Pentagon wants $145 billion for cyber defense, wants zero trust

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The U.S. Department of Defense is requesting $14.5 billion for cyber spending, including investments in zero trust initiatives, increased manpower, and advanced computing. This budget is a response to the growing digital competition with Russia and China, with a focus on cybersecurity, cyberspace operations, and research and development. The department has also experienced cyber incidents and defense contractors’ intellectual property being targeted by foreign hackers. Zero trust is a key component of the fiscal 2025 blueprint, with a baseline level required by 2027.

Pentagon seeks $14.5 billion for cyber spending including zero trust

The U.S. Department of Defense is seeking $14.5 billion for its cyberspace endeavors, including safeguarding information networks with zero trust initiatives, increasing manpower and researching advanced computing. The fiscal 2025 budget request unveiled is about $1 billion more than the Biden administration’s previous ask. It is also up from fiscal 2023, when it sought $11.2 billion.

The department is prioritizing all things cyber as competition with Russia and China grows increasingly digital. The budget request focuses on investments in three portfolios, covering cybersecurity, cyberspace operations, and cyber research and development. Cyber capabilities are seen as critical for national defense in the face of virtual arsenals from other world powers.

The Defense Department has been experiencing cyber incidents since 2015, with a decline in annual totals since 2017. Defense contractors are also targeted by foreign hackers seeking intellectual property. To enhance information security, the department is pursuing zero trust, which assumes networks are always at risk and require constant validation of devices and users.

The fiscal 2025 blueprint allocates funding for zero-trust transition and modernized identity, credential, and access management. The goal is to fully secure and protect department assets. A baseline level of zero trust is required by 2027, with additional protections needed in the future. Cybersecurity leaders acknowledge meeting these deadlines will be challenging.

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