President Biden’s budget proposal for 2024 includes a number of key investments to implement his recently released National Cyber Strategy, including a significant funding bump for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Cybersecurity Budget Battle Ahead
While the proposal basically sets a starting point and an agenda for Congressional negotiations, there’s no chance it will pass Congress in its current form inasmuch as the House is controlled by Republicans. However, it's also unlikely that critical segments relating to cybersecurity will be non-starters or face bitter battles sure to accompany the overall fiscal proposal. Keep in mind that the administration’s budget documents providing more specific details on cyber spending have yet to be published.
According to a White House fact sheet:
“The budget continues to invest in cybersecurity programs recognizing that cybersecurity is essential to the basic functioning of our economy, the operation of our critical infrastructure, the strength of our democracy and democratic institutions, the privacy of our data and communications, and our national security.”
There’s a chance Congress will approve more money for CISA than the $3.1 billion the administration is currently asking for, which amounts to a $145 million step up from last year. For example, last year’s Congress ended up allocating $2.9 billion to CISA instead of the $2.5 billion it sought.
White Cyber Budget Examined
Here are the White House’s cyber budget proposals:
- CISA’s $3.1 billion budget includes $98 million to implement the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act. The funding is connected to legislation that Congress approved last year requiring critical infrastructure owners and operators to report cyber incidents within 72 hours.
- CISA would also get $425 million for the new Cyber Analytics Data System aimed at improving internal cybersecurity and analytical capabilities.
- $753 million for Ukraine to continue to counter Russian aggression and to meet emerging needs related to security, energy, cybersecurity, disinformation and other factors.
- $200 million for the Technology Modernization Fund, for investments in IT modernization, cybersecurity, and other services.
- $63 million more to carry out cyber-focused investigations, strengthened intelligence collection and analysis.
- $245 million to fund the cybersecurity and resilience of clean energy technologies.
- $395 million to the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy to help fund the United States Agency for International Development and other regional digital initiatives. The funding also includes cybersecurity support for LGBTQ individuals, supply chain security, data sharing and privacy.
John Katko, prior to his recent retirement, was the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee. He praised the budget proposal, but also told the Washington Post that CISA’s budget needs to reach $5 billion:
“CISA plays a critical role in our nation’s cyber defense, and its responsibilities have been growing steadily. I've long said that the agency should receive more funding as it matures, and as the demands on it grow. This budget is in line with tha,t and I think there will be a receptive ear in Congress toward an increase in funding.”