueled by a "patriotic duty" to take the lead in this area to keep the nation safe, said Christian S. Johansson, DBED secretary.
Numerous jobs in the sector have already been created in the Fort Meade area, home of the National Security Agency and where the Defense Information Systems Agency, which provides IT and communications support to the military, is moving from Northern Virginia by late 2011. Businesses have been started recently by people who have left federal agencies and research institutes to commercialize and market cybersecurity products, said Rosemary Budd, president of the Fort Meade Alliance and a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton in Annapolis Junction.
"The Defense Information Systems Agency is preparing to hire employees in Maryland, and private companies are recruiting staff," Budd said.
Finding enough qualified workers to meet future needs remains a challenge, but the business community is getting more involved in helping plan curriculum, recruit talented science, math and technology teachers, and encourage students to pursue those fields, she said. Booz Allen is one of the largest military IT companies in Maryland, according to state figures.
Strengthening ties among private, public and university institutions involved in the field is among the recommendations of the state report released Monday. More such collaboration is needed, said John Osterholz, vice president of cybersecurity business and cyberwarfare at military contractor BAE Systems, whose national headquarters are in Rockville.
The report also calls for the creation of a National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Maryland, with a business incubator and training center aligning state priorities with federal ones and boosting efforts to commercialize cybersecurity technology.
In developing the report, DBED employees interviewed 50 Maryland cybersecurity stakeholders.
On Monday, O'Malley also appointed members to a 16-member Federal Facilities Advisory Board to work on issues such as strengthening ties between businesses and federal agencies. Members include executives with Lockheed Martin Northrop Grumman and SAIC-Frederick.