President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017, released February 9, reinforced the administrations focus on cybersecurity with a $19 billion investment to fund its broad cybersecurity strategy – about a 35 percent increase in cybersecurity funding from FY 2016. Specifically, this funding is to be used to support the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) to “dramatically increase the level of cybersecurity in both the federal government and the nation’s digital ecosystem as a whole.”
Undoubtedly, the nation’s cybersecurity posture is a concern that will be inherited by the next president; however, President Obama’s plan aspires to minimize the heirloom of legacy information technology (IT), a lackluster cybersecurity workforce and a crippling critical infrastructure.
Smarter IT: infrastructure and professionals
A 2015 review of the federal government’s cybersecurity policies, headed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and in coordination with the National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Commerce and other relevant agencies, discovered “many federal IT systems are antiquated, making them difficult to secure, update and defend, enabling adversaries to gain and maintain access.”
To confront the issue of legacy technology, the proposed FY 2017 budget would enable the Information Technology Modernization Fund, “a $3.1 billion revolving fund to retire antiquated IT systems” changeover to modern IT systems and hopefully save money while also creating a more secure cyber-sphere.
The 2015 OMB review subsequently revealed the government’s difficulty in hiring and retaining cybersecurity professionals. Under CNAP, the American people will be educated about the realm of cybersecurity at academic institutions, more cybersecurity professionals will be hired, and beneficial relationships between the government and private sector will be engendered. According to the White House budget proposal, the budget would invest $62 million “to address the cyber workforce shortages and skill gaps that we face by creating cybsercurity reservist programs."