Intelligence spending increased in FY 2016, according to information released October 28. The total appropriated for the year was $70.7 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous year.

The spending for the National Intelligence program increased the most. It rose by $2.7 billion, to $53 billion. That is not a record high but it is in the common range for the period 2010 – 2016. The record appropriation for the program was in 2011 when Congress approved $54.6 billion.

On the military side, the appropriation for the Military Intelligence program for 2016 was $17.7 billion.  This was a $1.2 billion increase from 2015. The appropriation is among the lowest in the last decade. The program’s record appropriation was in 2010, when Congress approved $27 billion.

President and Congress Banter About Budgets

The administration has submitted proposed budgets for both programs for FY 2017. It is asking for $53.5 billion for the National Intelligence program and $16.8 billion for the Military Intelligence program, for a total of $70.3 billion. While this is lower than the appropriation for 2016, it is not the final number. Congress has to approve the budget for FY 2017 and then approve appropriations for that budget. The actual number will likely vary.

These numbers have been made public since 2007. It had been argued that their release would open up the possibility for additional information, classified or sensitive, about the operation of both programs. That has not proven true thus far.

While the details have not been released, it is clear that a portion of these funds is dedicated to the hiring and retention of cyber specialists. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan was announced in early 2016, with a proposed budget of $19 billion. It included plans to hire thousands of skilled workers to bolster both the civilian and the military efforts in cybersecurity and defense.

In September, the President appoint the first Federal Chief Information Security Officer as part of the action plan. Retired Brigadier Gen. Gregory J. Touhill will head a team at OMB that will focus on the plan objectives across all agencies.

This year’s presidential campaign is a clear reminder that cybersecurity and both defensive and offensive cyber warfare are issue of the greatest importance. E-mail leaks and DDOS attacks have impacted both the political scene and the economy. It remains to be seen if the next administration will spend more on these topics, and be able to provide greater safety and security for cyber systems and their users.

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Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a freelance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.