White House budget to go big on cyber

Cybersecurity funding will be prominently featured in the White House’s fiscal 2016 budget, according to a summary released Monday morning.

The administration’s proposal earmarks $14 billion to support governmentwide efforts to defend the country against cyberattacks, an increase of nearly $1 billion over last year's offering. The budget also sets aside $105 million for 25 agencies to establish or enhance a digital service team, something meant to bring tech sector expertise to agencies’ information technology, including cybersecurity.

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“No system is immune to infiltration by those seeking to steal commercial or government information and property or perpetrate malicious and disruptive activity,” said the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in its budget summary.

Cyber funding has been largely stable or increasing in recent years. The major spending bill Congress passed during the lame-duck session boosted cybersecurity funding at the FBI but held it constant at other agencies.

High-profile data breaches at companies like Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan and Sony Pictures have raised public awareness of the nation’s weak cyber defenses and rising threats from hackers. Cyberattacks on federal agencies — from the U.S. Postal Service to the White House — have put pressure on the government to act.

With its proposed $14 billion in cyber spending, the White House aims to “make cyberspace more secure, allowing the government to more rapidly protect American citizens, systems and information from cyber threats,” according to the OMB.

The main focus of the digital service team funding will go toward “citizen-facing programs,” such as agency websites. These teams are meant to emulate the squad of tech sector elites that was brought in to repair HealthCare.gov after its rocky start.

Part of this task includes working to “improve agency cybersecurity and cyber readiness,” the OMB said.

The full budget breakdown will be out later on Monday.

— Updated 10:49 a.m.