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Governor McDonnell Announces Semper Secure - Virginia Cyber Security Leadership Initiative

Press Release

Location: Richmond, VA

Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the launch of Semper Secure, a public-private partnership designed to extend the Commonwealth of Virginia's and the Greater Washington, D.C., metro region's leadership in cyber security. 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 activities including research, digital engagement, and conferences targeted at building an initiative to expand Virginia's cyber security expertise and industry.

Speaking about the announcement, Governor Bob McDonnell remarked, "Cyber security is the looming justice and national security concern of the coming decade. Virginia is uniquely positioned to shape the emerging cyber frontier with a leading-edge technology community, a workforce experienced in national security and law enforcement, and an educational system strong in math and science. We must ensure that Virginia remains a leader on issues of security, technology, and innovation."

Virginia maintains the highest concentration of technology professionals in the United States, and is ranked fourth nationally in total high-tech employment. The Commonwealth is also 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).

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 Virginia 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. "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. Mark Weber, president of NetApp U.S. Public Sector, said, "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:

About MeriTalk

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 or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk.

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