The Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal 2017 budget reflects “some hard choices” and reallocation of priorities, said Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The $40.6 billion budget request includes $1.6 billion for the agency’s cybersecurity efforts, an increase of $200 million from last year’s budget. It also includes $471.1 million for the National Cybersecurity Protection System, or Einstein, an intrusion detection system for government agencies.

Earlier this year, the GAO issued a report criticizing Einstein, saying it “provides DHS with a limited ability to detect potentially malicious activity entering and exiting computer networks at federal agencies.”

Yet Johnson defended it before a Senate appropriations committee, saying, “the conversations that I’ve had with our cybersecurity experts tell me that Einstein remains a good investment because of its unique capability to rely upon classified information for detecting and blocking cyber intrusions.”

While a limited number of agencies currently use Einstein, and it doesn’t find new or unknown patterns of threatening data according to the GAO, the DHS aims to have the updated Einstein 3A available for the entire civilian federal government by the end of the year.

The budget proposal also earmarked $79.9 million for Infrastructure Security Compliance funding, in order to secure high-risk chemical facilities under the authority of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. It also requests $52.8 million toward expanding the DHS’s replacement biometric identification system.

“This project will provide DHS the next generation of biometric capture and identification technology, including iris and facial recognition in addition to fingerprints,” said the DHS budget in brief.

Johnson also talked about hiring more cybersecurity personnel and commended Congress for legislation in 2014 that gave the DHS expanded hiring authorities for cybersecurity personnel.

“As you know, there is a lot of competition for good cyber talent. I’m competing with other agencies and I’m competing with the private sector,” said Johnson.

To learn more, visit the hearing page.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.