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Maryland institute partners with Cyber Command on innovation center

This June 6, 2013 file photo shows the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The Maryland Innovation and Security Institute has agreed to partner with United States Cyber Command to work on new technologies and solutions to problems facing the government and the private sector.

A facility called DreamPort in Columbia will house the partnership and provide a home for collaboration, prototyping and events.

“I’ve tried to focus in on three main things that I want folks to be thinking through: innovation, collaboration and community,” said Karl Gumtow, director of the institute. “The key thing we’re going to do is build out this facility called the DreamPort.”

The partnership will develop fast. A website for DreamPort will launch next week, and 30 days later the institute will publish what requirements its customers are looking for.

As part of the partnership with Cyber Command, the institute will build out a network of cyber organizations and professionals and create an information portal, DreamFinder.

Karl Gumtow

Karl Gumtow

Unlike tech transfer, which utilizes connections with the private sector to allow the government and universities to commercialize their technology, the partnership will work the other way around, letting the private sector and higher education work with the government to find solutions to cyber problems.

“It’s almost tech transfer in reverse,” Gumtow said. “How do we get it into the government?”

The Maryland Innovation and Security Institute was created to build these type of partnerships, said Gumtow, who is co-founder and CEO of Cyberpoint International.

The DreamPort could bring in people and companies from around the country to work on cybersecurity issues, in part because the facility will be unclassified.

“One of the cool things will be we’re going to have this facility here, we’re going to have folks coming in and solving and working together on problems,” Gumtow said.

That does not mean it won’t be secure. There will be security measures in place that allow companies and others to protect their proprietary materials.

The facility will include collaboration spaces, lab space, co-working space and project rooms.

And while the facility should attract engineers and computer scientists, Gumtow wants it to attract other creative specialists, such as artists and designers.

“Who knows what we’re going to need,” he said. “You want to think very collaborative, very open.”

The project also aims to have community elements.

The DreamPort plans on having two annual STEM days, one in the fall and one in the spring, to engage students and encourage a new generation of cyber warriors. It will also look for summer interns.

But as much as Gumtow and the institute have things planned out, there are also a lot of moving parts and opportunities for the stakeholders to have input on what the partnership with Cyber Command will look like.

“Watch and give us ideas,” he said. “We don’t think we have all the answers to everything.”

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