Obama's 2010 budget calls for heavier cybersecurity spending

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has asked Congress for $918 million to support its infrastructure protection programs.

Under the national budget President Obama submitted to Congress Thursday, funding for the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, which includes the National Communications System, the Office of Emergency Communications, and the National Cyber Security Division, would increase to $401 million. The money is being requested, “to increase the resiliency and security of private and public sector cyber infrastructure,” according to the budget précis. The total DHS proposed budget is $42.7 billion.

Some of the new funds would be used to support the base operations of the National Cyber Security Division as well as initiatives under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) to protect information networks. The CNCI was initiated under the Bush administration and remains highly classified.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) would receive funds to develop a new version of an intrusion detection system called Einstein. Einstein monitors network gateways of government departments and agencies for unauthorized traffic.

“This budget is about right, given the extraordinary coordination and operational challenges facing the government in cybersecurity,” Gregory T. Garcia, president of Garcia Strategies, a consulting firm that provides cybersecurity market intelligence and strategic services, told SCMagazineUS.com Monday in an email.

“Too much more and they would overwhelm the capacity of the procurement and hiring processes in DHS and other agencies to execute the budgetary requirements within the fiscal year.”

Recent recommendations and proposed legislation call for a White House post to coordinate the cybersecurity efforts of the government. The proposal has been met with mixed reviews as of late, with lawmakers and public policy experts clashing over the idea at a recent U.S. Senate committee hearing.

“The White House is going to have to delegate well-defined authorities with disciplined and streamlined decision making, Garcia said. “Otherwise the mission will get bogged down.”

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