DHS Concerned About Cyber Security Budget Cuts

Thursday, April 14, 2011

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As the heated partisan rhetoric regarding the future of government spending continues to dominate the political landscape on Capital Hill, agencies charged with protecting the nation's critical assets are on edge about the impact budget cuts could have on security.

Philip Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, expressed concern about possible cuts to cyber security funding in the face of mounting hazards to federal networks.

"Cuts in cybersecurity with the threat environment we face cause us some concern," Reitinger told GovInfoSecurity.com.

Reitinger stopped short of warning of a potential cyber security crisis, but indicated that the task of protecting sensitive information and systems should remain a priority where government spending is concerned.

"I don't want to tell you that the sky is falling; I come work every day and I get work done. But I'm telling you that the threat environment is significant, and it is not possible for anyone to stay completely secure. It's just too hard, even for the most concerned agencies or private-sector entities. And, if we believe as our president said that our networks are national security assets, we need to pay significant attention to that problem," Reitinger explained.

Reitinger gave assurances that the proposed funding for security operations were in President Obama's budget were well conceived, and took into account the need for a certain level of frugality where planning is concerned.

"The resources that we in government need are those the president asked for in his budget. We give a lot of thought to the resource requests, and as you can imagine, there is a fair amount of competition in government because there are a lot of missions that we need to accomplish. So we think very, very hard about how much to ask for and where to put," Reitinger said.

Projections estimate that federal IT security will jump nearly ten percent over the next few years, from $8.6 billion in 2010 to $13.3 billion in 2015.

With the well documented increase in advanced persistent threats, multiple instances of state supported cyber espionage, reports of critical SCADA system security deficiencies, and a surge in targeted attacks seeking to harvest the private sector's intellectual property, it seems that Congress would be wise to provide robust funding for national cyber security initiatives.

Source:  http://www.govinfosecurity.com/podcasts.php?podcastID=1088

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