Funded collaboratively by Virginia and industry, Semper Secure ‒ Always Secure ‒ will focus on the key development issues in cyber security – ensuring workforce preparedness and availability, advancing educational programs and knowledge base, fostering entrepreneurship, and encouraging global engagement. The partnership will spearhead a host of initiatives – research, digital engagement, and conferences – targeted at laying an initiative to expand Virginia's cyber security expertise and industry.
Virginia has long been a leader at the intersection of security, technology, and innovation. The Commonwealth is home to numerous federally funded research and development centers and Department of Defense research centers, and key leap-ahead technology agencies, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Virginia also maintains the highest concentration of technology professionals in the United States, and is ranked 4th nationally in total high-tech employment.
"Cyber security is the looming justice and national security concern of the coming decade," McDonnell said. "We have a leading-edge technology community, a cleared workforce experienced in national security and law enforcement, and an educational system strong in math and science. Semper Secure – Virginia is uniquely positioned to lead on the cyber frontier."
Semper Secure will feature an independent board of directors – including cyber security leaders from government and industry – to steer the partnership, define the specific activities, and report back to the Governor annually. The Secretary of Technology will serve as chairman of the board. MeriTalk, a Virginia-based government IT research analyst, publisher, and event producer, will manage the program through its IT security community, the MeriTalk Cyber Security Exchange.
As a public-private partnership, Semper Secure will leverage funding from both the Commonwealth and private-sector organizations participating in the whole initiative or in specific events. This cost-sharing approach focuses the initiative on delivering tangible, sustainable returns and ensures the most-efficient use of taxpayer dollars. MeriTalk is working with industry to identify additional Semper Secure private-sector partners.
Northrop Grumman Corporation, a Virginia-based global security company, with deep expertise in cyber security, has already committed resources and key personnel to the initiative.
"Northrop Grumman is proud to support the Semper Secure initiative," said Mike Papay, vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, Northrop Grumman Corporation. "We understand the critical need to develop our cyber workforce and innovate to accelerate much-needed cyber solutions to our customers. As a major employer in Virginia, we look forward to partnering with the Commonwealth to build its cyber security expertise and spark new business initiatives."
Another early supporter of the Semper Secure initiative is NetApp, a Silicon Valley company, with U.S. Public Sector headquarters in Virginia. According to Mark Weber, president of NetApp U.S. Public Sector, "We are proud of the innovation we can bring to help keep our government, education, and healthcare customers secure as their data scales and becomes more and more challenging to manage. We look forward to adding to the cyber security expertise and innovation here in Virginia."
For more information on Virginia's cyber security assets and community, or to learn about the Virginia Center of Cyber Excellence, please visit: http://www.nationalcybersecuritycenterva.org/about.html.
The voice of tomorrow's government today, MeriTalk is an IT research analyst, online community, and go-to resource for government IT. Focusing on government's hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Data Center Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Cloud Computing Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with 85,000 individuals in the government community. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk.