DHS, Energy, DoD get cyber funding under budget blueprint

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Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP

The Trump administration, led by Director Mick Mulvaney’s Office of Management and Budget, released a basic outline of its budget priorities for the coming year in a March 16 “budget blueprint,” offering the broad strokes of a full plan to come in May.

Among the top priorities for President Trump’s first budget: Cybersecurity.

“The president’s management agenda will set goals in areas that are critical to improving the federal government’s effectiveness, efficiency, cybersecurity and accountability,” an introduction reads.

The blueprint calls for greater investment in cyber specifically at several agencies, including [emphasis added when used]:

  • The budget notes Homeland Security’s role as the cybersecurity hub for the civilian government and its charge to protect the entire nation from threats, including those in cyberspace. According to the blueprint, the final budget proposal will include $1.5 billion specifically to “protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from” cyberattacks.

    “Through a suite of advanced cybersecurity tools and more assertive defense of government networks, DHS would share more cybersecurity incident information with other federal agencies and the private sector, leading to faster responses to cybersecurity attacks directed at federal networks and critical infrastructure,” the blueprint states.

  • As part of that critical infrastructure defense, the Department of Energy – specifically the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability – would get additional funding to “carry out cybersecurity and grid resiliency activities” to shore up the nation’s electric infrastructure from large-scale attacks, like those seen in Ukraine in recent years. The exact number was unspecified.
  • The Department of Justice would get $61 million for a variety of international issues, including “to fight terrorism and combat foreign intelligence and cyber threats and address public safety and national security risks.” That would also include DOJ and FBI’s push for more encryption breaking techniques and technologies.
  • The Department of Defense, which the budget outline claims to “rebuild … by addressing pressing shortfalls, such as insufficient stocks of critical munitions, personnel gaps, deferred maintenance and modernization, cyber vulnerabilities and degraded facilities.”

    The DoD section also highlights the importance of recognizing cyber as a domain of warfare. The budget includes development of a “new National Defense Strategy that recognizes the need for American superiority not only on land, at sea, in the air and in space, but also in cyberspace.”

  • While there were few other substantive mentions of cyber funding in the March 16 blueprint, the Treasury Department got a shout-out to invest in a “departmentwide plan to strategically enhance existing security systems … to anticipate and nimbly respond in the event of a cyberattack,” as did NASA, which the budget calls on to strengthen “cybersecurity capabilities, safeguarding critical systems and data.”