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Defense contractor Northrop Grumman addressed the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., this week to announce a new private sector-academic cybersecurity consortium that it hopes will accelerate research to address growing threats to government and private-sector infrastructure. The results could put the system integrator at an even bigger advantage within the government security market .

"As one of the largest contractors supporting the intelligence community,  Northrop Grumman plays a significant role as a partner of the federal government in developing the tools, techniques and systems used to counter the cyber threat facing military intelligence communities," says Robert Hastings, senior vice president of communications for Northrop Grumman. "While we have within our company arguably some of the best minds in the business working on sophisticated research, we look for a way to exponentially grow the research in this critical arena."

Northrop Grumman tapped resources from three of the leading university-based cybersecurity research labs to form the new Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium (NGCRC). On the list are Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), and Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS).

All will be engaged by the system integrator in a five-year collaboration across 10 projects that will look into the root issues behind cybersecurity issues such as attribution in cyberspace, supply chain risk, and securing critical infrastructure networks. In addition to facilitating collaboration, NGCRC will also support a number of graduate student fellowships for rising stars in cybersecurity research.

According to Robert Brammer, chief technology officer, Northrop Grumman for Information Systems, the blend of Northrop Grumman resources and academic insight will produce intellectual property and guidance that the company plans to utilize within its government and private-sector practices.  However, the program will also benefit the defense and cybersecurity community as a whole–part of the goal of NGCRC and its participants is to develop curricula, author joint case studies and other publications and up the number of learning opportunities and applications for students and the overall defense community.

"We have been working in the cybersecurity domain for more than 20 years, and I have never seen the threats so intense," Brammer says. "This consortium will serve to organize some important U.S. organizations to help increase our nation’s security in cyberspace."