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Understanding Cybersecurity in Trump's Budget

President Donald Trump’s executive order on cybersecurity signed in early May pushed for agencies to use certain standards for managing their cybersecurity. It acknowledged that federal agencies are struggling with data security, where most are using old systems that are easy cybercrime targets. Over the next few months, federal personnel will be busy analyzing the government’s cyber capabilities and risks and identifying solutions. You may be wondering what this means for your agency.

With the unveiling of Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, there are some answers. It is estimated federal spending on technology could reach $95 billion in 2018. One of the key aspects of Trump’s proposed budget focuses on boosting spending on federal IT and cybersecurity programs.

Here are some key cybersecurity initiatives, reforms and programs proposed in the budget.

  • Increase cybersecurity personnel across agencies, including the FBI and Defense and Homeland Security departments DHS. The budget commits $971 million to DHS cyber operation and a $49.2 million boost for DHS’ cyber operations wing, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). The budget would also fund 20 full-time employees who would help the NCCIC protect private businesses through the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program. This means DHS would share more cybersecurity incident information across federal agencies — hopefully leading to faster responses to those incidents. Most of DHS’ cybersecurity initiatives exist in the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), which is responsible for protecting U.S. physical and cyber infrastructure from threats. The budget would allocate almost $3.3 billion to NPPD, which is about 7.5 percent of the entire $44.1 billion budget plan for all of DHS.
  • Cut R&D spending. The budget proposes to reduce 12.3 percent in funding for the National Science Foundation. There would also be cuts in laboratory programs at NIST, including the unit that creates cybersecurity guidance.
  • Add programs to the National Cybersecurity Protection System within DHS. These include the Einstein 3, the Federal Network Resilience, and the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation. All three of these programs will seek to enhance cybersecurity analysis and response throughout federal networks. In last year’s budget proposal, the Obama administration allotted $274.8 million for the CDM program and $471.1 million for Einstein.
  • Modernize federal government IT. Many of the government’s current systems date back almost half a century. The proposed $228 million Technology Modernization Fund would work to replace legacy IT systems that are not cost effective and pose security risks. But, Trump’s modernization budget is significantly less than the proposed $3.1 billion by President Obama.
  • Fund cyber spending at the Justice Department. Trump’s budget calls for FBI spending to increase by $41.5 million to fund 36 new positions, including 20 cyber specialized FBI agents. The DoJ says the FBI will improve technical tools, support the FBI’s cyber program and expand high speed networks. “This will support the FBI’s mission to defeat cyber-intrusion threats through a unique combination of law enforcement and national security authorities,” according to the department’s budget request document.

A complete detail of the 2018 budget proposal can be found here.

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