Cybersecurity just got a $154 millionÂ boost as part of a seven-year Presidential initiative that may reach into the billions of dollars according to a White House whisper yesterday.Â It is hard to know why the Presidential peep about such a major undertaking didn’t warrant more of a podium.Â I couldn’t even find a press release.
Siobhan Gorman at the Baltimore Sun, always plugged in to the intel community, was among the first to report on the non-announcement.Â The president requested the funds in a letter to Speaker Pelosi.Â Tracking threats in cyberspace on both government and private networks is what the White House promised to do in more than one national strategy document.Â There is a National Cyber Security Division at DHS. (See HSPD-7, section 16 for more detail.)Â The PATRIOT Act (love it or hate it) extends authorities to combat terrorist activities on the Internet.Â Few would suggest that the job is done.Â Yet, why the mere murmur?
Perhaps because there are so few details settled.Â The initiative would be led by DHS with support from the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of NationalÂ Intelligence, and other intelligence community members, including the FBI.Â Another touchy aspect may be the financing of this effort.Â According to Siobhan’s story and the OMB documents attached to the president’s letter, funds forÂ the “Cyber Initiative”Â will be redirected from such things asÂ the Coast Guard, Hurricane Katrina rebuilding, border security, the Inspector General’s office, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Whoa.Â I wouldn’t broadcast that either.Â Cutting funds for the Coast Guard is unpopular everywhere.Â I’m pretty sure the Lower Ninth hasn’t been rebuilt since the last time I was there after Katrina.Â Just wait until Lou Dobbs hears about the border security.Â The Inspector General?Â He might actually need a boost.Â And FEMA.Â That may actually be warranted.Â (I can hear reader WRC’s keyboard already.)
Update: Further funding details are inÂ Jason Miller’s story at FCW.com, wherein he specifies that the president recommends using unobligated funds from a number of different DHS offices, including the chief information officer ($873,000), the Customs an Border Protection automation modernization project ($6.1 million) and the Science and Technology Directorate ($216,000). All such details can be read in this attachment.