Biden administration seeks money to bolster Ukraine war-related cybersecurity at home, abroad
The Biden administration is requesting additional funds from Congress to help Ukraine with its digital defenses, strengthen cybersecurity in Europe and enhance U.S. capabilities to respond to the fallout from the Russian invasion.
The overall fiscal 2022 supplemental request, sent to Capitol Hill this week, seeks $10 billion in Ukraine-related needs and $22.5 billion in funding related to COVID-19.
Among the bigger pots of cybersecurity-focused funding the administration is requesting is $1.25 billion for the Defense Department to assist Ukraine with support on “operational surges across multiple national defense components, including accelerated cyber capabilities, weapons systems upgrades, increased intelligence support, and classified programs.”
A $1.75 billion request for the State Department to provide economic aid to Ukraine includes support for “continuity of government” and resilience work, including cybersecurity and efforts to counter disinformation. Other funds sought for Ukraine assistance include Department of Energy money to evaluate cybersecurity needs for connecting Ukraine’s electricity grid to Europe’s transmission system.
The supplemental spending blueprint amounts to a continuation and expansion of assistance the U.S. government has sent to the region in recent weeks and months as Ukraine has endured a range of cyberattacks accompanying the lead-up to, and subsequent actual, Russian offensive.
Some of the funding request is more regionally-focused, such as hundreds of millions that the Air Force and DOD are collectively soliciting “for cybersecurity and weapon systems upgrades required for the European theater of operations.”
Other pockets of cash would be focused on how the U.S. government is itself combatting different ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Justice Department, for instance, is requesting $28 million “for cyber activities including enhancements necessary to bolster the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) investigative and operational response to cyber threats stemming from the Russia threat and war on Ukraine.” The money would pay for things like “exploitation operations” from teams that provide digital forensic services, hardware and software upgrades as well as contract linguists, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
DOJ is also seeking $1 million for four attorney positions to handle Ukraine and Russia-related sanctions, export control and cyber cases.
Still other pockets of the request aren’t tied explicitly to Russia or Ukraine at all. DOJ is seeking nearly $10 million for personnel in its Criminal Division, at least partially to support cybercrime and ransomware cases.
The Navy, Air Force and DOD are, together, seeking nearly $150 million “for artificial intelligence-algorithm development, cybersecurity, and other information technology requirements.” The Treasury Department is asking for $17 million that, among other things, would support “monitoring of sanctions’ impacts on the domestic and global economy and cybersecurity enhancements to protect Treasury systems from targeted attacks.”