House appropriators approve Pentagon’s $11.2 billion ask for cyber

A powerful House panel on Wednesday fully funded the Defense Department’s request for $11.2 billion for cyberspace activities in the next fiscal year.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 32-26 to advance its $761 billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2023. The topline figure in the legislation, which now goes to the full chamber for a vote, is $33.2 billion above what was enacted in fiscal 2022.

The $11.2 billion Pentagon ask is an increase of $800 million, or roughly eight percent, over the previous year. The additional funds come as policymakers, and the department, place more emphasis on the digital domain, in large part because of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

In a report released Wednesday, tech giant Microsoft said that Russian hackers have attempted to infiltrate networks at more than 100 organizations in the U.S. and dozens across 42 other countries since the Kremlin launched its unprovoked assault in February.

The Pentagon plans to spend the money on a wide range of digital security efforts, including increasing cybersecurity support for defense contractors, hardening its own networks, investing in cyber training ranges and adding five teams to U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force — boosting the total to 142.

In a committee report that accompanied the spending measure, appropriators demanded the massive department detail which offices and organizations are ultimately responsible for its work in cyberspace.

“It remains unclear to the committee which offices and positions at the Department of Defense are responsible for cyber, cybersecurity, and cyberspace policy and activities,” the document states, before going on to rattle off a list of cyber- and IT-related entities.

The panel directs the Defense secretary to submit a detailed report that includes “an organizational chart listing each office that has responsibility for cyber activities noted, its responsibilities, and the reporting structure to leadership.”

The review should also feature “descriptions and distinctions between the surfeit of cyber positions,” including in the various armed service branches, as well as information on “cyber education programs and scholarships, as well as who has responsibility for outreach and recruitment for cyber positions and education,” according to the report.

House Democrats intend to pass most of their fiscal 2023 funding bills on the chamber floor next month.

Martin Matishak

Martin is a senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He spent the last five years at Politico, where he covered Congress, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community and was a driving force behind the publication's cybersecurity newsletter.

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