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Politico pegs Maryland as cyber leader

Politico reported Friday that state politicians across the nation are battling to own cybersecurity. And Maryland made it to the top of the narrative.

ODENTON, Md. — For one of the state’s biggest cybersecurity battles, Maryland officials last May drove 35 minutes past the home of the Pentagon’s cyber army, beyond a corridor of tech giants that specialize in combating hackers and spies — and right to the host site of a horse race.

Gov. Martin O’Malley camped out there at the famed Pimlico track, the home of the annual Preakness Stakes, flanked by executives of some the country’s top cybersecurity firms. And he personally fought to convince those companies to reap local tax breaks and relocate to Maryland — a pitch that put the governor in the camp of state leaders and federal lawmakers who increasingly have fought for the jobs and economic growth tied to the warriors of the future.

As digital threats grow more dire, it’s been a boom time for cybersecurity business — and spending. That’s only triggered something akin to an arms race among cash-hungry regulators. Beyond Maryland, members of Congress around the country also have sought to drive federal cyber dollars back to their home turfs, according to federal records.

The proof has been in the pudding, or rather, the paper, in recent months, such as a promising cyber startup relocating to Maryland and another getting tapped to join the big leagues for cyber strategy development. And the role of CyberMaryland probably doesn’t hurt.

And on the development side of things, the presence of the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command have resulted in a building boom throughout west Anne Arundel County.

Toward the end of Politico’s story, one source even calls Maryland “the Silicon Valley of the East.”