Budget proposals suggest that the Pentagon is serious about shoring up digital defenses and combating the growing problem of cybercrime.
In a five-year “cyber-expense” budget obtained by Bloomberg, the U.S. Defense Department suggests spending up to $23 billion until fiscal year 2018.
The document outlines plans to spend $4.72 billion in fiscal 2015, $4.61 billion in 2016 and $4.45 billion the next year, before rising to $4.53 billion in 2018. In addition, the Pentagon will request $9.3 billion through 2018 for the development of systems aimed at blocking hacking attempts and preventing the theft of information on governmental computers — with both offensive and defensive aspects.
2015's suggested spending is an increase of 18 percent from this fiscal year, in which $3.94 billion has been budgeted.
Harry Raduege, chairman of Deloitte LLP’s Center for Cyber Innovation, said in a statement that the budget outline shows "increased investment will be made in protecting critical infrastructures," and cyber capabilities "for use against our adversaries and enhancing overall security of DoD networks and systems."
In March, intelligence chiefs said that cybercrime is "more of a threat than terrorism." At a committee hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that in some cases, "the world is applying digital technologies faster than our ability to understand the security implications and mitigate potential risks."
According to leaked documents revealed this week, the U.S. government has drawn up a secret list of targets it can attack either preemptively or offensively in a secret order which allows national security teams to target overseas bodies in the case of attack. The "Presidential Policy Directive 20" describes how the U.S. government can go on the offensive "with little or no warning," and with "potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging."