Northern Virginia may soon have competition in the East Coast IT market. Marjorie Censer of The Washington Post reports that Maryland officials and business advocates are looking to capitalize on the multiple contractors who have recently set up shop in Fort Meade.
With the U.S. Cyber Command joining the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade last year, industry insiders say Maryland has the potential to see exponential industry growth, with state officials bringing the cyber state agenda outlined by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2010 report, CyberMaryland, to reality.
“We really want to pitch our state as a very robust environment for this industry,” Ursula Powidzki, a program director in Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, told Censer. “We’d like to be the Silicon Valley of cyber on the East Coast, so I think the focus is really, how do we make sure that the Maryland cyber industry is as entrepreneurial as possible, is as welcoming an environment as possible.”
While Northern Virginia has historically been home to IT’s biggest players, many contractors have expanded to the Maryland market. Science Applications International Corp., a tech services and solutions provider based in McLean, Va., recently built a cyber center near Fort Meade, while Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop Grumman developed a cybersecurity incubator program in conjunction with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, whose campus is 10 miles from Fort Meade. With a state making an active effort to newer companies as well as commercial companies looking to expand into federal work, officials hope to capitalize on the opportunity available.
“If we screw this up, we’ve got a problem,” said Larry Letow, chairman of the Tech Council of Maryland’s board of directors and a founder of Maryland Cyber Investment Partners, which funds cybersecurity businesses. “We have everything that we need to take advantage of this.”