President Obama is asking for $769 million to fund information security initiatives via the Department of Homeland Security in 2013. That amount is nearly twice what DHS asked for last year to fund its cybersecurity work.
“The Administration proposes $769 million to support the operations of the National Cyber Security Division, which protects Federal computer systems and sustains efforts under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative to protect U.S. information networks from the threat of cyberattacks or disruptions. The benefits of this investment extend beyond the Federal sphere and will
help strengthen State and local governments’ and the private sector’s capabilities to address cyber threats,” the budget request says.
The money for the DHS cybersecurity efforts is just one component of the budget that is involved with the country’s programs for information and network security. In the byzantine world that is Washington’s budget process and inter-agency dependencies, there are a number of different departments, agencies and teams that have some responsibility for both military and civilian information security efforts. DHS has a large part of that authority, but the Department of Defense, the Secret Service and the U.S. Cyber Command all have some as well.
The president’s budget emphasizes the importance of information security programs and technologies in several places and it’s clear from the document that the administration is committing a lot of resources to the problem.
“Preparing for emerging threats includes being able to operate across the full spectrum in cyberspace. The Budget sustains
and enhances all aspects of DOD’s cybersecurity capabilities. It also funds DOD’s support for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) cybersecurity efforts to protect the Federal Government’s unclassified civilian information technology networks and improve the security of U.S. critical infrastructure. Funding allows DOD to invest in improving capabilities to implement
the DOD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace; conducting the full spectrum of operations, including defending the Nation’s networks as directed by the President; and supporting the defense of infrastructure that is critical to national security.
The Budget sustains funding for U.S. Cyber Command to conduct its cyber mission and lead efforts to secure the Department’s networks. The Budget also funds leading edge cybersecurity science and technology efforts, and cybersecurity pilot efforts (in partnership with DHS) to determine how best to protect critical information infrastructures owned and operated by the private
sector,” the budget request says.
The question now is how much of that emphasis will translate into action by Congress. In addition to technology-related programs for information security, the Obama administration also is asking for more money to help prevent and investigate intellectual-property crimes online.
“Therefore, the Administration is devoting nearly $40 million to identify and defeat intellectual property criminals, an increase of $5 million over 2012. The Administration’s efforts have already resulted in shutting down 350 websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works,” the budget request for the Department of Justice says.
The Obama administration’s anti-piracy and IP crimes efforts have been controversial to say the least in recent years, with opponents saying that the government has overreached in its attempts to halt piracy and copyright infringement. The widespread protests against the SOPA bill are a good example.