Army seeks more cyber dollars in 2017 budget

General Daniel Allyn

Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told lawmakers that cyber funding would put the Army "on a path toward initial operating capability as we move forward here in providing both a cyber offense and cyber defense capability."

The Army's second highest-ranking officer told Congress that the service's budget for cyber is one of a few areas due for a funding increase, but it is still not enough to get officials where they want to be in an ideal time frame.

"In the budget submission, cyber is one of the only growth areas in our budget," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told members of the House Armed Services Committee's Readiness Subcommittee on Feb. 26. "It is absolutely a critical capability that we must continue to develop."

He told lawmakers that by the end of 2017, all 41 Army cyber mission teams will be fully operational. In addition, the National Guard and Army Reserve are building 21 cyber protection teams to provide defense when it comes to critical infrastructure domestically.

Cybersecurity spending is spread across several budget categories, including personnel, facilities, research and weapons systems.

All told, the Army is asking for $2.2 billion in cyber spending for 2017. That includes $931.1 million tagged as research, development, testing and evaluation; $677 million for operations and maintenance; $516.2 million for "other procurement"; and $90 million for military construction. The overall figure represents a 68 percent increase over 2016, when the Army received about $1.5 billion in support of cyber activities, according to data supplied by an Army spokesperson.

Deltek analyst Alexander Rossino told FCW that the Army's budget request parallels what is going on across the Pentagon.

"The Army is developing new capabilities, cyber-related infrastructure, and the trained personnel that are needed to operate both defensively and offensively in cyberspace," Rossino said. The requested funding "will bring the Army significantly closer to realizing the [Defense Department's] cybersecurity/warfare goal as a whole -- namely to define the cyber domain on the DOD's terms, to limit the enemy's ability to operate within that domain and to enhance the military's ability to operate against adversaries with impunity."

Allyn said the funding would put the Army "on a path toward initial operating capability as we move forward here in providing both a cyber offense and cyber defense capability to ensure that our nation can both be decisive and protect our capabilities here in the homeland."

But he added that the funding would not be sufficient to get to the end goal as fast as Army officials would like.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) told FCW that preventing and responding to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure are necessities throughout the government. "Specifically, the Department of Defense must continue to be at the forefront of identifying and responding to these threats," he said. "However, the DOD must be forthcoming about resources needed and how those assets will be best utilized."

DOD's overall budget request for cyberspace operations in fiscal 2017 is nearly $7 billion.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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