If all the hackers out there are a massive team of super-villains, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley wants his state to be the Fortress of Solitude.
The governor joined lawmakers on Monday to announce an initiative to put Maryland at the forefront of the cyber security industry, focusing on protecting national and global computer systems from technologically-savvy criminals.
Another goal is to save the state from another big, bad villain that's caused world-wide grief: the recession.
"We're in a better position than most other states in the union to actually get our state economy back on track and lead the rest of the nation into an era of new prosperity," said O'Malley of the potential to create a wealth of new job opportunities in the cyber security field.
Federal facilities already contribute $16 billion to the state economy, according to O'Malley's administration. With our increasing dependence on computer networks for nearly everything, creating a so-called "National Center for Excellence in Cyber Security" could also prove to be very lucrative.
Monday's meeting was at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, one of dozens of federal agencies in Maryland that O'Malley said puts the state in a prime position to become a global cyber security hub. A report by Maryland's Dept. of Business and Economic Development was also presented, calling on the state to provide the proper education and training for people to take on jobs in the industry.
"These are strategies that will add up to more and better jobs while also addressing a critical security need for our nation," O'Malley said.
The governor announced a 16-member team that will study how to connect Maryland companies with federal cyber security opportunities.