NIST to sponsor cybersecurity FFRDC

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week announced that it plans to sponsor its first Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to help support the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). Established by NIST in partnership with the state of Maryland and Montgomery County last year, the NCCoE is public-private collaboration dedicated to fostering innovation in cybersecurity.

According to a statement, creating a FFRDC will enable a non-profit organization to support the NCCoE. This week’s announcement is the first of three that are required to establish the FFDRC and will be followed by a solicitation for proposals to manage it later this fall.

NIST said that this will be the first FFRDC solely dedicated to enhancing the security of the nation’s information systems.

“The FFRDC model is the most effective way the center can work with private companies to accelerate industry’s adoption of integrated tools and technologies to protect IT assets,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “NIST has a long history of successful collaboration with industry, and this approach leverages our top cybersecurity experts while allowing the center to be as nimble as possible.”

Last week, the NCCoE announced formal partnerships with 11 private companies including; Cisco, HP, HyTrust, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft Federal Civilian Services, RSA, Splunk Inc., Symantec, Vanguard Integrity Professionals, and Venafi.

“Reorganizing with an FFRDC will help the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence achieve its mission to protect America's ideas and innovations from cyber terrorists, spies and thieves," Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said. "The NCCoE unites the knowledge of the government with the know-how of the private sector to improve our nation's cybersecurity and create jobs. I am so proud to put money in the federal checkbook so this center will ensure Maryland continues to lead the way in cyber technology and cyber jobs.”

Comments on the proposed FFRDC are due by 5 p.m. ET on July 22.