Lawmakers are urging the Department of Defense to go big in budgeting for cybersecurity in fiscal 2022.
During a hearing on the cyber posture of U.S. forces Friday, members of Congress voiced support for a larger cyber budget and for finding new ways to elevate the importance of cybersecurity in the DOD.
“I just want to encourage you to be bold and provide something that really helps move us into the 21st century,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said during a Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems hearing.
Slotkin nor others referenced a specific dollar amount, but she said she would support a “truly transformational” cyber budget.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has yet to issue a full budget request, which traditionally kicks off Congress’ appropriations process. This has left lawmakers in the dark on the fiscal priorities are for the new administration.
Witnesses Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, and Mieke Eoyang, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, did not give any hints on what DOD’s cyber budget request will look like.
Other lawmakers expressed a willingness to reorganize the civilian leadership chart to elevate cyber’s importance within the military. Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., questioned why the traditional domains of warfare have service secretaries but cyber’s top-ranking civilian is four-rungs bellow a service secretary.
“Candidly, it’s frustrating that the people in this room both members and witnesses seem to be fighting an uphill battle to put cyber front-and-center in the department,” Langevin said.
He also expressed frustration over how different cyber duties, from electromagnetic spectrum management to information operations, are spread out in different portfolios.