Cyber forces, AI get a budget boost in 2020

US Army flickr NCO Academy Teaches Leadership in Virtual Environment 

The Defense Department's 2020 $718 billion budget request includes more money for cyber and carve-outs to boost artificial intelligence and emerging technology research, according to the White House summary of the request released March 11.

Cyber operations stand to see a more than billion-dollar increase in fiscal 2020 with $9.6 billion compared to last year's request. That increase coincides with growth in military cyber forces, DOD cyber workforce development and investments in network, information and systems defenses.

The increased funding request comes after U.S. Cyber Commander Gen. Paul Nakasone told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February that the cyber mission force would likely need to expand beyond its 133 teams to keep pace with current and future threats.

The $718 billion 2020 budget request is $33.4 billion more than in fiscal 2019, and it envisions future technological development with dedicated funds for AI.

The DOD's newly launched Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, which will serve as the department's leadership on the technology, is allocated $208 million. Other areas of focus include autonomous systems and hypersonics.

"The rapid advancement and proliferation of new technologies is changing the character of war," the White House wrote in its summary report. "To prevent the erosion of the U.S. competitive military advantage, DOD is investing in new technologies to compete, deter, and if necessary, fight and win the wars of the future."

But those investment levels don't mesh with the figures. Research, engineering and prototyping activities are expected to get $59 billion, down from $84 billion in research and development requested last year.

The Defense Department is expected to release its full budget request March 12.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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