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NIST Establishes National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

From NIST Tech Beat: February 21, 2012

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

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State of Maryland and Montgomery County Join Partnership

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced a new partnership to establish the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, a public-private collaboration for accelerating the widespread adoption of integrated cybersecurity tools and technologies. The State of Maryland and Montgomery County, Md., are co-sponsoring the center with NIST, which will work to strengthen U.S. economic growth by supporting automated and trustworthy e-government and e-commerce.

U.S. Senator for Maryland Barbara Mikulski, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett were at NIST today to announce the partnership with Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.

“We’re standing up for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to protect America’s ideas and innovations from cyber terrorists, spies and thieves,” Senator Mikulski said. “This center will unite the knowledge of the government with the know-how of the private sector to improve our nation’s cybersecurity and create jobs. I was so proud to put money in the federal checkbook so this new center will ensure Maryland continues to lead the way in cyber technology and cyber jobs.”

MOU signing
The State of Maryland and Montgomery County, Md., partner with NIST in the New National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. At the Memorandum of Understanding Signing Feb. 21, from left to right, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, U.S. Senator for Maryland Barbara Mikulski and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.
Credit: NIST
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“Maryland has made great strides in preparing a workforce that’s ready for cyber and IT jobs,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, who leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s economic development portfolio. “With our focus on K-12 STEM education, cyber-security specialties in higher education, and the presence of U.S. Cyber Command at Ft. Meade, Maryland is uniquely poised to contribute to the rapidly growing cybersecurity industry. The addition of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence will help build on our progress by enhancing coordination between the federal, state and local governments, as well as our partners in the private sector.”

NIST’s fiscal year 2012 appropriations provided $10 million to establish the public-private partnership to operate the center. It will provide a state-of-the-art computing facility near NIST’s Gaithersburg, Md., campus, where researchers from NIST will work collaboratively with both the users and vendors of cybersecurity products and services. The center will host multi-institutional, collaborative efforts that build on expertise from industry and government.

The center will undertake carefully developed use cases—comprehensive requirements and test plans to address specific cybersecurity challenges—that will lead to practical, interoperable cybersecurity approaches for real world needs of complex IT systems. Examples of potential use cases would be interoperable cybersecurity templates to address challenges in health IT, cloud and mobile computing, cryptography, or continuous monitoring of IT systems.

The development and refinement of use cases would be open to all interested parties, including IT vendors and the public. Results from center projects will be shared with the broad IT user and vendor communities.

By accelerating the adoption of state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools, the center will:

  • enhance trust in U.S. IT communications, data and storage systems;
  • lower risk for companies and individuals in the use of IT systems; and
  • encourage development of innovative, job-creating cybersecurity products and services.


The improved trust resulting from the center’s efforts will support the development and adoption of innovative business methods to improve operational efficiency, reap significant financial benefits for public and private-sector institutions, promote entrepreneurship and create new employment and career opportunities.

“Cyber crime hurts individuals, businesses and government agencies. We want to bring together the best minds and provide them with the best tools to create and test solutions that will make online transactions of all kinds safer,” said Gallagher. “We’re pleased to have the support of our Maryland partners, and look forward to working with additional partners from industry, academia, nonprofit and government sectors.”

Organizations interested in working with NIST, the State of Maryland, and Montgomery County at the new center should send an email to nccoe@nist.gov. For more information on the center, see our fact sheet at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/upload/nccoe.pdf.

As a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.