Robert Hale, DoD Comptroller, lists cyber operations, offense and defense, information assurance, public key infrastructure, research and development and DARPA as important pieces of the proposed 2015 budget. (THOMAS BROWN/Staff)
The new Defense Department budget, released as part of the comprehensive federal budget on March 4, includes reductions in numerous programs and activities as part of ongoing efficiencies measures and funding cuts. But as DoD officials recently hinted would happen, certain line items received boosts in spending, particularly those related to cybersecurity.
The $496 billion fiscal 2015 budget includes more than $5 billion in spending related to cyber, money that is spread across the various defense components and activities as part of comprehensive DoD plans to ramp up cyber operations. With the cyber funding distributed across the military – almost certainly including classified budgets – exact figures and programs are less than clear.
“There’s no set of program elements that lead to this number. Maybe there needs to be, but right now there isn’t,” DoD Comptroller Bob Hale said in a March 4 Pentagon press briefing.
Hale said that officials worked with the DoD CIO to come up the figure, and that a large portion includes spending on cyber operations, offense and defense, information assurance, public key infrastructure, research and development, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other areas
“We tried to capture it all, but I’d say there’s a gray area here in what counts as cyber,” Hale said.
The majority of cyber-related line items found in the budget documents are within those detailing defense research, development, testing and evaluation. Some of the programs took hits, but others saw increases on the year.
Some of the biggest cyber outlays go to the Air Force, where more than $67 million is going toward service activities under U.S. Cyber Command; that figure is an increase from $38 million in fiscal 2014. Rapid cyber acquisition funding nearly doubled from $2.2 million in 2014 to $4.1 million in 2015, and cyber operations technology development is set to receive nearly $5 million, marking a new line item that received zero funding last year. Air Force offensive cyber operations fell from $14 million in fiscal 2014 to $13.4 in fiscal 2015, and defense decreased slightly from $5.8 million to $5.6 million. Funding for the DoD Cyber Crime Center was eliminated completely after receiving $288,000 last year.
Department-wide, cybersecurity research funding grew by more than $1.5 million to $15.5 million, and separately, cybersecurity advanced research was cut completely after last year receiving nearly $10 million.
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s cybersecurity initiative procurement dollars dropped by nearly half, from almost $17 million in 2014 to $8.8 million this year. The DoD-wide but DISA-led Joint Information Enterprise, however, received $13.3 million in procurement funding just for DISA, an effort that received nothing last year. JIE is a comprehensive IT infrastructure strategy for the entire military; while not explicitly a cyber program, cybersecurity is part of its overall objectives.
Overall, the focus for cyber is on operations, officials emphasized.
According to the budget overview, other cyber highlights include:
■ Construction of the Joint Operations Center for U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md.; occupancy is scheduled for FY 2018.
■ Support for cyberspace operational science and technology programs and other research and technology projects to develop the tools required by the cyber workforce to accomplish their mission.
■ Support for defensive cyberspace operations providing information assurance and cyber security to the defense networks at all levels.
■ Reorganization and augmentation of personnel within the combatant commands to support the integration and coordination of cyberspace operations within their all-domain operations.
■ Ongoing investments in the department’s larger IT budget to consolidate and standardize DoD networks.