Gov. Martin O'Malley tapped a private-sector cyber security veteran to lead a push to promote that industry's job growth in the state, he announced in a visit to Hanover company KEYW Corp. Tuesday.

Jeani Park will serve as Maryland's director of cyber development as the state works to woo more cyber firms and train more workers for the growing field. Park has worked in product strategy and marketing for companies including Hewlett Packard and Dell.

"This is a huge new issue of national security," said O'Malley, referring to news reports of cyber attacks from China and elsewhere around the world.

The governor's initiative includes $3 million in his proposed budget for the state's next fiscal year to pay for tax credits to stimulate private investment in early-stage cybersecurity technology companies in Maryland.

KEYW helps federal defense and intelligence agencies protect their data networks and has been growing faster than its work force can keep up with, CEO Leonard Moodispaw said. The company has 200 open positions and a work force of about 1,200, he added. The company went public in October 2010.

Moodispaw welcomed O'Malley's efforts to boost the cyber industry.

"We've been after the governor for some time to get a Jeani, if you will," Moodispaw said.