DOD requests $4.7 billion to help fund offensive cyber teams

Despite a climate of what defense officials love to describe as "fiscal uncertainty," the Pentagon’s 2014 budget request includes $4.7 billion for increased "cyberspace operations," including dozens of cyber attack teams, the Defense Department announced today. To give you some sense of just how much cyber has increased in importance over the last year, the ...

U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force

Despite a climate of what defense officials love to describe as "fiscal uncertainty," the Pentagon's 2014 budget request includes $4.7 billion for increased "cyberspace operations," including dozens of cyber attack teams, the Defense Department announced today. To give you some sense of just how much cyber has increased in importance over the last year, the DOD’s 2013 budget overview mentions "cyber" 47 times while the 2014 overview mentions it 153 times. Last year's budget provided $3.9 billion for cyber according to DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. This money will be used to "increase defensive capabilities and develop the cyber Joint Force," according to the budget proposal.

What's that mean in English? The billions will support the Pentagon's previously announced plan to field dozens of cyber-combat teams that will protect the country from devastating cyber attack.

Thirteen of these teams -- called "defend the nation" teams -- are geared toward offensive operations aimed at deterring cyber attacks. Twenty-seven teams will support battlefield commanders around the globe by giving them cyber attack capabilities. The remainder will focus on defending DOD's networks from cyber attack.

Despite a climate of what defense officials love to describe as "fiscal uncertainty," the Pentagon’s 2014 budget request includes $4.7 billion for increased "cyberspace operations," including dozens of cyber attack teams, the Defense Department announced today. To give you some sense of just how much cyber has increased in importance over the last year, the DOD’s 2013 budget overview mentions "cyber" 47 times while the 2014 overview mentions it 153 times. Last year’s budget provided $3.9 billion for cyber according to DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. This money will be used to "increase defensive capabilities and develop the cyber Joint Force," according to the budget proposal.

What’s that mean in English? The billions will support the Pentagon’s previously announced plan to field dozens of cyber-combat teams that will protect the country from devastating cyber attack.

Thirteen of these teams — called "defend the nation" teams — are geared toward offensive operations aimed at deterring cyber attacks. Twenty-seven teams will support battlefield commanders around the globe by giving them cyber attack capabilities. The remainder will focus on defending DOD’s networks from cyber attack.

These teams will be composed of a mix of civilian and uniformed personnel at locations across the country.

The increased funding "provides manpower, training and support costs for regional cyber mission teams to be located in Maryland, Texas, Georgia, and Hawaii as well as other Combatant Command and military service locations," the budget proposal says. "In addition, manpower at the National Security Agency continues to be funded to provide both cyber security and intelligence support to the USCYBERCOM teams."

Continued investment in cyber is listed as one of the "Key Priorities" in the budget, along with missile defense, space programs, science and technology efforts, personnel pay, and funding National Guard and reserve forces.

Here are the other cyber highlights of the 2014 budget as listed by DOD:

  • Continues to support the construction of the Joint Operations Center for USCYBERCOM at Fort Meade, Maryland. Planned construction begins in FY 2014 with occupancy scheduled in FY 2017.
  • Provides funding to develop tools to automate vulnerability detection on classified networks.
  • Provides funding for commercial software for data monitoring of defense networks that will identify and isolate suspect files for analysis.
  • Continues to robustly support cyberspace operations Science and Technology programs.
  • Continues to support defensive cyberspace operations providing information assurance and cyber security to the Defense networks at all levels.
  • Provide funding to enhance cyberspace range capabilities by increasing capacity, improving pre- and post- exercise analysis, and mainstreaming and sustaining capabilities of the National Cyber Range developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under the oversight of the Department’s Test Resource Management Center.

 

John Reed is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He comes to FP after editing Military.com’s publication Defense Tech and working as the associate editor of DoDBuzz. Between 2007 and 2010, he covered major trends in military aviation and the defense industry around the world for Defense News and Inside the Air Force. Before moving to Washington in August 2007, Reed worked in corporate sales and business development for a Swedish IT firm, The Meltwater Group in Mountain View CA, and Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter at the Tracy Press and the Scotts Valley Press-Banner newspapers in California. His first story as a professional reporter involved chasing escaped emus around California’s central valley with Mexican cowboys armed with lassos and local police armed with shotguns. Luckily for the giant birds, the cowboys caught them first and the emus were ok. A New England native, Reed graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a dual degree in international affairs and history.

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