The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) has been awarded $515,636 in federal funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to assist in-state businesses. Part of OEA’s Defense Industry Adjustment grant program, the funding is designed to help Maryland defense contractors comply with recently-enacted DoD enhanced security regulations.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, all DoD contractors that handle Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) must meet certain minimum cybersecurity standards or risk losing their DoD contracts. The program will provide support to small and mid-sized prime contractors requiring assistance in meeting the standards.

“Military installations in Maryland contract with companies across our state to provide goods and services and generate an economic impact of more than $57 billion on our economy,” said Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “This program will not only help companies protect their data and remain in compliance with DoD regulations, but also retain the defense contracts that help companies grow and military commands achieve their mission.”

The Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership MD MEP will educate defense companies on the new cybersecurity standards (NIST 800-171) and provide funding to assess qualified companies for compliance with the new regulations; it will also offer technical assistance to ensure compliance with the NIST standard. From September 2018 until September 2019, MD MEP will provide cybersecurity compliance assessments to at least 40 Maryland defense contractors, and technical assistance and mitigation support for at least 30 defense contractors in the state.