Cybersecurity research feels the love in 2013 budget request

Cybersecurity is identified as a priority for basic research in the president's budget request for fiscal 2013, with large investments proposed for DOD, DHS and NSF.

Cybersecurity is identified as a priority for basic research in the president’s budget proposal for fiscal 2013, along with clean energy, advanced manufacturing, smart infrastructure and wireless communications.

Millions of dollars from the $140.8 billion requested for R&D for the coming year would go toward cybersecurity research at the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in addition to funding for operational cybersecurity programs.

Full funding for the Justice Department’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative also is included in the request

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“There are a range of emerging threats for which the United States must be prepared, from chemical and biological weapons to cyberattacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure and information technology networks that are integral to our economy and our society,” says the budget document, released Feb. 13. “In the cyber domain, the budget sustains and enhances all aspects of DOD’s cybersecurity capabilities, including defensive and offensive operations in cyberspace.”

The budget also proposes $769 million to support the operations of the DHS National Cyber Security Division, which includes the Einstein program for monitoring and defending civilian agency networks.

DOD is responsible for defending military networks and, through the new U.S. Cyber Command, for providing offensive cyber capabilities. DHS is the lead agency for civilian agency cybersecurity, although most day-to-day operational activities are handled by agencies. DHS also cooperates with private-sector owners and operators to secure critical infrastructure, although it has no regulatory responsibilities.

The DOD budget request for FY 2013 totals $525.4 billion, which is about $5 billion less than the 2012 budget. Requested funding would include support for cooperative efforts with DHS in protecting civilian and private-sector infrastructure. The funding request would allow DOD to continue implementing its Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, as well conducting operations, including defense of infrastructure, deemed critical to national security. This includes funding for the Cyber Command.

In addition to operational activities, the budget also funds cybersecurity science and technology research as well as pilot efforts in partnership with DHS to determine the best ways to protect critical information infrastructures in the private sector.

The DOD request includes $69.4 billion for R&D, including $11.9 billion for early stage science and technology programs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency would get a slight boost from its 2012 funding level. R&D efforts would include $650 million to fund efforts in cybersecurity, explosives detection and chemical-biological response systems.

For DHS, the proposal requests $769 million to support the operations of the National Cyber Security Division, which is charged with protecting civilian computer systems, and sustain the efforts under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative to protect U.S. networks. This is intended to also strengthen state and local governments’ and the private sector’s capabilities.

The DHS $39.5 billion budget request reflects a $191 million reduction from 2012.

“Savings are realized through cuts to administrative areas including travel, overtime, fleet management, the elimination of duplicative and low-priority programs, and strategic sourcing and acquisition reform initiatives,” the budget proposal says. “These savings help enable increased funding for core homeland security functions such as cybersecurity, border protection, and aviation security.”

The budget proposal includes $110 million for a basic critical information infrastructure research initiative at NSF. The initiative would be managed in partnership with other agencies as part of the administration’s strategic plan for cybersecurity research and development.

NIST laboratories would receive $708 million under the proposed budget, an increase of $86 million over 2012 levels for what the administration calls investments in the country’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness. This would include ongoing work to develop standards and technical guidance for complying with the Federal Information Security Management Act, as well as basic research into computer and network security.

NIST also houses the National Program Office for the president’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. That office would be funded at $8 million in 2013.