Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Patrick Gallagher. I'm the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. And I'd like to welcome you to this celebration of the partnership-signing ceremony for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.
It is a real pleasure to see all of you here today to celebrate a watershed moment for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. You have heard a lot of national discussion about the critical role of protecting our nation's assets in cyberspace. And this center is poised to play a particular role—a very important role. And the reason for that is that addressing cybersecurity takes partnerships, and that's because cybersecurity itself doesn't fit neatly into any one box.
This is certainly true at the federal level. Cybersecurity requires different agencies to work effectively together within the context of their missions. It requires collaboration and cooperation between Congress and the administration. And in fact, at the broader level, it requires effective partnerships between federal, state, and local governments.
It is also especially true that cybersecurity requires an effective partnership with the private sector. This is true both public-to-private, but also business-to-business and business-to-consumer.
The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence is all about creating an environment that supports effective and productive partnerships to tackle some of the country's most pressing cybersecurity challenges. And today, you're going to meet some of the many partners that are making this happen.
Shortly, I'll be introducing Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is here with us. She was the driving force behind the center's creation and helped ensure that NIST received the funding it needed to implement it. You will also hear from General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, who knows better than anyone in the country how important the center's work can be to protecting the nation's economic and national security interest. And of course, we're thrilled to have our state and local partners here, represented by the soon-to-arrive Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and our outstanding County Executive, Ike Leggett.
As important as all these VIPs are today, the truth of the matter is, we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for you, our partners. And today, our guests of honor are the 11 private- sector companies who have agreed to become official partners in this center and to officially pledge their support for the center by signing partnership agreements. This list of partners reads like a who's who in private-sector cybersecurity—from Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, HyTrust, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, RSA, Splunk, Symantec, Vanguard, and Venafi. Each of these companies has agreed to become formal partners and to provide hardware, software, expertise, talent, and other in-kind support. And by being with us here today, they are publicly committing their companies to joining this national team effort to create next-generation cybersecurity solutions. We hope they are but the beginning of many more private-sector partners who will pledge their time and energy, and most importantly of all, their ideas, to ensure that the full economic potential of cyberspace is realized by making it safe and trustable by all of us.
So today, we will be signing ceremonial certificates with each of these visionary companies. This is one of the toughest challenges facing the nation today, just given the nature of cybersecurity as an infrastructure. And we look forward to working closely with these partners to make this happen.
What I'd like to do now is introduce our guests. First of all, the senior senator from Maryland, Senator Barbara Mikulski. It is not an exaggeration to say that we simply would not be here today—at all—having this discussion, if it wasn't for the leadership of Senator Mikulski.
In the past, cybersecurity has often been kind of a tough sell in Washington. It's not particularly glamorous, it was complicated, it's awash in difficult-to-follow jargon, the concepts are hard for the person to understand. But Senator Mikulski has understood all along, and she'd long recognized the critical importance of addressing this effectively—not just to her constituency and to the state of Maryland, but to every citizen in this country. She has been a strong and relentless advocate for cybersecurity long before it was cool, working to get these issues the attention and the funding they need to be effectively addressed. As the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee of the United States Senate, Senator Mikulski is a vocal and powerful spokesperson for cybersecurity within the U.S. Congress. She's been a champion of this cause. She's been a champion of NIST. And more than any other person I can think of, it was her vision to ensure that NIST could be positioned as a partner with industry that made this happen. This center is very much her work.
I also want to—before I give her the stage—congratulate her. As a side note, just one year ago, she entered the history books, becoming the longest-serving woman in the history of the United States Congress. And we couldn't be more delighted that she's on our team, working with us on cybersecurity. Senator Mikulski....