Pentagon to Ask for More Cyber Spending in Next Budget

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the department would focus more on intelligence gathering, reconnaissance.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel responds to a question from a reporter at the Pentagon, September 18, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Feb. 19, 2014, 5:55 a.m.

The Pentagon’s cy­ber budget will get a boost as part of the de­part­ment’s fisc­al 2015 budget re­quest, De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel said Tues­day.

“We are ad­just­ing our as­set base and our new tech­no­logy,” the Pentagon’s top of­fi­cial said, adding that the de­part­ment will in­crease spend­ing to help im­prove its cy­ber cap­ab­il­it­ies, in­clud­ing a lar­ger fo­cus on cy­ber se­cur­ity, in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, and re­con­nais­sance.

The de­part­ment’s budget re­quest will be re­leased March 4, as part of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s budget, and the sec­ret­ary is ex­pec­ted to of­fer a pre­view Monday. Hagel and oth­er top De­fense of­fi­cials have largely sidestepped ques­tions about what spend­ing they are ask­ing to have in­creased — or what pro­grams to cut.

“Of course, it’s go­ing to shift the pro­pri­et­ies and the bal­ance of forces, and where you in­vest your money to be able to en­sure read­i­ness for your forces, cap­ab­il­ity, “¦ and ca­pa­city,” Hagel said.

The De­fense De­part­ment, he said, is in a time of trans­ition, deal­ing with a budget crunch and ad­just­ing its fo­cus as it wraps up ma­jor U.S. troop in­volve­ment in two wars.

Of­fi­cials pre­vi­ously said they would re­quest $542 bil­lion for the up­com­ing fisc­al year, but Decem­ber’s budget agree­ment put base spend­ing for the Pentagon at about $498 bil­lion.

Fund­ing aside, the de­part­ment’s in­creased fo­cus on cy­ber doesn’t come without its own road bumps, Hagel said.

“One of the com­plic­a­tions we have is there’s a line “¦ between the private sec­tor and the De­fense De­part­ment,” the sec­ret­ary said, while ac­know­ledging that the de­part­ment already has a “tre­mend­ous ca­pa­city” to deal with the grow­ing cy­ber threat.

It’s not the first time Hagel has soun­ded the alarm on DOD’s in­creased fo­cus on cy­ber, and he’s not alone. De­fense of­fi­cials called cy­ber­at­tacks the greatest threat to na­tion­al se­cur­ity in a De­fense News Lead­er­ship poll re­leased earli­er this year.

And FBI Dir­ect­or James Comey, then-act­ing Home­land Se­cur­ity Sec­ret­ary Rand Beers, and Mat­thew Olsen, the dir­ect­or the Na­tion­al Coun­terter­ror­ism Cen­ter, pressed the Sen­ate Home­land Se­cur­ity and Gov­ern­ment­al Af­fairs Com­mit­tee for great­er co­oper­a­tion between the gov­ern­ment and cor­por­a­tions on boost­ing cy­ber­se­cur­ity.

Al­though the White House re­leased guidelines to help busi­nesses de­fend them­selves earli­er this month, they’re vol­un­tary, and it’s un­clear how much the ad­min­is­tra­tion can do to en­force the stand­ards without le­gis­la­tion from Con­gress.

Hagel’s com­ments came dur­ing a wide-ran­ging Q&A at Con­greg­a­tion Beth El in Beth­esda, Md., on Tues­day night; the ses­sion is part of the syn­agogue’s “Con­ver­sa­tions with Key Amer­ic­an Lead­ers” series with Ken Fein­berg, an at­tor­ney who over­saw the 9/11 Vic­tim Com­pens­a­tion Fund.

What We're Following See More »
CYBER THREATS INCREASING
Clapper: ISIS Will Try to Attack U.S. This Year
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

“Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional panel today. Clapper added that “al-Qaida, from which the Islamic State spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program.”

Source:
CLYBURN WEIGHING HIS OWN NOD
CBC PAC to Endorse Clinton This Morning
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton this morning, and “nearly a dozen CBC colleagues will descend on” South Carolina next week in advance of that state’s important primary. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the highest ranking black member of Congress, reversed his earlier position of neutrality, saying he’ll make a decision “later in the week.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has pointed out that the CBC PAC is not the same things as the CBC itself, while the Intercept notes that 11 of the 20 board members of the PAC are lobbyists.

Source:
MORE TENSIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA
Senate Votes 96-0 to Sanction North Korea
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Senate echoed the House’s move last month to stiffen sanctions against North Korea. The bill “would sanction anyone who engages in, facilitates or contributes to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cyber security and the provision of materials for such activities.” Senate Democrats said they expect the president to sign the bill. In related news, after South Korea suspended operations at a jointly run power station in the North, Pyongyang declared the area a military zone and cut off a hotline between the two countries.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
×