Senate panel OKs cybersecurity funding

The fiscal 2016 DHS funding bill includes $1.638 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, an increase of $135 million above fiscal 2015.

Shutterstock image (by holbox): Capitol building on a sunlit day.

The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee approved a $47.1 billion DHS spending bill June 16 that includes funding for the cybersecurity programs DHS provides to other federal agencies.

The bill includes $1.638 billion for DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate, an increase of $135 million above the fiscal 2015 enacted level. Cybersecurity efforts, including protection of civilian federal networks "are fully supported at $830 million," according to a summary released by the panel. The bill also includes $16 million for extra cybersecurity pay.

Ranking Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire applauded the funding for DHS’s continuous diagnostics and mitigation program, in light of the massive breach at the Office of Personnel Management, calling the money "a critical investment."

Overall, the measure would provide $765 million more than was enacted for fiscal 2015, but is $1.02 billion below President Barack Obama's budget request, according to a statement from Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

Among other notable funding provisions in the measure are:

n  -- Departmental Management and Operations – The bill includes $1.1 billion for DMO, a $39 million increase above fiscal 2015.  According to the committee, the increase supports critical information technology security measures, information-sharing enhancements, and a $16 million increase to the Office of the Inspector General to bolster audit and oversight activities. In addition, a general provision includes $212 million for the DHS headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeths in Washington, D.C.

n  -- Customs and Border Protection – The bill contains $11.08 billion for CBP, an increase of $385 million above fiscal 2015. It supports 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers and intelligence and targeting system enhancements. It also includes funding for recapitalization of Non-Intrusive Inspection equipment, replacement and maintenance of border fencing, procurement of additional mobile surveillance systems and other situational awareness technology, two multi-role enforcement aircraft, and unmanned aerial system capabilities.

n  -- Transportation Security Administration – TSA is funded at $4.72 billion under the bill, which is $63 million below the president’s budget request. The funding targets training and checkpoint security following recent testing by the DHS inspector general, including an additional $13 million for screener training, $24 million for checkpoint support, and $2.5 million for Federal Flight Deck Officer and Flight Crew Training Program.

n -- Science and Technology Directorate  – The bill includes $765 million for S&T, including $39 million to maintain all current Centers of Excellence within S&T's University Programs.

n  -- Citizenship and Immigration Services – The bill contains $120 million in appropriations for E-Verify, and requires an analysis of the costs and timeline necessary to make use of the system permanent for employers.

The full committee is scheduled to take up the measure June 18.