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CybersecurityFederally funded cybersecurity center launched

Published 9 October 2014

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence(NCCoE) initiative has awarded the first federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) contract for cybersecurity to MITRE Corp., a nonprofit established to operate FFRDCs. Cybersecurity professionals will work with stakeholders in government, the private sector, and academia to develop low cost and scalable cybersecurity solutions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) initiative has awarded the first federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) contract for cybersecurity to MITRE Corp., a nonprofit established to operate FFRDCs. The center, based in Rockville, Maryland, where the NCCoE is headquartered, will be operated with collaboration from professionals at theUniversity System of Maryland’s (USM) College Park (UMCP) and Baltimore County (UMBC) campuses. Cybersecurity professionals will work with stakeholders in government, the private sector, and academia to develop low cost and scalable cybersecurity solutions, said UMCP Assistant Vice-President for Research and Development Eric Chapman. “Cybersecurity as an industry is still relatively youthful and nascent — there aren’t any common practices. Without neutral third party leadership we couldn’t set up those best practices,” Chapman added.

According to Defense News, the center hopes to develop the first set of best practices for cybersecurity applications within sixteen to eighteen months. “We’re looking to help the private sector solve problems,” MITRE Senior Vice-President and Chief Security Officer Gary Gagnon said. “This is industry-directed solutions to industry problems, with the government acting as a catalyst.”

The NCCoE was launched in 2012 by NIST — a Commerce Department agency — the state of Maryland, and Montgomery County to help the private sector secure data and digital infrastructure by bringing together cybersecurity experts from industry, government, and academia. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said the funding “will enable the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to expand and accelerate its public-private collaborations through the Department’s first Federally Funded Research and Development Center focused on boosting the security of U.S. information systems.”

McLean, Virginia-based MITRE will be provided a maximum of $5 billion over twenty-five years, including $29 million towards three initial projects to set up the center, where a total of forty cybersecurity professionals are expected to work. “This alliance will present phenomenal opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to engage and work with our partners at MITRE, the incredible personnel at NIST and our nation’s business community,” USM Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan said in a statement.