Cyber in the 2020 budget

government security 

President Donald Trump's budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 represents the opening salvo in budget, offering insight into the White House's policy priorities. On cybersecurity, the administration is looking to increase the qualified pool of cyber workers in government, with increases in some areas including law enforcement.

The budget includes more than $1 billion for cybersecurity efforts at the Department of Homeland Security, including governmentwide cybersecurity programs like Einstein and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation. It adds funding for the department's Cyber Talent Management System that aims to hire 150 new cybersecurity employees by 2020 and resources to increase the number of DHS-led network risk assessments from 473 to 684 and incorporate state and local election systems.

However, the total amount dedicated for cybersecurity at DHS is similar to the $1 billion the administration proposed last year.

Current investments are woefully low for what is supposed to be the federal government's premier civilian cyber department, a staffer on the House Homeland Security Committee told FCW, especially when compared to the $9.6 billion the plan envisions for cybersecurity operations at the Department of Defense.

In a statement, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the administration's DHS budget request "a fantasy document" that Democrats "wholeheartedly reject," but he did not specifically mention cybersecurity.

The FBI is adding $70 million to its cybersecurity budget request to "support the development of advanced technical capabilities and the implementation of a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy to target malicious cyber actors that threaten global U.S. interests," per its budget factsheet. The National Security Division at the Justice Department is seeking an 8.5 percent increase over enacted 2019 funding levels, which covers efforts to combat cybercrime and reviews of foreign investments in the U.S. and export control.

The budget views the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, as an increasingly important tool in the federal government's arsenal for combatting national security threats to the supply chain. The plan sets aside $35 million for the Department of Treasury "to ensure swift, robust and effective implementation" of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which was passed in 2018 and focuses on investment risks for critical U.S. technology and infrastructure.

It also calls for $167 million for Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence that "would expand [the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's] special measures enforcement activities and enhance its efforts to combat cybercrime and cryptocurrency threats." The budget also sets aside $18 million to protect Treasury's IT systems and $13 million "to enhance the Department's capacity to identify and remediate new vulnerabilities before they can be exploited."

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


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