Press Release

July 25, 2011

Laurel, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, today chaired a field hearing on the role of Maryland’s small businesses in strengthening cybersecurity efforts in the United States.  U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) also participated in the field hearing, which was held in close proximity to Fort Meade, the headquarters for both the National Security Agency and the new U.S. Cyber Command.  The Committee heard testimony from government, business, and academic witnesses, including the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development. 

“Small businesses are the driving force behind job creation in America and cybersecurity is driving small business development in Maryland.  Our state has benefitted enormously from the hundreds of thousands of new jobs and scientific, medical and technological innovations that this rapidly growing field has brought us,” said Senator Cardin.  “As the cybersecurity sector continues to expand, I will do all that I can to ensure that Maryland small businesses reap the economic benefits as part of Governor O’Malley’s ‘CyberMaryland’ plan.  And as new federal dollars flow into cybersecurity businesses, I will work to ensure that qualified small businesses are given fair access to contracts and subcontracts.”

“Maryland is the epicenter of global cyber security,” said Senator Mikulski, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Cyber Security Task Force. “We have impressive federal, educational, and private sector assets.  Small businesses are uniquely situated to leverage these outstanding assets. I will fight to ensure that small businesses have every opportunity to compete and secure contracts that will create a stronger economy and safer country.”

As former chair of the Senate Judiciary Homeland Security and Terrorism Subcommittee, Senator Cardin has a strong record of promoting cybersecurity initiatives balanced with appropriate civil liberties protections. Today’s field hearing follows the May announcement by President Obama encouraging legislation to allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish cybersecurity standards to help keep sensitive information secure.  Senator Cardin has introduced legislation (S. 372) that would require the government to work with the private sector to develop potential minimum cybersecurity standards and review best practices.  At today’s hearing, both Senators Cardin and Mikulski expressed enthusiasm for working with the Administration to ensure that the federal government consults small businesses when establishing best practices and standards for cybersecurity.

“Since the vast majority of cyberspace is controlled by the private sector, Uncle Sam could learn a great deal from small businesses by collaborating with them to establish best practices and standards for cybersecurity,” said Cardin.      

“Maryland is home to a vibrant and growing private sector that is developing cyber tools and technology that will keep us ahead of our adversaries,” Senator Mikulski said.  “We must ensure that small businesses have the ability to take their ideas from prototype to deployment in an efficient and effective manner.   Not only will this help create jobs, it will keep our country safe.”

More than 50 key security and intelligence federal facilities and 12 major military installations are or will soon be located in the state of Maryland, and combined, these facilities and installations will employ nearly 200,000 well-educated, highly-skilled government employees and contractors in cutting-edge research and development.