While overall defense spending is being cut, President Obama’s budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year increases spending for cyber security, revealing a shift in priorities for US defense.
The president’s proposed budget allocates more than $13 billion for cybersecurity programs, which is roughly $1 billion more than current levels and 16 percent of the federal IT budget that totals $82 billion, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
“We must… confront new dangers, like cyber attacks, that threaten our nation’s infrastructure, businesses and people,” President Barack Obama wrote in the introduction to the budget proposal. “The budget supports the expansion of government-wide efforts to counter the full scope of cyber threats, and strengthens our ability to collaborate with State and local governments, our partners overseas and the private sector to improve our overall cybersecurity.”
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The proposed budget seeks to boost Defense Department cybersecurity spending to $4.7 billion, an increase of $800 million. The spending would go toward expanding the Pentagons’ Cyber Command team of military hackers for defensive and offensive operations, creating a new joint programs center for US Cyber Command, and to further protect government computer networks, according to the spending plan.
The DHS would receive $39 billion for fiscal 2014 for “core homeland security functions, such as transportation security, cybersecurity and border security,” the proposal stated. That includes $500 million for cybersecurity research and development and nearly $1 billion toward the protection of federal computers and networks against malicious cyber activity.
Other federal organizations also saw their cyber- and information-security budgets increase as well. The departments of Justice, Energy and Commerce, as well as the National Intelligence Program, all have budget line items for cyber-related protections.
The increase in cybersecurity spending could benefit SAIC, Inc. and Northrop Grumman for defense, as well as Dell and Hewlett-Packard in the federal civilian space, according to Bloomberg Government.
One major potential contracting area is the coordination of fighting online attacks through the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Five (CNCI-5), which “seeks to connect cybersecurity centers and other cybersecurity analytics electronically and in real time,” the White House stated.
In a separate measure, the House Intelligence Committee recently passed a bill to remove certain legal barriers that prevented the government and private companies from protecting their networks against foreign hackers. It also included provisions to protect privacy.