Faced with growing adversarial cyber threats, Department of Defense officials are looking to improve the capabilities of its Cyber Mission Forces (CMF) and boost several network protection programs with its proposed fiscal year 2019 budget.

The Pentagon’s $686 billion budget for the next fiscal year, released Monday, includes appropriating funds to address new cyber threats, defend against malware proliferation, deter DoD network attacks and develop new training opportunities for its CMFs.iStock Cyber Lock

“The drive to develop new technologies is relentless, expanding to more actors with lower barriers of entry, and moving at accelerating speed. New technologies include
advanced computing, “big data” analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology—the very technologies that ensure the United States will be able to fight and win the wars of the future,” DoD officials wrote in their proposed budget. “These investments will contribute to deterrence by denying potential adversaries an advantage from attacking United States space and cyberspace assets.”

DoD’s budget includes proposals to enhance cyber space activities across the services to improve the standings of its 133 CMF teams, which reached initial operating capability in October 2017. The CMFs, which fall under Cyber Command, are tasked with defending DoD networks and supporting cyber operations.

For their cyberspace activities in operation & maintenance, the Navy has requested $424.4 million and the Air Force $364.7 million. The Air Force has also requested $896.4 million for cyberspace, combat-related operations.

To improve the CMFs ability to respond to cyber threats, DoD officials are looking in their budget to continue training acquisition efforts including the Persistent Cyber Training Environment project. Army’s PEO STRI is currently developing the PCTE cyber simulation capability, which is expected to deliver the first prototypes by July (Defense Daily, Feb. 9).

DoD officials have proposed increases in spending to assess and evaluate cyber vulnerabilities across the services in an effort to move several cyber posture programs forward.

Under the new budget, the DoD would dedicate $88.3 million for Army cyber evaluations, as well as $48.8 million for the Navy and $99.1 million for the Air Force.

“DoD’s ability to operate in a cyber-contested environment is being strengthened by ongoing cyber vulnerability assessments of major weapon systems and critical infrastructure,” DoD officials wrote. “The results of these cyber vulnerability assessments, exercises, and wargames will help make informed, risk-based decisions on the most effective way to improve the capability of DoD forces to operate in a cyber-contested environment.”

The proposed budget also includes clarification of department-wide initiatives to improve the Pentagon’s cyber resiliency in the next fiscal year.

DoD officials will work on developing a new risk-based scoring model for identifying cyber security compliance, evaluate end-to-end digital capabilities and work to standardize digital identity services.

The budget also points to new initiatives for improving implementation of control systems for platform IT cyber security, refining supply chain cyber risk management processes and continuing its insider threat user activity monitoring program.

Within the services, DoD officials are looking to grow offensive and defensive operational cyber tools.

Officials have requested $36.6 for Army defensive cyber tool development, $6.8 million for Navy cyber operations technology development and $16.3 million for Air Force enabled cyber activities.

“The FY 2019 budget request continues to modernize and secure the global enterprise network and advance defensive and offensive cyber capabilities to safeguard the Nation’s security interests,” DoD officials wrote.