White House wants 10% hike in cybersecurity spending

The Obama administration, in its proposed FY 2016 federal budget, wants more money for cybersecurity research, technology and investigators

The White House, citing the peril posed to the government and private sector by cyberattacks, wants more money for cybersecurity research, technology and investigators.

That funding request, included in the 2016 federal budget released Monday, seeks $14 billion -- a 10% increase over the current fiscal year -- in defending U.S. cybersecurity systems.

Cyberattacks and resulting data breaches "are resulting in real cost and consequences for the American economy," said Lisa Schlosser, the acting federal CIO.

The money will be used to improve federal networks and help fund research and development efforts in cybersecurity.

A "significant portion" of the budget would be "going to the DOJ (Department of Justice) to investigate public and private sector cyber intrusions," said Schlosser.

The proposed cybersecurity spending increase is part of a broader effort by President Barack Obama to improve the nation's ability to deal with cyberattacks. This includes a renewed effort for legislation that provides some legal protections to firms that voluntarily report breaches to the government.

The increase in security spending is helping to bring overall IT spending in the proposed 2016 budget to $86 billion, an increase of about 2%.

White House officials, at a briefing for reporters today, said the federal IT budget proposal will continue progress on long-standing initiatives, including making more government data open and available for public. The budget also continues efforts to share services among federal agencies, such those used in human resources and financial transactions.

There are also increasing goals to improve online experiences for the public, in areas such as Veterans Affairs benefits and small business loans, to make them as "simple and forward" as the private sector.

While White House officials say that their IT spending is leading to savings, ongoing investments are needed to modernize various agencies' systems "to meet the expectations of their customers," said Beth Cobert, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

"We should be driving costs down to make the investments that we need to improve service," said Cobert. "That's the way we're trying to manage it."

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